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Lake Waikaremoana Guided Walk     ( (j F, Y) )

The infamous Panekire Bluffs, Lake Waikaremoana Guided Walk.
The infamous Panekire Bluffs, Lake Waikaremoana Guided Walk.
View from Panekire Hut, Lake Waikaremoana
View from Panekire Hut, Lake Waikaremoana
Waiharuru Hut
Waiharuru Hut
"I'll never forget the conversations I had with you all, the jokes, the cardgames, the music, everything"
"This has to rate amongst the best things I
"This has to rate amongst the best things I've done in my life!"
4 Days
(28 miles)
Depart Rotorua
NZD$1000 per child
(15 years and under)

Lake Waikaremoana Guided Walk Summary

Journey deep into New Zealand's last frontier, a land cloaked in mist, mysticism and primordial forest. This unique Great Walk is managed by local iwi, Tuhoe, offering a chance to get amongst wilderness whilst also exploring indigenous culture! It is a hut-to-hut hiking expedition, circumnavigating beautiful Lake Waikaremoana, with secluded beaches, fascinating history and truly breathtaking views.

  • Join a small group
  • 4 days / 3 nights all-inclusive New Zealand Guided Walk
  • 4-7 hours hiking each day over varied terrain on formed trails
  • Our purpose-built support boat transports most of your gear
  • 2 days carrying a day pack only, 2 days carrying a small pack
  • Includes: fantastic meals, snacks and drinks; return Rotorua transport; support boat; hut accommodation; sleeping bags, backpacks and raincoats; experienced and caring guides
  • Note: no alcohol is served on this trip folks, due to the spiritual beliefs of the local people. Also no single-use plastic :)

Lake Waikaremoana Guided Walk Full Itinerary

Day One

lake waikaremoana day1

10.5 kms, 4 hours walking (Lunch, Dinner)

Your New Zealand guided walk begins with a scenic drive from Rotorua to the start of the Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk Track, along one of New Zealand's oldest Maori trails. Journey through remote villages and dense rainforest, into the heart of Te Urewera National Park and the secluded Lake Waikaremoana.

Walk alongside an estuary, home to a variety of water birds, then catch the first glimpse of the lake itself and the reason for its name, sea of rippling waters, becomes apparent. The hike follows the shores of Lake Waikaremoana for most of the afternoon, before crossing a headland where a Kiwi Recovery Programme is successfully increasing the numbers of our threatened national icon. The Waiharuru Hut welcomes you with a hot drink and hearty cooked meal. Tonight you may hear the night time calls of the North Island brown kiwi and the morepork / ruru.

Day Two

lake waikaremoana day2

18.3 kms, 6-8 hours walking (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

This is the longest day of walking, but you still have plenty of time to enjoy the bush, birds and lovely beaches of the western arm of the lake. Make the most of the many scenic lakeside and lookout spots for rests and refreshments, and some may indulge in a swim! After lunch an optional boat cruise reduces walking time, and makes the side track to Korokoro Falls more achievable. These stunning falls are worth the detour!

Te Urewera forest is home to many native and endangered birds. You are likely to witness the amazing flights of the fantail and kereru, and hear the melodious calls of the bellbird and tui. Waiopaoa Hut, nestled amongst the lush rainforest that stretches to the lake edge, is your home for the night.

Day Three

lake waikaremoana day3

7.6 kms, 4-5 hours walking (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Height gain 600 metres

Today you tackle the Panekire Bluffs, which have been looming ahead for the last two days. Plenty of rest stops and breathtaking views make today's climb an enjoyable challenge. Hike through different layers of vegetation: from mixed broadleaf podocarp forest featuring giant rata, rimu and miro trees; to enchanted cloud forest of silver beech trees cloaked in eerie mosses, which dominate the higher altitudes. At the close of the day relax on the verandah of the beautifully situated hut, and soak up the panoramic vistas right out to the ocean. Watch the sunset over the lake and forest clad mountains, while a birds eye view gives an appreciation of the remarkable terrain you have covered over the last few days.

Day Four

Day 4 group on bluffs

8.8 kms, 4-5 hours walking (Breakfast, Lunch)

Wake to be among the first in the world to welcome the day's sunrise over the Pacific Ocean! Continuing along the Panekire Ridge, breaks in the forest offer more magnificent views and fantastic photo opportunities from the colossal rock ledges that form the range. Look across Onepoto Bay to see the evidence of the landslide that created Lake Waikaremoana over two thousand years ago.

Celebrate completing the Great Walk with a BBQ lunch and drinks. Return to Rotorua approx 6pm.

This guided walk goes well with the North Island's other Great Walk -  Tongariro Northern Circuit Guided Hike!

Questions & Answers


April 2005 bald knob
The Lake Waikaremoana Track is graded as a moderate hike. A reasonable level of fitness, agility and sense of adventure is essential. 4-6 hours walking each day over varied terrain. For the first 2 days walkers carry only a day pack, for the last 2 days walkers carry a backpack containing a sleeping bag and clothing for one night (approx 8kg). All other gear will be transported by boat to the end of the track. A support boat is nearby throughout the trip to carry injured or tired walkers. You are encouraged to walk at your own pace, and to rest and enjoy the many spectacular lookouts as much as possible.


Classic New Zealand backcountry huts, located in stunning natural surroundings. They are clean and dry, and provide fresh drinking water, bunk beds with mattresses, outside toilets, separate dining and communal areas, and heating. There is no electricity or hot water. A booking system ensures no overcrowding. The isolation and lack of mod-cons create a very special and social atmosphere for hut-goers!

If staying in a hut isn't your cup of tea, check out our lodge based Waikaremoana Discovery Tour.

Can non-walkers join this trip?

If someone in your group is not a keen walker they can still join us!. Non-walkers can go by boat and meet up with the rest of your group in the evenings. During the day they can cruise around the lake with the Skipper, or relax on a beach, or try to catch one of the Lake's elusive trout! Please contact us for more details about this option.


Scheduled Lake Waikaremoana Guided Walk trips depart Rotorua every one or two weeks between late October to early May. There are also additional walks departing over holiday weekends, such as Labour Weekend (October), New Years Eve, and Easter Weekend (March or April). Check out our Walk Calendar.

If none of these dates suit please contact us, we may be able to add more departures, and offer exclusive trips for groups.

Do I need to pay a deposit?

Yes - we take a $300 deposit, per person, per walk at the time of booking. We use this deposit to pay for things like accommodation bookings at peak times. The remaining balance is due 1 month before departure, we'll send you a friendly reminder in advance! 

Credit cards and I do not get along. Can I pay by other means?

Absolutely, we also accept payment via online banking. When you book you will receive a booking confirmation email that contains our direct debit information. 

Life has other plans for me - I need to cancel my holiday! Can I get my deposit back?

We completely understand that sometimes the best laid plans go to waste. All is not lost! We can simply transfer you to another date of your choosing. There is no expiry date on transferring your deposit - you can use it anytime in the future! 

If transferring just isn't going to work for you we'll refund your money. The amount we can refund is determined by when you cancel your booking. Click here for our full terms and conditions, or email

Should I bring cash with me on the tour?

It's not essential, but it's a good alternative for when the electronic payment (EFTPOS) system we use in New Zealand is not working.

Our tours are all-inclusive and we'll take really good care of you but you may wish to treat yourself to an extra coffee or a real fruit ice cream when the opportunity arises! It's good to have a small amount of cash in your pocket to take care of this. 


Can I bring a suitcase?

Yes, we are suitcase-friendly! For the Lake Waikaremoana Guided Walk we transport all your gear from hut to hut in our support boat, so suitcases are welcome – all you carry is a day pack for your lunch, water and warm outer layers.


We can lend you one of our complimentary 40 litre hiking packs for the tour – just let us know you need one when you fill in the online booking form.


I'm driving myself to the departure point, where can I park my car?

We pick up in the following locations; Rotorua or Murupara (Department of Conservation Office). If you are self-driving, from the Napier/Hawkes Bay area, we can meet you at either the Hopuruahine trail head, or the Te Urewera Visitors Centre at Aniwaniwa. We will happily drop you back to your car at the end of the walk.

If you're taking a different route please check with our reservations team - we will help you find the best solution. Just send an email to

I suffer from terrible car sickness, what are the roads like?

Good question! The access road to Lake Waikaremoana has a 100 kilometre section of un-sealed, dusty gravel road with many sharp corners. If the road hasn’t been graded for a while there can be surface corrugations that make the trip bumpy. If you suffer from car sickness, please equip yourself with whatever remedies you prefer to use to alleviate the discomfort. The best time to purchase medicinal supplies is in Rotorua before we leave. 

If you prefer to sit in the front seat to help your car sickness, please do tell your guide! We will do whatever we can to make you more comfortable.


Can I bring my own alcohol?

Sorry, no. Please refrain from doing so on the Lake Waikaremoana Guided Walk. This tour is alcohol-free out of respect for the religious and cultural beliefs of the local Maori tribe who are the kaitiaki, or guardians, of this pristine tract of nature.


Will I need something nice to wear in the evenings?

No alternative evening attire is required on the Lake Waikaremoana Guided Walk or the Tongariro Northern Circuit as these are back country hut-based tours and all meals are served by your guides in the huts.

You may wish to bring a clean change of clothes for evenings in the hut, if this is packed in your support boat bag, you will have access to it when you reach the hut at the end of each day. 

I have a specialty diet - can you cater for me?

Absolutely. We are happy to accommodate guests with specialty diets, we appreciate as much advance notice as possible. If we don't receive adequate advanced notice, we may not be able to fully cater for dietary needs as we sometimes operate in an extremely isolated environment and it is not always possible to access specialty foods. Please ensure you advise us as early as possible if you have dietary requirements.

Talk to Cathy

0800 WALK NZ
Overseas phone +64 7 533 3157
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