Day 266 on the Road
The North Island’s Ultimate Wilderness Area!
Today we are explore Lake Waikaremoana by boat! If you like this video and want more New Zealand bucket list inspiration then don’t fret! We have heaps more videos like this one over on our YouTube Channel!
Today we are going to explore the second largest lake of the North Island New Zealand it’s Lake Waikaremoana.
Today we are heading to the shores of Lake Waikaremoana and trying to keep up with our guide.
So we are trying to keep up with David who is taking us on a boat trip today. But he obviously knows the gravel roads a lot more than we do.
That’s one thing that you have to know about locals in New Zealand. If you ever follow one they know the road much better than you do so you usually going to be the one getting lost.
After finding back David on the shores we are boarding the boat and off for our tour.
Lake Waikaremoana is a true wilderness experience. And unusually people do multi-day hikes around the area but if you are doing 365 activities in 365 days like we are because isn’t everyone? Then a boat trip like this just to see the highlights of the lake is a great option if you just have a day here.
After David is giving us a quick history of the lake which is actually pretty young in terms of geological history it’s only around 2,000 years old, we are then rushing across this magnificent lake. It’s the second largest in New Zealand and surrounded by beautiful native forest. in fact, the whole forest surrounding us, the Te Ureweras, is actually the largest tract of native in the North Island.
David takes us to the place where we can see the landslip that formed Lake Waikaremoana around 2,000 years ago. It’s actually the longest landslip in the Southern Hemisphere and we notice some crazy weather on the lake.
The lake is that big that you can have different weather on one side and the other. As we want to reach the other side of the lake the weather is absolutely atrocious.
David keeps on referring to the Children of the Mist, which is apparently the Maori legend around the lake and turns out that we’re going to learn more about that later but in the meantime, here’s a stunning waterfall.
This is one of the many waterfalls surrounding Lake Waikaremoana and to be fair it’s one of the most picturesque. It has this really amazing angle like rocks it just falls on the side. it looks like the hipster of all waterfalls just because it looks a bit different from all the others.
After that awesome waterfall we are already moving on at speed to our next destination of our tour.
We are now stopping at an eerie thing to check out on Lake Waikaremoana it’s an underwater petrified forest.
So David just gave us some polarised glasses. So we can see the petrified forest just under the water.
Those stumps under the water look absolutely amazing and they are actually far below us at 25 feet below the surface not as close to what it looks like on my carema right now.
This petrified forest was created when the lake was created by a massive landslip that dammed the lake and put the forest under the water giving the fores this amazing underwater look.
The underwater petrified forest is a really fascinating addition to this tour and something I had no idea even existed until coming here to Lake Waikaremoana so after taking some time to have a look around this really awesome underwater forest, David gets a call out to go pick up some hikers that are currently doing the Lake Waikaremaona Great Walk.
Yes, Lake Waikaremoana is that beautiful that it has one of the 10 New Zealand great walks going around the perimetre of it takes water taxis like this one to get from one end of the track to the other ones when you finish and start your Great Walk which takes about 3 to 4 days to complete.
So we stop at the Waiharuru Hut to pick up some hikers and go check out the swing bridge.
So we’re just gonna go check out the swing bridge while we wait for some other passengers to be picked up.
While the Waiharuru hut is a really awesome place to get a taste for some of the walking tracks around Lake Waikaremoana, David says to us that we can’t miss the opportunity to go and meet Bill who is the hut warden here so apparently he’s got some amazing stories to tell so we head back toward the hut and go check out what he has to say.
But before that, you guys always ask us to show you what are facilities in the DOC huts this is what you can get. You can get those kind of toilets, outside kitchen there is also an inside kitchen and we’ll show you the inside of a hut a little bit later on.
Meeting up with Bill, he’s telling us the legend of the Children of the Mist because part of the story was actually told in Maori which was really authentic and really cool I think I got the entire story myself but I think that the Tuhoe which is the local tribe are the Children of the Mist and they are the guardians of the lake. But before we left Bill gives us some pretty fun fact about the area. In this forest around is called the Te Urewera and this is translating to the burnt penis and this story goes that a Maori chief just slept a little too close to the fire. I’m not going into details but that’s basically what happened.
Moving onto our next destination Bill has more people to pick up cos he’s radio is just keep going on and going on and going on he has no time to rest. And because his boat is not that big we have to get off.
So David had to pick up some extra hikers that were stranded again so what we have to do now is stay here and wait for him to come back and pick us up because he had too many people on his boat so there is a hut nearby there is a lake right here and we’re gonna be hanging out around here for a little while.
We’re not complaining though because that gives us more time to explore the area and check out this native rainforest Robin and I take the time to take a walk through the forest which really has a Jurassic like feel to it. We really expect a dinosaur to be jumping out at any moment. But along the way we find yet another Great Walk out so we check out those facilities, well, do a quick filming for you guys and then head back onto the track.
Of course the next thing we are seeing is another beautiful waterfall int he Te Urewera forest and this one looks like it would make an amazing waterslide.
The majestic waterfalls make up some of the highlights around the Lake Waikaremoana area and there’s actually loads of them to check out if you’re staying in the area a while but for us we’re heading back toward the lake shores where we find more fossils of trees even fish in the water and we have a look across the lake to see a huge amount of black swans.
Black swans are pretty abundant in New Zealand’s wetlands and lakes like this one and this is actually the most we’ve seen all in one place.
Although about 100 of these black swans were introduced from Australia during the 1860s the populations grew so quickly because now there’s about 60,000 swans, now it’s considered that actually a lot of black swans fly in from Australia themselves making them self-introduced native.
However, these black swans got here, they make a pretty interesting thing to look at while we’re sat along the lakeside of the beautiful Lake Waikaremoana surrounded by beautiful rainforest there’s towering mountains surrounding us. It really is a picture perfect place. We feel like we are pretty much alone in world here.
After being picked up there is one last thing that we need to do on our way back from our tour and it’s trying this delicious and super water. David is really insisting he has a cup on the boat for us to try and oh my God it does taste like heaven.
Lake Waikaremoana is a stunning lake with heaps of wildlife, stunning forest and rich in Maori legend. It was an amazing afternoon and we feel that we saw so much on this lake despite not having the time to do the time to do the Great Walk. Tomorrow we are sticking in the area because there is heaps of caves and walks to discover so we are going to be taking the time to explore the surroundings of Lake Waikaremoana by foot.
But we are staying at the holiday park tonight so who says holiday parks says barbecue.
We’re having awesome local vegetables with an amazing view a nice game of Rummikub and even the duck is jealous.