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Sweetwater Lakes, Northland

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Sweetwater LakesBeginner - Intermediate

Submitted by Mike Tennent

Info Info
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Trail Information







Front country - easily accessible


Undulating, small hills only

Native bush
Plantation/exotic forest
Open farmlands

Beginner - Intermediate

3:00 (Slow)
2:10 (Moderate)
1:40 (Fast)



The first section is through a farm paddock. Do not enter if there are livestock in the paddock.

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Enter through the gate next to the sign, head to the right of the paddock and around to the back, you will then see two orange top poles to your left. Follow them and then to the gate in the very back left of the paddock. Then follow the orange triangles up the hill, then to the right ... after a couple of hundred metres you will come onto a farm road and go left.

Just before the next gate there is an unmarked grass track to the left this is at about 1.2km.Then follow the orange markers down and around the first lake (Lake Rotorua). As you leave that lake turn left before the gate and follow the orange markers along the fenceline (and up)... shortly you will come to the top of the hill and look down on Lake Heather. Follow the grass and more orange triangles to the left and around the end of the lake.

You will come to a stile. Cross there and keep following the same fence. In a while you will reach a fencepost with double triangles on it... look left and you will see a marker post in the paddock... follow the post through the paddock and into the pine plantation, around the end of the swamp and on through the pines - ignore the two 4wd tracks off to the left. As you climb the stile at the edge of the forest you head down and to the left and you are at Lake Ngatu.

Head left onto a mix of single trail and grass and just a touch of gravel road for 4km right around the lake and then re-trace your steps to the start. 

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Features of interest

Three lakes: Lake Rotoroa, Lake Heather and the largest - Lake Ngatu. Lots of different to norm trail and grass tracks.

Make Up of Run

Untracked / Route only: 40%

Technical Single Track: 10%

Moderate Single Track: 10%

Easy Single Track: 30%

Farm Road / 4WD Track: 8%

Gravel Road: 2%

Sealed Road: 0%

Route Data


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Wild Explorers

I did it!
  • Access

    Put 120 Sandhills Road into your GPS and you will finish up about 40m from the start of the route.

    Just by the road - parking on a very quiet country gravel road.

    12 km

    13 minutes



  • Staying Safe


    Take your time.

    Generally good.

    Waterproof leggings, Long-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Beanie/thermal headwear, Personal Locator Beacon (PLB), Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Survival bag, Cellphone, Map.

    Not sure if they are freshwater lakes... pretty sure they are... in which case there is plenty of water.

    Being on a sand base I would imagine it stays pretty dry all year round.

    Quite a lot of the run is on medium to long grass which can disguise holes.... so be careful.

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