Lake Waikaremoana is a stunning place to walk and one of New Zealand’s great walks. If you don’t have the time for the 3-4 day tramp or simply enjoy day walks, the Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk offers a wonderful hike from Marauiti Hut to Waiopaoa Hut. Located in the Te Urewera National Park and accessed from either Rotorua or Wairoa, this is a great day walking option.
Starting with the water taxi across Lake Waikaremoana, this short trip offers another highlight, with beautiful views of the park and the lake. From the landing point at Marauiti Hut, the walk starts out easy, heading inland with a short climb over the Whakaneke Spur which links to Marauni Bay. The track follows the edge of the lake to Korokoro Campsite, which is quite undulating. The track offers stunning view points of the lake and the Panekire Range. One of the many highlights on this walk is the side trip to the Korokoro Falls; allow an hour for the return trip.
The final stage offers more fantastic photo opportunities, with flat walking to Waiopaoa Hut. This is in a beautiful location on the edge of the lake and a great place to wait for the water taxi back to Onepoto.
Allow 4-6 hours for the 15.5 kilometre walk.
This is our 3rd day walking option on the Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk; the other day walks include the Panekire Range and the Whanganui Hut to Marauiti Hut. All of these day walks will give you a taste of what this beautiful walk has to offer.
Marauiti Hut to Korokoro Campsite: 2-3 hours, 9.5 kilometres
From the water taxi drop off point, wander up to the hut and compete the log book before setting off. From the hut follow the track up stream to a track junction, 2 minutes. Take the track to the left, which heads inland and climbs gently over the Whakaneke Spur which links to the Maraunui Bay and campsite. Allow 15 to 30 minutes for this section.
From the Maraunui Campsite the track follows the edge of the lake passing privately owned huts to the Te Kotoreotaunoa Point, this section of the walk is pretty flat and easy going. From this point the track sidles the lake and becomes undulating to the Korokoro Campsite. For future reference or anyone doing the entire Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk, this section of the walk is the most challenging apart from the Panekire Range. I recommend a good pair of hiking boots as the track is rooty in places. However the views of the Panekire Range and the lake make the extra effort worth it. The forest has a good mixture of rimu and red beech, which is enjoyable to walk through. Allow 1.5 to 2.5 hours for this section.
Korokoro Campsite/Korokoro Falls/Waiopaoa Hut: 1.5-2.5 hours, 6 kilometres
From the Korokoro Campsite follow the track to the footbridge, cross the stream and walk onto the junction, 5 minutes. For the Korokoro Falls side trip take the track to the right, its well sign posted. The track to the falls is an easy one and has a stream crossing just before the waterfall. After crossing the stream the track climbs up to a view point, offering great photo opportunities. To get to the base of the waterfall, return to the stream and follow the stream up to the base of the falls. It takes 25-30 minutes from the main track to reach the waterfall. Return on the same track.
From the main track take the trail to the right. The track follows the shoreline which has nice grassy flats…the walking is easy and a lovely way to finish a great days walking. There are 3 track junctions and 2 footbridges to cross just before the Waiopaoa Hut. Allow 45-90 minutes for this section.
Onepoto car park and Lake Waikaremoana is reached on state highway 38 from Wairoa or Rotorua. From Wairoa it’s 46 kilometres and has a short section of gravel road. From Rotorua it’s 165 kilometres and has a 90 kilometre section of gravel road, which is between Murupara and Aniwaniwa.
The Big Bush Holiday Park operates the water taxi service on Lake Waikaremoana; having used them myself I highly recommend them. The main pick-up points for the start of this walk are either Onepoto or Lake Waikaremoana Holiday Park. By arrangement they can pick up or drop off at any point around the lake. My suggestion would be; leave your vehicle at the Big Bush Holiday Park. You can park there for free and have peace of mind that your vehicle and belongings will be safe. From there they will transport you to the water taxi and return you to the Big Bush after your walk.
The Big Bush also provides accommodation with self-contained cabins, backpacker’s accommodation, tent and powered sites. They have a cafe and bar, plus a shuttle service that runs between Wairoa and the lake. Everything you need in one friendly place.
What to Take
I suggest taking some warm cloths, food and drink. Take plenty of water, if you run short there are streams where drink bottles can be refilled.
- A waterproof jacket or raincoat
- Sturdy and comfortable footwear
- Thermal and fleece clothing for warmth
- Hat and gloves
- Sunglasses and sunscreen
- An emergency First Aid Kit
- A map
Find out more today
For more information on what to bring on this Lake Waikaremoana day walk and other great walks in New Zealand. Check my blog on what to take hiking.
To print the above map, click on mapometer.com at the top of the map. The printing and PDF option at the bottom of this page will print or download the post except the map. Once you’ve clicked on mapometer, the link will take you to the printing or export option. If mapometer asks for your location decline, otherwise it will take you to your location and not the above map. This map gives great information for getting to the start of the track, however it’s only a guide of the route, for more detail on the track click on the topomap below, and this can also be printed.
Expect some variation in times depending on conditions and personal fitness levels. I’ve graded this an medium walk, there’s a short climb of 40 metres at the start with an undulating section from the Te Kotoretaunoa Point to the Korokoro Campsite. The rest of the walks pretty flat, the tracks are well defined and well-marked, the stream crossings are bridged and the duration of this walk is between 4 and 6 hours. Walks that I regard as hard are generally over 6 hours, have long steep climbs, have river crossings and requires good navigational skills.
Enjoy your walk and feel free to leave any suggestions or comments ?
Learn more about NZ’s amazing walks!
Interested in discovering more of New Zealand’s incredible walks? Take a look at our Top Five Day Walks in NZ and other great walks throughout New Zealand. It’s a great way to see the rest the country.
Walking tracks of Lake Waikaremoana