Waihora Lagoon is secluded, unique and unlike the ‘typical’ must do in the region. Take yourself on a journey to a largely unknown location, somewhere you can have it all to yourself. Waihora Lagoon is one of the lesser known about natural attractions in the central plateau of the North Island. It is located in one of New Zealand’s least talked about Forrest parks surrounded by tall rimu and kahikatea that reflect in the water.
Pureora Forest Park is located on the western shores of Lake Taupo, a recreational playground for the outdoor enthusiast. Stacked full of Native New Zealand rainforest it is one of those places where you will be in heaven if you are into outdoor activity and Nature.
Although I do love to dabble in all of the potential activities like camping, hiking and fishing, there is really only one reason why I decided to make my way out there and that is to locate Waihora lagoon. A large swamp-like body of water in the middle of nowhere, no inlet, no outlet just a massive lagoon in the middle of the forest. I needed to check it out for myself.
Here is my experience and how you can get there yourself. Which I highly Recommend.
The location of the lagoon itself can easily be found by typing it into google maps, but to give you a rough idea. Its located about 40 minutes west of Taupo. As you are driving along SH32 you will need to make a left-hand turn (if you are coming from the Taupo side) onto a gravel road.
The turn can be quite deceiving, as it looks like someone’s driveway Even though there is a big sign stating that it is indeed the turnoff to Waihora lagoon the run down gates, farming fence and massive potholes could suggest otherwise.
I initially reversed out and continued to drive a little bit further down the road convinced that there must be another entry point nearby. So, don’t do that, it is the right turn off. Be prepared for a long gravel road, about 7km to be precise. If you have a low-lying car that you would prefer not to get dirty of bottomed out on the gravel this might not be for you… or just take a mate’s car. To easy
Follow the signs are you come across some forks in the road and you will reach the end which is a car park. From here you will only need to walk 5 mins through some incredible native New Zealand rainforest until you reach the lagoon.
Your experience at the lagoon can vary dependant on the season you decide to visit and the weather conditions. I have been there twice in recent months and have had two completely different experiences.
If you go during the summer, drier periods or simply when there has not been much rain the lagoon can be very low and according to DOC, almost non-existent in the middle of summer. On the flip side to that if you hit it right you after some consistent rain you can have an amazing experience.
Once you reach the lagoon you are welcomed by a wooden platform that will take you out onto the lagoon itself as if you are standing on top of the lagoon itself. The second time I went to check it out the platform was slightly submerged in water which made for an incredible experience. It literally felt as though you were walking on water.
If you manage to hit the lagoon on a still day you will be able to get a boss reflection of the surrounding trees. Making it a perfect place to capture a likeable gram photo or if you are not that way inclined a tranquil place where you can take in the scenery and be simply be at peace.
Although Waihora lagoon gets most of the press and published content from Pureora Forrest park covers the surprisingly big area and has multiple walks throughout. Another quick walk that you can incorporate into an afternoon or morning along with the lagoon is the Rimu walk
The Rimu Walk
The Rimu walk is a one-hour loop track that takes you through beautiful New Zeland native. As you brush your way through low lying punga trees and ferns you will be amazed at the sheer size of the never-ending Rimu trees that tower out of the Ground.
One of New Zeeland’s most famous and well know larger trees they are an epic sight and to have so many together in such a close proximity is a unique thing. The walk is simple and would recommend it to anyone at any age. There is only one slightly steep incline of stairs whereas the rest is like a leisurely stroll through the bush with a few bridges as you cross a few streams.
If you are thinking of making your way to Waihora lagoon where you may be coming from I would highly recommend tagging this onto your day. The Waihora lagoon has somewhat been kept a secret within the online space and if you are not a local even discovering the name can be a difficult task.
Happy lagoon hinting if you ever decide to make your way out there, I would love to know and see some pictures. Lucid.