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Great Walking Tracks of NZ: Lake Waikaremoana

New Zealand is well renowned for it’s lush scenery and varied wildlife. The numerous walking tracks throughout the North and South Islands provide people with the opportunity to get close to nature and experience the most scenic parts of the New Zealand landscape.

The Department of Conservation maintain many of these tracks to ensure they remain safe and accessible for the thousands of locals and overseas visitors who use the tracks for walking and mountain biking throughout the year. Some of the most popular tracks in the country are collectively known as ‘The Great Walks’. There are 9 Great Walks with 3 located in the North Island and 6 located in the South Island.

All the Great Walks take more than 1 day to complete so there are huts located along the tracks where you can spend the night. The huts are operated by the Department of Conservation and contain bathroom and cooking facilities. The huts cater for individuals as well as families and groups but there is also the option to camp in your own tent at the designated campsites along the tracks.

Due to their popularity many of the Great Walks have booking systems to manage visitor pressure but there is no charge or permit required to access the tracks. Guided walks, run by private operators, are also available along many of the walks.

In this series of articles we will take a closer look at each of the Great Walks and help you get prepared to take on the challenge!

Let’s start from the top with first Great Walk on our list, Lake Waikaremoana on the East Coast of the North Island.

Lake Waikaremoana

The key points:

46 kms one way- The track is not a loop track. There are drop off and pick up points at either end of the track and you can start at either end. Privately owned shuttle buses and water taxis provide transport to either end of the walk. There are also free car parks at both ends of the track.

No dogs are allowed on the track

The track 3-4 day walk and is categorised by DOC as an intermediate Great Walk. This means the track is well formed in most places (although there could be steep inclines or muddy sections in some parts), and has signposts along the route. You also don’t need a high level of tramping experience to walk this track. Expect to walk 4-6 hours per day.

There are 5 huts and 5 campsites along the track and fees apply to stay the huts and to camp. Under 17 year olds are free.

Lake Waikaremoana is a slice of New Zealand as it was in the pre European times and is an important place to Tuhoe, the local Maori people. You will really appreciate the spirituality and natural beauty of this special place as you pass through this sacred land.

The lake was formed around 2,200 years ago when a large landslide blocked a narrow gorge along the Waikaretaheke River and is around 248 meters deep. The stunning landscape that surrounds the lake is made up of mountains, hills and ridges covered in native plants and vegetation. 

The walk offers spectacular views of the ocean and mountains and you will walk through giant native trees to reach unspoiled beaches. The park is also home to the beautiful Korkoro Falls which run over a sheer cliff into the rainforest.

The forests around the lake are home to a large variety of bird life including native Owls and Parrots. DOC undertake intensive predator control in the area to protect the native Kiwi. The good news is Kiwi numbers are increasing in the area so visitors may hear their calls at night. What better way to end a day of walking, then listening to the sound of New Zealand’s national icon.

Before you head out into the great outdoors on one of New Zealand’s great walks, it is essential to be prepared and ensure that you have all the right equipment with you. It is essential to tell someone where you are going and the date you expect to be back. You will also need adequate food, water and clothing supplies for your trip.

If you are heading to Lake Waikaremoana in the spring or summer months you will need clothing that protects you from the harsh New Zealand sun. An NZ bucket hat offers you broad protection from the sun and they are perfectly designed for the NZ summer. Westland Workgear sell a variety of bucket hats and offer nationwide delivery from their online store. Visit their website to view a stylish and practical range of New Zealand made bucket hats.


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