Posted by Francesca Peacey on

In February this year I was invited on an incredible adventure to Lake Waikaremoana, in Te Urewera National Park by a pal and her dad.  I hadn’t realise there still remained parts of New Zealand so completely untouched! We had planned the trip months before and planned on running the 46km trail. It would become my first ultra-marathon.  Having never even attempted a full marathon, my ultra-runner pal convinced me this would be a grand idea!

The journey from Whangarei to Waikaremoana holiday park was an adventure in itself with 90km of “state highway" 38 being a gravel road with no reception! I marvelled at the abilities of my Mitsubishi colt which was certainly not designed for such an ordeal.  As I weaved past the teeny catchments of Murupara and Ruatahuna I wondered several times if I’d passed the holiday park…or missed the 54km2 lake entirely.  When rounding one corner, and just when my fuel light awakened…there it was.  Waikaremoana or “sea of rippling waters” basking in late evening light.  Rocking up to the campsite was a welcome surprise.  The doc site is by far the best equip I have visited with warm showers, electric stoves and a cold cider to welcome me.  This was however a week after I had discovered I was pregnant and declined the lovely cider on account of my 8 week old bean. 

Waikaremoana - Vilo Wood Sunglasses

The first day was spent kayaking the shoreline, from Mokau Landing and hurling ourselves off a moderately scary waterfall!

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A few chucks in the lake (courtesy of 8 week old bean) weren’t enough to detract from the glorious sunshine or crystal water.  The next day marked the beginning of the end of my running life!

Waikaremoana - Vilo Wooden Sunglasses and Watches

We ventured out of our one-man tents and to the start of the blustery trail at 7am.  Unfortunately, bean wasn’t a fan of the initial and most challenging portion of the trail…Onepoto to Panekire.  At Waiopaoa and after several vom stops I decided to call it quits.  My iron woman pal powered through and completed the 46km trail by dusk! Myself and 8-week old bean managed just 17km but what a trail it was! 

A water taxi picked me and bean up and provided an impromptu tour of the entire lake with all its mystical history.  I’d love to return to Te Urewera with our daughter and complete the trail over the 3 days it’s designed for with overnight stays in the dotted doc huts.  This prehistoric refuge at the heart of New Zealand showcases the untouched, unspoiled natural beauty that kiwis are most proud of.  Why not immerse yourself in this haven and plan your own adventure at http://www.doc.govt.nz/waikaremoana

In Vilo News

Christmas is upon us and it's a reminder to check out the latest times on our shipping page to ensure you receive your watches and sunnies on time!

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  • I love your writing Francesca! You have the best stories!

    Leigh on

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