Lake Waikaremoana is located in Te Urewera National Park in the North Island of New Zealand, 60 kilometres northwest of Wairoa and 80 kilometres southwest of Gisborne. Although these distances don’t seem great, you need to understand that the whole of the East Cape region of the North Island is very lightly populated and both Gisborne and Wairoa themselves are some distance from the main population centres of the North Island. To visit Lake Waikaremoana and Te Urewea National Park requires a determined effort and a journey over twisting unsealed dusty roads.
So it was that in January 2009 a group of friends gathered at the shore of the ‘sea of rippling waters’ for a week to walk parts of one of New Zealand’s “Great Walks”. Each morning we were greeted by this view from the windows of our chalets as the sun rose in the east and crept over the hills between the lake and the Pacific Ocean.
This wasn’t our first visit to Lake Waikaremoana. Each previous visit was memorable in part for the dusty winding road to get there, memories stretching back to childhood holidays with family. The road never seems to improve with time, and on occasions still gets washed out by heavy rain. Our most recent previous visit was to undertake the four day Great Walk around the lake, with overnight stays in hiking huts provided by the New Zealand Department of Conservation. That trip was memorable for another of Lake Waikaremoana’s claims to fame, rain and mist. Indeed, the local Tuhoi Maori who live in small settlements around and near the lake are known as “the people of the mist”. On that occasion the rain started the moment we set foot on the track and ended just as we exited the track four days later!
I’m pleased to report that during our January 2009 visit we had beautiful weather every day and managed to see the views from high points around the lake that we missed on our previous visit.
Here are two further images taken on our first night at the lake as the sun was setting.