|LAKE WAIKAREMOANA TRACK|
A 3-4 day relatively easy walk of about 46kms with water transport to the start and from the finish. A mainly level walk alongside a beautiful lake with just one major climb up to Panekiri Bluff where there are some fantastic views. Some excellent huts on the way.
We arrived at Lake Waikaremoana on 2nd Jan, went to the DOC Visitor Centre and booked to start the track the following day. In the height of summer you may have to book some days in advance. Costs were 84NZ dollars p.p for 3 nights hut accommodation and 30NZ dollars p.p for water transport to and from the track. There is a good campsite by the lakeside. You can walk the track in either direction. We chose to leave the climb until the end on the basis that the packs would be lighter and it seemed more fitting to finish with the major highlight of the walk. There are a number of shorter walks in this area, its a good place to spend a week or so.
We drove to Lake Waikaremoana from Rotorua through the Te Urewera National Park, would liked to have spent more there, some beautiful bush forest with a number of tramping options, but the weather had been bad. It's mostly a winding up and down gravel road but well worth the trip. Make sure you have enough petrol in the car!
DAY 1...to Waiharuru Hut
Warm & sunny day, calm lake crossing on water taxi. We were the only ones doing the walk in this direction, 7 others going the other way round. Undulating track around lakeside, muddy in places. Brief rest at Whanganui Hut. Path became more rocky and rough in places but good lake views. A 4hr+ walk to the '5 star' Waiharuru Hut...separate sleeping and cooking huts, joined by patio area with verandah all around in a beautiful location by the lakeside. Only built in mid 1999...a fantastic hut and only about 10 of us there. Sleeps about 40. A restful afternoon in the sun.. it felt like paradise. Ranger comes via boat in the evening to check hut tickets.
Panekiri Bluffs from the boat
The excellent Waiharuru Hut
DAY 2...to Waiopaoa Hut
View from the lakeside path
Warm,sunny day, reluctant to leave, more lakeside walking but quite a bit of up and down. Elevenses stop at the smaller Marauiti Hut right by the lakeside. Lunch on bench outside private fishermans hut, water available here. Further on there is a side track to see the Korokoro Falls, gave it a miss as we were feeling tired(told later that it is worth the trip). A 6hr walk to get to the Waiopaoa Hut, older type 18 bunk setup. Ranger told us they are going to build a new hut here similar to the Waiharuru one. Great evening with a friendly bunch of 20 Kiwi's (some were camping). They had this walk sussed...were getting their food(and drink) brought in by boat - a lively night! A guy called Brian, who snores so loudly that the group make him sleep in the kitchen....you could still hear him!
DAY 3...to Panekiri Hut
Subathing at Panekiri Hut
Sunset view from the hut
A short but tough day of 3.5hrs up to Panekiri Hut(a newish hut sleeping about 36). Rough track at times, fallen trees (track is due to be upgraded, will improve this section). Superb location for a hut, about 20yards back from the cliff edge, about 1180' high here. Great views down to the lake and also in the other direction towards Napier and the coast. A restful afternoon, sunbathing, chatting etc..another bit of paradise. Hut nearly full.
DAY 4...to Waikaremoana
Another warm to hot sunny day. Miscalculated our food requirements, only nuts and raisins to last us to the end. Great clliffside views-airy & precarious at times, if you went close to the edge that is. Superb steps structure to get down rock outcrop. Path in deep trough at times, fallen tree debris. Birdsong, Tui, Warblers. Swim in lake at end waiting for water taxi back to campsite.
On Panekiri Bluffs
Another view from Panekiri Bluffs