▨ Jamie McHale

Lake Waikaremoana Track

A Great Walk around a great lake · November 2019

At the end of November I walked the Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk in New Zealand. It’s a fantastic walk, located in Te Urewera, near Hawkes Bay on North Island.

I filmed parts of the walk on my DJI Osmo Pocket, and compiled the clips into a short film:

The first day we started out at Onepoto Shelter, diving up the road from Wairoa near the coast. The first part of the walk ascends the Panekire Range, the mountains that dominate the south of the lake. The views halfway up were excellent, extending over the various inlets, and with further views to the upcoming bluffs.

The first night we stayed in Panekire Hut, perched on top of the range, with views north. The hut was fairly basic, one of the older ones on the trail, but still good!

Panekire Hut

The second day started beautiful and fresh, with golden sunlight, twisty trees and a nice breeze. The walk drops you down off the range to Waiopaoa Hut at the edge of the lake. The hut makes for a good lunch spot, and we managed to get a quick swim in before setting off for Marauiti Hut.

There were more birds here than on the first day. I saw some Kereru and Fantails.

A Fantail

Around mid-afternoon thunder started to roll around above, and shortly after the heavens opened. We had just enough time to put on jackets and bag-covers, but sadly not enough time for over-trousers before we were drenched.

A small patch of hail pelted the track ahead of us, collecting in pools, puddles and ditches at the side of the track. The ground was covered in a layer of white. We still had an hour or so to push on to the hut, by which time we were thoroughly wet.

The hut sits on a small inlet at the side of the lake. The water was off in the hut, so we had to pump direct from the lake. Like the first night, this hut was also basic and a little dated.

Mist rolling off the trees at Marauiti

The third day started with damp boots on a damp track. The mist quickly cleared, and we were treated to a sunny day for the remainder of our walk through the forest. The variation in the types of trees, paired with views over the lake kept things interesting.

We were picked up by the Water Taxi near Whanganui Hut, which sped us across the lake to Onepoto to pick up the car. The views back up to the Panekire Range where we stayed on the first night were lovely.

Overall a great trip and highly recommended.

Lake Waikaremoana from Onepoto