National Parks

National Parks - Te Urewera

The largest national park in the North Island, Te Urewera is home to a vast world of stunning lakes, forest and mountains.

Explore the stunning Lake Waikaremoana– the focus for many activities in the park – which was formed 2200 years ago by a colossal landslide that blocked the Waikaretaheke River.

The lake and surrounding areas are popular with hikers, kayakers, hunters and fly-fishing enthusiasts. Near the Lake’s shores, the small settlement of Aniwaniwa offers kayak hire as well as a visitor centre, museum and accommodation. This is the starting point for several short and long walks which provide access to the lake's spectacular scenery and legendary fishing spots. Neighbouring island-dotted Lake Waikareiti offers a haven for native aquatic life.

The Lake Waikaremoana Track, one of New Zealand’s “Great Walks”, follows the western side of the lake and takes up to four days to complete.

For centuries Te Urewera has been home to the Tuhoe people, who are known as the 'Children of the Mist' because they trace their ancestry to Hine-puhoku-rangi - the celestial mist maiden.

The Te Urewera National Park protects the largest area of native forest remaining in the North Island and is home to nearly all species’ of New Zealand native birds.

Accommodation

There is a fully serviced motor camp beside Lake Waikaremoana, as well as several more basic camping areas. Around the Waikaremoana Track, the Department of Conservation provides a series of Great Walk hikers' huts. In other parts of the park, there are more than 40 DOC huts - some 'Basic', some 'Standard'. You must book huts and campsites in advance and pay a hut fee.

A variety of accommodation can be found in Wairoa, the town closest to the Te Urewera National Park. Between Wairoa and Lake Waikaremoana there are several B&Bs and homestays.

Key Activities

Walking

The Park has an extensive track system, including the 3-day Lake Waikaremoana Track which leads around the western lake edge, climbing onto the crest of the Panekiri Range before dropping to the shoreline. Six shorter walks begin close to the Aniwaniwa visitors' centre - they range from a 20 minute stroll to Aniwaniwa Falls to the challenging six hour Ruapani Circuit. A choice of other short walks can be found near the motor camp.

Boating and fly fishing

Brown and rainbow trout are found in Lake Waikaremoana, and fishing licenses can be bought from the motor camp store. Kayaks and canoes are available for hire. At Lake Waikareiti, the Department of Conservation has a number of rowboats for hire.

Hunting

Guided red deer, wild pig, goat and other types of game shooting can be organised at Lake Waikaremoana. Responsible hunting is encouraged as a way to control introduced animals.

Key Tips

• Te Urewera National Park is very elevated. Snow falls are part of the natural weather cycle - even as late as November.
• The climate in the park is quite different to the climate at the coast - always pack for every weather eventuality.
• State Highway 38 between Wairoa and Lake Waikaremoana has a gravel surface - the drive takes around two hours.
• On the Waikaremoana Track, camping is only allowed in the five designated campsites.
• The Aniwaniwa Museum, managed by the Department of Conservation, will help you to understand the park environment.
• For more information on the Lake Waikaremoana Track visit the Department of Conservation's website.