Hinehopu/Hongi's Track

Hinehopu/Hongi's Track

Lake Rotoiti



1 Rankers Review

1 Face-to-Face

8 Tikitere



4.4 km return | 2 hours return

The forest here is a treat. The dense tawa forest with buttress rooted pukatea and vine enwrapped rimu, is netted with convoluted braids of supplejack. Stories of the ancestors abound here.


1.8km from the junction of S.H.30 and S.H.33 at the eastern end of Lake Rotoiti, turn into Tamatea Street. Continue 600 metres along the lake edge, where there are toilets.

The start of the track departs from the opposite side of the parking area to the lake.

There is another parking area by Hinehopu’s Tree after 1.5km.

There is only limited parking at the Lake Rotoehu end of the track, 500 metres past Hinehopu’s Tree.


The track is wide and mostly metalled with a few uneven sections. It undulates gently through mature forest at the foot of high bluffs between Lakes Rotoiti and Rotoehu.

Continue 30 minutes to a junction. Right takes 3 minutes to Hinehopu’s Tree. Left takes 5 minutes to reach another junction to Hinehopu’s Tree (2-minutes one-way), from where it is 15 minutes to the western edge of Lake Rotoehu.

Polynesian History

The significance of this area lies in its important historic and scenic values.

The track which runs through the area has two names: Hinehopu’s Track and Hongi’s Track.

Originally it was named after the Maori chieftainess, Hinehopu, who lived in the area around 1620. Hinehopu kept two homes, one at Rotoiti and the other at Rotoehu and often travelled between the two lakes. The track and area between the two lakes was named after her.

The name Hongi was given to the area when the famous Ngapuhi warrior, Hongi, transferred his canoes from Lake Rotoehu to Lake Rotoiti in 1823 in order to perform a surprise raid on the Arawa people on Mokoia Island, Lake Rotorua.

From around 1620, Te Ara-o-Hinehopu (Hinehopu’s Track) has passed through the forest to Ko te Whaka-maru-ra o Hinehopu (The sunshade of Hinehopu). As a baby chieftainess, Hinehopu was hidden by her mother under the matai tree to avoid being found by an enemy. Hinehopu grew fond of the forest and developed an affection for the trees and creatures.

Under the tree she met Pikiao II and many hapu of Ngati Pikiao sprung from their union.

It is said the matai has powers that can influence the weather in favour of the traveller.

Hongi Hika, the famous Ngapuhi warrior, used the track as a portage between Lake Rotoiti and Lake Rotoehu. The name Hongi’s Track is sometimes conferred on the link between the lakes.


Feature Value Info


North IslandRotorua RegionTikitere


  • Walking
  • Free



Rebecca Alt's avatar

Rebecca Alt


Ranking: 7/10

Secret entrance and you don't reach Lake Rotoiti as they promote on their website.

Reviewed over 6 years ago

DOC Managed

Thanks to all the good people working for the NZ Department of Conservation - for all your hard work - making NZ more beautiful, accessable and healthy! Cheers 😍

Nick Morrison's avatar

Nick Morrison

Rankers owner