map of the journey
After Morerere hot springs, I booked the huts for my walk around Lake Waikaremoana in Wairoa. I did this Great Walk of New Zealand slow in 4 days and had 3 days of excellent weather, but some rain (and later some hail and snow in the camp site) on the last day. The huts are very basic, no blankets, no equipment for cooking and of course no food, you have to bring all you need for 4 days and have to carry out all rubbish that you produce. There are camp sites too and you may consider them in the high season if snoring of up to 40 people in a room bothers you. There is plenty of fish in the lake to enhance your meals or you go hunting deer for example.
Lake Waikaremoana (translates sea of rippling waters) is located in the Te Urewera national park (which translates btw burnt penis), which is about 2000 sq km big.
A lot of wild woodland with a history of Maori resistance, because the Tuhoe people (also known as children of the mist) never signed the treaty of Waitangi (a place north of Auckland I visited in the first week).
After the walk I cycled State Highway 38, a unsealed road for about 100km north west to Murupara (first coffee since 5 days) and another 50km to Waikite Valley, a wonderful place to pitch your tent and as camper you have free entry to the 4 pools (35° to 40°C), opens at 6 am and closes at 9 pm. At the first (of three major) hills to Murapara was snow above 900m.
On the way south a short trip to Taupo where I visited Huka Falls, or as the Maori call it: Hukanui, great body of spray. Back to Taupo on a MTB single trail without luggage fortunately.
Weather for the next two days seems not to good, Tongariro crossing was canceled for tomorrow and Monday does not look any better, so I may just head south and come back mid January to see the volcanoes.