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Waikaremoana Discovery Tour     ( (j F, Y) )

"The highlight of my New Zealand walking holiday"
"The highlight of my New Zealand walking holiday"
"Waterfalls, lake views.. total experience fantastic!"
"Waterfalls, lake views.. total experience fantastic!"
Lake Waikareiti, North Island walking holiday
Lake Waikareiti, North Island walking holiday
Whirinaki River Canyon
Whirinaki River Canyon
"Guides were brilliant! Helpful, friendly & great sense of humour made the trip!"
"Guides were brilliant! Helpful, friendly & great sense of humour made the trip!"
4 Days
30 - 40km
(18 - 24 miles)
Depart Rotorua
NZD$1000 per child
(15 years and under)

Waikaremoana Discovery Tour Summary

Explore the best of Lake Waikaremoana, Whirinaki Forest and Te Urewera National Park on this New Zealand walking holiday.

Journey into the North Island's most remote and untouched wilderness area, where the mountains are cloaked in mist, mysticism and primordial forest. Walk some of the most spectacular sections of the Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk and world-famous Whirinaki Forest, while staying in comfortable lodgings.

  • Join a small group
  • 4 days / 3 nights all-inclusive New Zealand walking holiday
  • Flexible itinerary - can be tailored to suit most fitness levels
  • Carry a day pack only
  • Includes: all meals and snacks; wine; 2 star lodge accommodation; return Rotorua transport; passionate and experienced guides
  • Optional activities: trout fishing; amazing natural hot spring swim; informal local marae visit

Waikaremoana Discovery Tour Full Itinerary

Day One: Whirinaki Forest

totara whirinaki

3-5 hours walking (Lunch Dinner)

Pick-up from your Rotorua accommodation approx 8:30am. A scenic drive follows ancient Maori trails into the heart of Te Urewera National Park to Lake Waikaremoana. Stop in Whirinaki Forest for a 3-4 hour walk through the best example of NZ's native Podocarp forest. Towering trees such as giant totara, kahikatea and matai, plus rare birdlife (kaka & blue duck) as the trail follows a pristine river to a dramatic canyon.

Relish a fresh picnic lunch before continuing on to reach Lake Waikaremoana.

Settle in to your accommodation with pre-dinner drinks and nibbles on the lake-shore.

Day Two: Panekire Bluffs

us and girls on bluffs 1

3-5 hours walking (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

After a hearty cooked breakfast day two of your NZ walking holiday features some of the most spectacular views from the Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk Track. A 1.5 hour steady climb through mixed broadleaf podocarp forest rewards you with inspiring views over Lake Waikaremoana and the forest-clad mountains of Te Urewera National Park, New Zealand. Spectacular sandstone rock bluffs drop sheer to the lake 600 metres below. An unforgettable lunch spot!

Time permitting we later follow a gorgeous loop track through sparkling tawa forest to New Zealand's largest rata tree.

Then visit a local marae (Maori meeting house) for an informal chat with a Maori elder about the region’s fascinating history and culture. This is a great opportunity to ask questions and provides a real feel for the culture in this isolated area, where Maori is still the first language. 

(Note that because this is a genuine functioning marae occasionally we are unable to make this visit, due it being used by the community)

Day Three: Lake Waikareiti

Rowboat on Lake Waikareiti

3-5 hours walking (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Stroll through a magnificent ancient beech forest to the tranquil Lake Waikareiti. Reached only by walking track, this lake is free of introduced aquatic plants and motorised boats, so has outstanding water clarity and is blissfully peaceful!

If conditions allow we can explore Lake Waikareiti further by rowboat.

Later, we’ll return to Waikaremoana where there’s an option to walk to a dazzling clear fresh-water spring, or a hike through fern forest to explore the unusual Onepoto Caves. Another favourite walk follows the Aniwaniwa (definition = rainbow) River as it plunges over terraces and waterfalls on its journey to Lake Waikaremoana.

Day Four: Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk

2-4 hours walking (Breakfast, Lunch)

Hike another section of the Great Walk Track. A stunning forest and lakeside trail traverses from the shores of an estuary across a peninsula, and on to a secluded arm of the lake. Thanks to the pest-control in this area the forest is some of New Zealand's best, and home to many bird species, including the North Island Brown Kiwi.

Driving back to Rotorua you'll stop for a soak in an amazing natural hot spring beneath a roof of native trees (time permitting). Arrive Rotorua approx 5 - 6pm.

Questions & Answers


Lake Lodge

During the Waikaremoana Discovery Tour we stay in an historic lodge (2 star), which is run by the local iwi (Maori tribe). These character facilities are simple but comfortable, with hot showers, good beds and linen, and are located in a tranquil setting in a small Maori community. Rooms are twin share or double. Single rooms are available on request. Bathrooms are shared between 2 or 3 rooms. World-class trout fishing is on offer in the lake at the front door step. Dinner is served in the lodge dining room, and consists of a hearty main meal followed by dessert. The meals are classic New Zealand fare, with plenty of vegetables and salads. Wine can be purchased from the licensed bar.


18 It dont come better than this
The walking trails on the Waikaremoana Discovery Tour are of easy to moderate difficulty, and range from well-formed paths to tracks broken with tree roots, rocks and mud. Your guide will choose the best walks to suit the group's interests and abilities. Walking times can vary between 2 to 6 hours per day. You will need to carry a daypack with your lunch, water, raincoat and jersey.


rahui island
The Waikaremoana Discovery Tour departs Rotorua regularly, between November to May.

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. This trip is also available in winter on demand, please contact us for details.

Do I need to pay a deposit?

Yes - we take a $300 deposit, per person, per walk at the time of booking. 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. 

We offer a glass of wine or beer with dinner. Additional drinks can be purchased on all our tours, with the exception of the Lake Waikaremoana Guided Walk. 


Can I bring a suitcase?

Yes, we are suitcase-friendly! On our lodge-based tours (Coromandel Explorer, Great Barrier Island Escape, Tongariro Hiking Tour, Waikaremoana Discovery Tour) we stay in the same lodge each night so there’s no stressful re-packing each morning. All you need is a small backpack while you’re on the trail, so pop one of those in your suitcase and you’ll be all set! 


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

For the Waikaremoana Discoveory Tour, it's best to choose accommodation in Rotorua that is happy for you to leave your car in their parking lot while you are out on the trail with us. We will happily drop you back to your car when we return to Rotorua. 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! In general, the roads we travel are well-maintained, bitumen-surfaced single carriageways. 

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.


I am travelling alone, who will I be sharing a room with?

The accommodation on our tours is based on twin share. If you'd prefer to have your own room, please select the single supplement option in the online booking form. This will ensure you have a room to yourself. If you're happy to share, you will be placed in a twin room with another adventure-buddy of the same gender in separate beds.

Will I need something nice to wear in the evenings?

You’re on holiday after all, so why not!? Guests on this tour eat together in the lodge restaurant each night, so it’s a good idea to have something nice to wear out to dinner. They’re extremely informal occasions, so tidy casual clothes are fine. 

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.

Does the lodge have wi-fi?

Yes, there is wi-fi at the lodge so you'll be able to check email but it isn't accessible from every room. The best signal can be found in the reception area. 

Talk to Cathy

0800 WALK NZ
Overseas phone +64 7 533 3157
email us: