Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk

Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk

Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk
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Duration: More than 3 hours
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

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4.0
4.0 of 5 bubbles40 reviews
Excellent
25
Very good
5
Average
5
Poor
2
Terrible
3

Rachel S
1 contribution
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2024 • Friends
The huts were all spotless and clean, with fresh firewood available.
It took a little chasing to book the water taxi off season but the service was prompt, friendly and very helpful.
The track has fantastic views, a lovely variety of forest and not another person around!
We had to navigate some wind fall trees, wash outs and plenty of mud. All great fun if you are reasonably used to it.
So grateful to Ngāi Tūhoe for making this very special place available to us.
Written 24 June 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Alex C
Christchurch, New Zealand39 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2023 • Friends
Stunning scenery, some of the best I’ve seen in my extensive travels in NZ.

Waioppaoa hut and Waiharuru Hut are excellent, especially Waiharuru. Marauiti Hut is cute but not as nice. Panekiri Hut is very tired and quite dirty and smelly. Toilets at all huts are not the same standard as usual great walks.

Booking the ferry was difficult but it showed up nice and early and the skipper was very helpful and informative. It seems Tūhoe (the iwi that runs the track) receive far less funding than DOC did when they ran it, so I can see why the maintenance falls short of a usual great walk.

The track was very muddy but they’ve had a lot of rain this month. There are quite a few sections that would be tricky for anyone a bit unstable on their feet and some bits you’ve really gotta slide down on your bum.

Dont use any DOC maps or other info as it is very out of date, including the ferry pick up at Whananui which has moved. Whananui and Whanganui are the same place, just different spelling.
Written 28 January 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Nadiya
9 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2023 • Couples
Maori people do not maintain the hike, though they receive on average $2.5 mln a year for its maintenance. We did the hike under a light drizzling rain, however the trail was extremely muddy, full of water, some parts of it were damaged and it was very hard to climb up with a 11-kg backpack. Some parts of the rout seemed to be dangerous too in a wet weather, as the path was very narrow, with no barrier, and at the same time slippery.

We had regular hiking boots with gortex waterproof cover, however that doesn't matter if you sink in the mud up to your knees. I am an experienced hiker, and I did the Old Ghost Road hike on the South Island under heavy rain, and there were no issues with water or mud on the rout due to properly setup drainage and walls, which unfortunately is missing around the WAIKAREMOANA lake.

There was no dry wood in huts, so nobody could dry out after such a walk. The huts themselves were in bearable condition, and cleaning facilities were present. Toilets were very dirty and smelly.
Written 6 January 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Holly
Auckland, New Zealand7 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2022 • Friends
The walk itself was absolutely stunning but when we arrived at the hut (Panekire) we were shocked. Dirty with no cleaning equipment, it stunk of rat waste with poo all over the benches and in the sink. The toilets were terrifying, filthy and falling down (not what you want in a long drop). The fire wood was outside still in its chopper bags and sopping wet. So sad, we loved the walk, the views were just outstanding. The hut was so dirty I’m expecting to get sick.
Written 17 July 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

thompsonmc2016
West Auckland, United Kingdom98 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2022
So disappointed with this walk. While the location is truly beautiful, the state of the track/s are awful - overgrown, inadequate signage and not at all looked after. We visited the 'information centre' for directions and were greeted with a 'take your shoes off' comment from the sole worker there, who then promptly ignored us and carried on chatting on the phone. There was no signage at the door to remove shoes so we were taken aback from her grumpiness. There were no brochures, maps or directions to take away - the whole building was barren apart from a couple of couches. It really spoilt the whole experience for us; we finally found the start of the track - the sign was delipidated and virtually unreadable from the road - we had actually driven past it 3 times, had gone down every road on the lakeside until we found the track. It was only as we left, that we found the 'sign' on the road.
Written 23 April 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Shane D
4 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2021
We are a family of four (mid 40's and two teenagers)

Here was our trip

Hopuruahine Landing - Waiharuru Hut (3.5 hrs)
Waiharuru Hut - Waiopaoa Hut (5.5 hrs + half hour stop for lunch at Marauiti Hut)
Waiopaoa Hut - Onepoto Carpark (2.5 hrs to Panekiri Hut, 2.5 hrs to carpark)

We tend to walk at a pretty quick quick pace and the last day was fast because the weather was horrible.

Waiharuru Hut - This is a modern hut and huge. Separate cooking areas and sleeping areas. Sleeping area is all single bunks. The downside to this hut is that it is so big it is hard to heat unless you get the fire cranking for a long time. Only a problem in the middle of winter.
Marauiti Hut - Older hut but cosy and in good condition.
Waiopaoa Hut - Nice hut. Modern and well set out.
Panekiri Hut - Getting a bit tired. Its a very cold hut in the winter with no dry firewood available. Apart from that no different than most back country huts.

A couple of comments that might be helpful
1) This is a beautiful part of the country and a fantastic 3 to 4 day tramp.
2) The track is generally in very good condition although is starting to show signs of lack of maintenance in some areas with water erosion and fallen trees making some parts a little more technical.
3) It gets very cold in this area in the winter and most of the huts had little or no dry fire wood. Be prepared.
4) The water taxi operators are hopeless. It was hard work booking and the information on the website is wrong. When we arrived for our ride we were told the skipper "was in town with CEO" so we had to take the road to the start of the rack. It meant an extra 1.5 hours walk in the dark for us which was OK because we were prepared. Not sure what it meant for the people we walked past at Wanganui Hut that were waiting for the water taxi to get them out??

1) The water taxi operators are hopeless. Poor communication and hard work making the booking. On the day we arrived to be told that the skipper was "in town with the CEO" and wouldn't be back in time to take us to our destination. Instead of getting the water taxi to Wanganui Hut we were driven to Hopuruahine Landing. This meant an extra hour of walking to get to the ut
Written 18 July 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

GreatScotty84
Wellington, New Zealand17 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2021
Without a doubt, this track goes through the most beautiful native forest I've ever experienced. The views over the lake are incredible but you don't miss them when you're in the forest sections because it's absolutely stunning.

We did the walk in 2 nights (opposite direction to most people - we went up and down the big hill on our final day) but would have loved to have an extra day. The two days that look flat on the map are much more up and down than they appear but overall the walk isn't too challenging - just take your time. Coming down the hill isn't much fun, especially if your knees are a little dodgy - would definitely recommend poles.

We camped instead of staying in the huts (at Waiharuru then Waiopoa) and found both really good. Standard DOC facilities. Water was fine to drink without treating.

The only part we found challenging was the booking process for water taxis (would be great to be able to do this online) as responses to email were slow and the phone numbers listed don't seem to connect.

Once we were there, we LOVED the visitor centre and appreciated the time taken by Tūhoe whanau to help us appreciate the area, its history and its people. This is what made this great walk a standout for me from the others I've done - you really start to understand why this area has been granted personhood.
Written 3 May 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Alisia K
4 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2021
The Lake Waikaremoana walk was amazing! We did a three day, 2 night walk in April 2021 – definitely recommend 3 days, as the alternative (4 days, 3 nights) means you would likely have one very short day – only a couple of hours walk. We started by parking at the Onepoto entrance and stayed in Panekire Hut for the first night, followed by Marauiti Hut for the second and booked a water taxi to go from Whananui Hut to Onepoto.

Onepoto start: We drove just over 2 hours from Gisborne in the morning. The roads closer to the Lake are just straight gravel so beware for less sturdy cars. I recommend just driving straight to Onepoto rather than parking at the information centre and getting a water taxi – saves money and most people seem to do the same. We did hear stories that the Hopuruahine landing carpark is notorious for break ins but Onepoto seemed to be fine. Just make sure you don’t leave anything valuable there.

First day – Onepoto to Panekire. This is a tough day – almost continuous, steep uphill climb the entire time. Views are incredible and there are numerous ledges around the place to take some pretty cool photos with the lake. As with the entire Lake Waikaremoana walk, the track is covered in tree roots so you need to be careful with your footing and definitely recommend hiking boots if possible. We did this day in four hours and arrived to Panekire just after lunchtime.

Panekire hut: This is definitely a more basic, traditional DOC hut and one of the most popular for hikers to stay in when walking either direction. It is not as bad as all the reviews say - just expect your basic benches, tables, sleeping areas and relatively close quarters as it will probably be full. The water taps inside the hut were not working when we stayed so everyone used the outside tank. Although there are signs that you must boil, we drank the water straight (colour and smell was fine) and it was all good. The views from this hut are great and well worth the sunset/sunrise but if I were to do it again, I would recommend just stopping for long lunch/break before continuing down the ridge to Waiopaoa Hut.

Second day – Panekire Hut to Marauiti Hut: This was another challenging day – took us about 7 ½ hours (including the 1 hr return track to Korokoro falls and various breaks in between). The track from Panekire down the ridge to Waiopaoa hut was significantly shorter than we expected. The signs estimate 4 hours and we did it in about 2 hours. Waipaoa hut is also MUCH MUCH nicer than Panekire – more spacious eating and sleeping areas, has swimming spots and large grassy areas. For this reason and the fact that it only takes about 2ish hours to climb down from Panekire, I would probably just stop for lunch at Panekire on the first day and then continuing to Waiopoa for the first night.

After some pre-hike research, I found that the maps DOC provides in terms of elevation are not so accurate. It shows pretty flat terrain after the ridge which is not the case at all. Like others have said, there are definitely long flat parts, but equally, lots of intense up and down hills going on. We expected that and so thankfully were not surprised but we can imagine it would be a shock for some. The weather was pretty drizzly this day and so there were a lot of muddy areas and slips that you needed to take extra caution with.

Marauiti Hut: This is another basic DOC hut – nothing fancy but definitely not bad. The water here had a green tinge to it so we did decide to heed the boiling water signs this time. Another alternative if you don’t need water immediately is to wait for when you pass Waiharuru Hut as we found that that had fine drinking water. Although Marauiti is perfectly fine to stay in, again I would recommend continuing 2 more hours to Waiharuru Hut. This is the fanciest one on the walk and has huuuuge eating areas and sleeping spaces. We had a long lunch break here on the third day and wished we had stayed there for the night.

Third day – Marauiti to Whananui water taxi exit: Again, this is not a flat day. There are around 3 significant uphill and downhill climbs – 2 of which are not even shown on the DOC maps. However this was the easiest day of them all. And particularly if you choose to stay at Waiharuru hut overnight you will find it to be a very short walking day to the end.

Don’t worry about finding the water taxi exit, there is a huge sign on the track pointing towards a flat area near the lake where you can wait. As the water taxi no longer goes to the Hopuruahine landing because of water level issues, the new pick up spot is just before the Whananui Hut. Previous reviews had us feeling a bit nervous about whether we would be picked up but it was fine. Taxi arrived right on time at 2:30pm. Since there was a big group of us waiting (around 20 people), one group took a short water taxi followed by a land taxi back to Onepoto, and another group took the water taxi the entire way to Onepoto. Some people were waiting at the water taxi exit who hadn’t booked and were hoping to catch a ride – this is very risky in my opinion as the taxis plan for the booked number. As we had booked, we were the first to go and so I’m still not sure how it worked out for those people who didn’t book. It is a bit difficult to plan ahead and get hold of the water taxi people – I called about 7 times across the span of one day and the line was "busy" the entire time. I also emailed with no response. Luckily another person in my travelling group managed to get a call back and received booking confirmations by email. Just be persistent – I heard from other groups that called neighbouring DOC information centres to try and sort the taxi. Once you have booked, there is nothing to worry about. The water taxi people are lovely and have a lot of local knowledge. The confirmation email does stipulate that if the weather conditions are too bad, they may not be able to get out at the agreed time and you should keep waiting on the flat lakeside area until 4:30pm as they will keep trying to come out if there are gaps in the weather. If they don’t manage to get out to you, then they say you should be prepared to stay a night at Whananui Hut and try to catch the taxi the next day.

All in all this was an incredible walk. Great experience with a large group of 6 people with differing fitness levels. Just remember the usual things: bring cards and/or a book as there is a lot of downtime, bring torches/candles, hiking boots are preferred particularly for bad weather, weather can change quickly so be prepared for hot sun and then wind/rain the next day, and the recommended DOC day routes/huts are very popular and not often the best ones to stay at.
Written 10 April 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Bernard R
Whangarei, New Zealand1,043 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2021 • Couples
As you will witness from the photos the views of this place are outstanding and breathtaking. Situated midway from Wairoa to SH5 near Rotorua the only downside is the drive which incorporates over 100k of gravel roads, however the resulting views are well worth the effort.
Written 27 February 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

PapaMurfs
Tauranga, New Zealand7 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2021 • Solo
Had a great time doing this walk. Great track, great scenery and lovely clear water for swimming in.
Great coffee in Ruatahuna on the road in from Rotorua.
Written 6 January 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024) - Tripadvisor

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