Road Trip Stops from Wairoa to Lake Waikaremoana
Swap the coastal towns and scenery for an inland adventure at Lake Waikaremoana and the Te Urewera forest. The lake and the forest holds an abundance of recreational activities, from walks to fishing to boat tours on the lake. Getting there is all part of the adventure, so if you’re starting from the gateway to the Te Urewera forest, Wairoa, follow this list stops to do between Wairoa & Lake Waikaremoana! Stop by scenic walks, quaint towns, waterfalls and caves along the way following this simple road trip itinerary.
1. Wairoa Lighthouse
Before you set off from town along the State Highway 2 river bridge, take a look at New Zealand’s “only inland lighthouse”. It’s a fantastic picture opportunity and still lights up after dark! After you cross the bridge, turn left, then the first right following signs to Lake Waikaremoana along State Highway 38. (Why not check out the sights on our 10 Unmissable Things to Do in Wairoafor more things to do before you leave?)
Location: 0.2km (0.1 miles) from Wairoa centre
Originally named Te Kapu, Frasertown is a good place to stop for food at the tavern and is your last piece of real civilisation before journeying into the Te Urewera forest. The cemetery is also a noteworthy place holding graves from 1875. Turn onto the Frasertown Bridge over the Wairoa River on State Highway 38.
Location: 8.2km (5 miles) from Wairoa
3. Ohuka Road
A side route which leads back onto the Tiniroto Road, this is a scenic road through hills and countryside. The Ruakituri Valley is renowned for its trout fishing. At Te Reinga, the Ruakituri and Hangaroa Rivers meets to form Te Reinga Falls (55km/34 miles down Ohuka Road). The falls can be accessed on a 5-minute walk.
Location: 36.8km (22.9 miles) from Wairoa
4. Tuai and Lake Whakamarina
Turn right to the Tuai settlement established when a powerhouse development began in the 1920s. The power station now contributes 500-gigawatt hours to the national grid. You can also see the attractive Lake Whakamarino, which is a hydro lake known for its large brown and rainbow trout.
Location: 51.1km (31.8 miles) from Wairoa
5. Kaitawa Power Station
Turn right down to the Kaitawa Power Station which opened in 1948. There are two short walks starting from the power station, one being the Lake Kaitawa Fairy Springs Track, which is a one-hour loop partly along a gravel road. See majestic rimu trees and a translucent green pool known as the “Fairy Springs” pool.
Location: 54.9km (34.1 miles) from Wairoa
6. Onepoto and Onepoto Caves
Onepoto is the entrance of the Te Urewera forest and the start of the Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk. There is a car park here with a wonderful view of the lake. Alternatively, take some time to explore the Onepoto Caves, a 2-hour return walk along a well-marked trail. Find out more about this walk in our 17 Stunning Lake Waikaremoana Walks.
Location: 56.5km (35.1 miles) from Wairoa
7. Lou’s Lookout
Stop by this 30-45-minute walk rising through rocky bluffs and magnificent boulders to a platform. Here, you’ll get spectacular views over the lake and surrounding forest. The walk is well sign-posted.
Location: 57.9km (36 miles) from Wairoa
8. Rosie Bay and the Old Maori Trail
Rosie Bay is a picturesque Department of Conservation campsite and the start of The Old Maori Trail. The trail leads to Lake Kaitawa through native bush and grassy clearings.
Location: 58.9km (36.6 miles) from Wairoa.
9. Whaitiri Point
Here is the site of the historic Lakehouse Hotel which opened in 1903 and closed in 1972. The hotel was demolished, but the sit now has a walk down to the holiday park by the lake. Alternatively, across the road is the 5-hour return Ngamoko Track which descends through forest to Lake Kaitawa.
Location: 64.8km (40.3 miles) from Wairoa
10. Waikaremoana Holiday Park
Stop here for supplies from the shop, peaceful and basic accommodation alongside the lake, information and water taxi bookings for the Great Walk. Waikaremoana Holiday Park is also a great place to stay the night and soak in the wilderness ambience.
Location: 65.8km (40.9 miles) from Wairoa