Lake Wainamu, Bush & Wainamu Stream Loop
Head to the first Carpark at Bethell’s Beach, on the left just after the bridge over Waiti Stream. Pass through the gate where you’ll see the sign for the Wainamu Track. This track just follows alongside the stream. The stream is pretty low so we walk through the stream with great looking reeds on the left .
After a while the sand dunes rise up on your right (there are some great patterns on the side of these dunes too), there is a farm to the left. We follow this stream for
close to half an hour before we reach Lake Wainamu.
We follow the Lake on the sand dune side going anticlockwise until we reach the other side (width ways) about 5 or so minutes later. You will then reach a gate where we then followed the Wainamu Track, lakeside through long grass & Kanukas & ferns, up & down a few stairs & past some Pohutukawas. After about 20 minutes or so we reach the grassy clearing & T junction where the Lake Wainamu Track continues straight ahead & the Houghton Track is on the right. We head right.
The Houghton track starts off upwards at a reasonable gradient at first, then gets fairly steeper. It does ease up in parts, but is mostly just up. At close to the top of the a fairly steep part, the Houghton Track veers to the left at a kind of right angle, then the gradient eases up bit & after a while follows fenceline & then crosses over where the fence was.
After about 45 minutes we reach the end of this track at the Wainamu Junction.
The Kuataika is to the right, Smyth Ridge Track straight ahead & the Wainamu
Bush Track is on the left. We head on the Wainamu Bush Track. This track starts
off reasonably flatish & slopes down & up a bit before it heads steadily
downwards amongst lots of kauri saplings. After about 20 minutes or so we reach
the bottom, pass a wee creek & then find a clearing right next to Wainamu
Stream which is to the left of the track. This is a perfect place for a cuppa
& some Golden Crunch Cookies.
The track continues alongside the stream straight ahead (there is a crossing further ahead), but for us this is where we leave the Wainamu Bush Track. We head left go into the shallow rocky stream, downstream. There is flat bank to the left of this stream, so if you fancy keeping your feet dry (for now) there is the option of walking alongside. There is “track” pretty much all the way down, but you’ll need to cross often from side to side.
We opt for the refreshing wet feet version & scramble over
rocks & wee rapids. The bush is quite dense over the stream giving it a
lovely vibe with odd sunbeams here & there through the dim green hue. With
the dense bush over head, this stream is also a tad more chilling . There are a
few parts where the stream wading gets around waist deep, so it’s nice to have
the option of going to the side every now & then to warm up again.
The scenery is simply stunning , plenty of trees, rocks, moss & some beautiful
waterfalls too with picturesque pools. There are a couple of parts where you
need to keep your eyes peeled for a way around the falls. There is one
particular part where you have the option of walking a fair way out of the way
around the rock, climbing precariously on the side of the rock, or just swim
through 20 metres or so. We go for the quick & refreshing swim option. There
are quite a few slippery rapidy things to navigate as well & one part that
is great for a bit of a slide. After about 1 ¼ hours of stream we reach the
final few waterfalls where the Wainamu Stream meets up with the Lake Wainamu
We decide to stop for a warming cuppa & lunch of Tandoori Sarnies next to a waterfall. After the last fall there is a junction where the Lake Wainamu Track continues straight ahead (towards the Hougton Track) & also on the right, across the reeds & continues on the other side of the lake. We head right across the reeds. The tranquil Lake Wainamu is now on our left & we follow the track through the long grass, a few more reeds on the left, bush & farm on the right & views of the
dunes straight ahead.
After close to half an hour we reach the other end of the
lake and also a small jetty that goes out over the lake. This proves ideal for a
bit of a run & jump for one last swim. The temperature is so much warmer
than the stream we’ve just been in, so we take our time & enjoy a leisurely
swim. Afterwards we back track through the stream back to the car.
Total loop time about 5 hours.
Level of Difficulty
Easy to Moderate
5 Hours - anticlockwise (Autumn 2012)
4.5 Hours - clockwise (Autumn 2013)
4.5 Hours - clockwise (Summer 2015)
4 Hours - anticlockwise (Summer 2015)
4 Hours - anticlockwise (Summer 2016)
4 Hours - anticlockwise (Autumn 2016)