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Lake Waikaremoana is the “gateway to Te Urewera”, a mountainous region of stunning views and rainforest, and home of the Tūhoe people. Geologists believe that about 2200 years ago a colossal landslide of huge sandstone slabs, 8km wide long and 4km wide, blocked the course of the Waikaretaheke River and formed Lake Waikaremoana. The lake is large and deep, plunging to depths of up to 256 metres. A petrified forest sits under the water, submerged as the lake filled up over a decade.

Te Urewera is beautiful and rugged, home to every North Island native bird species and ancient beech and podocarp forest. There is a huge selection of short walks, day trips and tracks to higher peaks, spectacular waterfalls, beaches natural caves, exploring tracks, climbs to lookouts and multi-day hiking adventures. This is home to the Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk, one of the great ten walks of New Zealand. The stunning vistas at Lake Waikaremoana are out of this world and need to be seen to be believed. Don’t forget your camera!

In 2013 Tūhoe and the Crown (government) settled the Crown’s historical breaches against Tūhoe, agreeing a unique approach to protecting Te Urewera in a way that reflects Tūhoe culture, and New Zealand values. Te Urewera’s national park status was lifted, and Te Urewera was recognised as its own legal identity – a first for New Zealand and the world. Te Urewera now essentially owns itself, and exists for its own sake.

The Tūhoe tribal authority, Te Uru Taumatua, manages Te Urewera and Lake Waikaremoana, and welcomes guests on behalf of Te Urewera Board, which is appointed by the Crown and Tūhoe.


Lake Waikaremoana sits within the Te Urewera ranges, the homeland of the Tūhoe people (Nā Tamariki o te Kohu, the “children of the mist”). Tūhoe wardens are stationed at Great Walk huts during peak season to welcome manuhiri (guests) to their home, and can share stories and information.


Tūhoe see Te Urewera as their ancestor. Tūhoetana (Tūhoe’s culture, language, customs, and identity) is the expression of living with Te Urewera for almost a thousand years. The New Zealand government (the Crown) invaded Te Urewera in the 1860s and 1870s. Land at Waikaremoana was confiscated, villages and food stores were burned, and many Tūhoe perished through execution or starvation. As a peace settlement, Tūhoe were given unique self-government of Te Urewera in 1896. However, successive New Zealand governments ignored their own law, and acquired more and more land illegally. In 1954 the Crown announced the area as a national park without consulting Tūhoe. Remaining Tūhoe territory and settlements were surrounded by the park, causing further disconnection from the land that had given Tūhoe people shelter, food and survival for centuries.


In 2013 Tūhoe and the Crown (government) settled the Crown’s historical breaches against Tūhoe, agreeing a unique approach to protecting Te Urewera in a way that reflects Tūhoetana, and New Zealand culture and values. Te Urewera’s national park status was lifted and the land was removed from Crown ownership. Te Urewera Act 2014 recognises Te Urewera as a legal identity. Uniquely, Te Urewera now owns herself, and exists for her own sake.

The purposes of Te Urewera Act are to:

  • strengthen and maintain the connection between Tūhoe and Te Urewera
  • preserve the natural features and beauty of Te Urewera, the integrity of its indigenous ecological systems and biodiversity, and its historical and cultural heritage
  • provide for Te Urewera as a place for public use and enjoyment, for recreation, learning, and spiritual reflection, and as an inspiration for all.

Te Urewera Board, consisting of Tūhoe and Crown appointees, provides a voice for Te Urewera. The Tūhoe tribal authority, Te Uru Taumatua, provides operational management of Te Urewera and the Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk. The Department of Conservation provides support and assistance with former national park assets.


At Lake Waikaremoana and within Te Urewera are some of Hawke's Bay’s best trout fishing. Fishing rods can be hired at the Lake Waikaremoana Holiday Park. You need to purchase a fishing licence if you wish to fish in this area. Fishing licences can be purchased at the Wairoa i-Site.

If you want to find out where the best fishing spots are, book a tour and hear lots about the history of the area while you are fishing with an experienced local fishermen. For more information ask at the Waikaremoana Holiday Park.

Hunting is another very popular activity at Lake Waikaremoana. For a hunting permit visit the Ngāi Tūhoe website.


You can travel to Lake Waikaremoana via your own vehicle as we no longer have any shuttle services. When taking your own vehicle please be aware that big parts of the road are unsealed and it is narrow and windy in places. You don't need a 4WD for this road though. If you are traveling to Lake Waikaremoana from Rotorua via SH38 please consider that the road is very windy and narrow in places. If you are travelling in a motor home it might be a better option to travel via a different route.


Te Urewera Visitor Center

Te Karetu Inlet, 6249 Lake Road, State Highway 38, Waikaremoana (next door to the Waikaremoana Holiday Park)

+64 6 837 3900 

Water Taxi

Our water taxi has been updated. For bookings please email or call the Te Urewera Visitor Centre. 

Fares & Times Operating Season 4 November 2022 - 30 April 2023

Please refer to this Lake Waikaremoana map for all locations and taxi routes.

From To Departure Cost (one way)   Duration (one way)
Te Karetu Onepoto 8am  $65 Adult
$25 Child 
  15 mins
Onepoto Te Karetu 4pm $65 Adult
$25 Child
  15 mins
Onepoto Whananui 8.30am, 9.30am, 10.30am, 3pm $80 Adult
$25 Child
  30 mins
Whananui Onepoto 9am, 10am, 2.30pm, 3.30pm $80 Adult
$25 Child
  30 mins

Transfers to or from the below locations can be arranged by contacting the team at Te Kura Whenua. Transfers start or return at Onepoto or Te Karetu.

Transfers Available Between Cost (one way)
Waiopaoa, Korokoro, Maraunui, Marauiti, Waiharuru
12pm - 2pm $100 Adult
$25 Child

 Note: Adult 15+ and Child 0 - 14 years only

+64 21 594 374

Doing the Great Walk

The average time you should plan for the great walk is 4 days.

  • Day 1 - Onepoto to Panekire Hut
  • Day 2 - Panekire Hut to Waiopaoa Hut
  • Day 3 - Waiopaoa Hut to Marauiti Hut
  • Day 4 - Marauiti Hut to Hopuruahine

For more information visit the DOC website or Te Kura Whenua visitor centre at lake Waikaremoana.

Huts for the great walk can be booked online on the DOC website.

Accommodation at Lake Waikaremoana:

There are a few options to stay at Lake Waikaremoana. Please have a look here for accommodation at Waikaremoana.


Lake Waikaremoana is 67kms north of Wairoa and 160km from Rotorua on State Highway 38.

Lake Waikaremoana

Where to find the iSITE

Physical Address: 9 Paul Street, Wairoa 4108
Postal Address: PO Box 54, Wairoa 4160, Hawke’s Bay
Opening Hours:
Weekdays 8:30 am - 4:30 pm
Weekends and public holidays 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
CLOSED Christmas Day

Contact us

0800 HAWKES BAY (429537 229)
and press 3 for Wairoa

+64 6 838 7440
+64 6 838 3901

9 Paul Street, Wairoa 4108
PO Box 54, Wairoa 4160, Hawke’s Bay
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