Lake Waikareiti near New Zealand’s Lake Waikaremoana is a gem. Here is some info about our day hike and try fishing this lake.
New Zealand is such a cool country to explore. I feel so fortunate that we’ve lived here for the past few years. During that time we’ve been on a lot of walks and seen most of the country. Despite the extensive traveling we’ve done here it still took us 3 years to get out to the Lake Waikaremoana area. I’d been hearing stories about huge trout in the lake and virgin forest for a long time. I finally made it a priority to visit and had a great time. We saw some big trout, but they eluded us…
Lake Waikareiti Walk Overview
One of my favorite guidebooks to NZ that provides great information on the hikes and walks in the country is NZ Frenzy.
NZ Frenzy describes Lake Waikareiti as the only place you can visit a lake on an island in a lake on an island. What?
A bit confusing, but factually correct. Lake Waikareiti is a lake on the island of New Zealand. In the middle of Lake Waikareiti is a small island with a lake in the middle of it! In the past you could visit that island, but it was closed during our visit.
Length of walk – 2 hours round trip (about 5 km round trip).
Difficulty – easy to moderate – the walk climbs about 300 meters over 2.5 km.
Highlights – magnificent native forest (red beech, silver beech, and rimu), beautiful crystal clear lake, a row boat for hire, and big trout if you are into fishing.
Remember when taking a hike or day walk to always be prepared. Here is a list of hiking gear with kids.
Our Day Hike To Lake Waikareiti
Lake Waikareiti is located near Lake Waikaremoana, which is down long gravel road that is super windy, even by New Zealand’s standards.
I think that long, tough road is what keeps away the hordes of tourists and visitors that frequent the Lake Taupo and Rotorua areas (which are not that far away). Thus, I like to think of this as a less frequented gem of an area and this walk was our highlight. Of course, there is also the Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk in the area, which we didn’t do, but I hear is nice.
Lake Waikareiti is located at 892 meters, so the hike from the trailhead is a bit of a climb. It’s not a steep climb luckily, just a long, gradual climb that wanders through the forest.
I need to explain something here about our walk and visit to this Lake. I enjoy fly fishing and my son and I do a bit of fishing. Some friends had told me that they visited Lake Waikareiti before, rented a boat, and caught some nice trout in the Lake.
That set me thinking and had me dreaming of this great day. I envisioned a perfect day with my son out on the lake under blue skies, rowing around slowly and catching nice fish. Unfortunately, the weather gods didn’t listen to my dreams and failed to cooperate (this is why I have no photos from that day).
My son and I parked our car, got our fishing gear ready, and then started the walk. We were trying to get up to the Lake as fast as we could since we were on the clock (we had to return the row boat key by 1:00).
To hire the boat you need to stop by the Aniwaniwa visitor center the morning of your walk to pick up a key and some other gear for the boat.
We quickly hiked up the trail, holding our fishing poles and wearing our cold weather clothing. Yes, the weather wasn’t very good that day as that spring day was more like winter than summer.
After a brisk hike we arrived at the Lake. The Lake in a magnificent setting, but I was totally bummed out because it was super windy and cold on the Lake. From the shelter at the Lake we saw some waves and the Lake didn’t look inviting.
We ventured out on the Lake despite the waves on the Lake and freezing winds. We tooled around for a short time as I tried to make my dream become a reality. Needless to say it was useless to try and fish in that awful weather and my son was freezing despite all of his clothes.
I finally relented and rowed (really the wind blew us) back to shore and put the gear away. We ducked into the shelter to escape the wind, warm up, and had a quick snack before hitting the trail again.
On the walk back down I was at first feeling defeated, but the amazing forest and lack of wind gradually refreshed me and had me feeling good again.
Our hike to Lake Waikareiti didn’t live up to my hopes, but we still had a good father and son day. Exploring the natural world, going for hikes, camping, and tramping is kind of like that. Sometimes you score and hit great weather, but other times you don’t. You just have to take the bad times and then you’ll get good times too.
The bad times are still fun, just maybe a different kind of fun. Check out the four types of fun here to figure out what kind of fun a day out in crappy weather would be.
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