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Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk, Hawkes Bay

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Lake Waikaremoana Great WalkIntermediate

Submitted by Stephen Healey

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Trail Information





Hawkes Bay


Back country - remote

Point to Point (one way)

Very hilly

Native bush


10:00 (Slow)
7:30 (Moderate)
5:00 (Fast)



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By far the best way to run this is starting at the car park at the bottom of Panekire Bluff & run clockwise round to Hopuruahine suspension bridge. This gets you up over the bluff early in the morning (while you are fresh & the temperature is lower.)
The track leaves the car park & climbs past the former Armed Constabulary Redoubt, before tackling the main part of the climb. The Panekire Bluff section was my favourite part of the run. A long uphill climb, followed by an undulating section, saw us at Panekire Hut in just on 2 hours. Waiopaoa Hut was reached an hour later after a very steep descent back down to the lake, lots of steps (some earth, some wooden), this would be a much harder climb coming the other way.
Now the track follows the lake shore, with the occasional sidle or climb up over a saddle to avoid a peninsula, (nothing over about 60m though till Waiharuru Hut). Approximately 3Kms later the turn off to Korokoro falls is reached (a 3.5Km return trip). 8.5Kms later Marauiti Hut is reached after more pleasant weaving in & out of bays along the lakefront, an undulating piece of track, it climbs up & over a number of small ridges above & beside the lake . 6Kms further now to the Waiharuru huts, lots of opportunities for swimming if the weather is kind along here.
The track now crosses a stream & meanders around a bend before climbing sharply up over a saddle between 2 bays. This is the steepest climb after the bluff, (but still less than 80 metres of climb here). Dropping to the Tapuaenui campsite there is now just over 3Kms of lovely flat trail that stays close to the lake to reach Whanganui Hut. Our journey ended here as the last 4Km of track was still closed due to rockfall. This is due to reopen in February, allowing you to juggle cars rather than having to catch the boat back to the start, though some may still prefer this option.
With the sidetrip to Korokoro Falls I registered just over 45Kms, add the last 4Kms to the finish & you should have completed just under 50Kms by the finish of your run. Then there are just another 7 Great Walks to go to complete the set!

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Features of interest

Running clockwise from the carpark up Panekire Bluff 1st, about 5.8Km in you will see a track leading off to the right, not signposted, it leads to the best views on Panekire Bluff. About a 3 minute diversion over to the edge of the bluff, this side trip is not to be missed. The trail starts while you are in a clearing & is just before a small closed tin hut off to the left hand side of the track.

The other highly recommended side trip is at the 21Km mark, here a marked side trail leads off to the left to the Korokoro Falls, about 15 mins run time up to the falls, where from a lookout there is a side trail leading off down through the bush on the left that takes you down into the stream below the falls. Well worth a visit

Make Up of Run

Technical Single Track: 10%

Moderate Single Track: 30%

Easy Single Track: 60%

Route Data


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Wild Explorers

I did it!
  • Access

    Follow Highway 38 to Onepoto Bay, where you take Onepoto Rd to the marked Trailhead. There is good signage indicating the start of the route from the car park.

    There is a substantial gravel car park here, right beside the Trail Head.

    Local iwi now run the only water taxi. All information for access is here: https://www.visitwairoa.co.nz/see-and-do/walking-and-cycling/lake-waikaremoana/

    55 km

    62 minutes



  • Staying Safe


    Make navigation of this route super-easy by using the Capra app on your phone. View on Capra .


    Long-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Gloves, Beanie/thermal headwear, Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Survival bag, Map.

    No water at Waiopaoa Hut when we arrived, but we found the water in the lake & streams to be fine to drink

    Track was in excellent condition, but could be muddy after rain

  • Post run indulgence

    Not too many options, we bought our own

  • Blog Posts and Articles

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Waikareiti/Ruapani Circuit

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