Astounding views from the DoC transmitter at the trig take in the far reaches of the lake. A glimpse of Lake Waikareiti even appears behind the forest. As far as the eye can see there are forested hills, water and sky. No other features. And there is one of the largest rata trees in the country.
The Ngamoko Track climbs to the Ngamoko Range summit, steeply at times, through dense forest. At lower altitudes the variety of forest trees is superb: light green tawa, red and silver beech trees, tall rimu with draping golden green leaves, and the mighty northern rata.
Higher up, above a row of sandstone bluffs, cooler temperatures and strong winds means the forest is dominated by the hardy silver beech. At the summit itself (1099 metres) gaps in the vegetation give glorious views of the length of Lake Waikaremoana in one direction, and green farmland ridges stretching away towards Gisborne and Wairoa in the other.
A short detour at the beginning of the Ngamoko Track takes you to one of the biggest rata trees in the country. It is around 1,000 years since it began life as a germinating seed high in the forks of a tree that itself was probably 400-500 years old.
The start of the track is signposted from Whaitiri Point, 2.3 km south of the Aniwaniwa Visitor Centre.
The formed track is easy to pick out, but in places the grasses and ferns are trying their best to cover the track.
The track passes both junctions with the Tawa Walk, then the large rata tree on the right before starting to ascend. The podocarp-beech forest rustles in the wind and the mosaic of seedlings in the understorey keeps the feeling airy. Only occasional tantalising glimpses of the lake appear between the foliage.
After approximately 1 hour the track begins to climb more steeply. Just before the junction to Kaitawa (45 minutes) a slip has exposed a clearing with the best views to the Whanganuioparua Inlet and motor camp.
Ngamoko Trig (1099 metres) is a further 10 minutes.
The aged rata is thought to be 1000 years old and originally started life as an epiphyte on a rimu tree. The three main vines have branched to form a trunk system like a swarm of writhing snakes. The girth of the tree is a massive 12.2. metres.
Ngamoko roughly translates as ‘lizard’ or ‘tattooed face’.
North Island ▷ Out East ▷ Lake Waikaremoana
Great day walk. The climb was constant but with so much variety of forest. There were occasional glimpses out over the lake as a whole, giving us a mouth watering anticipation of what we would see at the top. It did not disappoint. If only we had been able to find a reasonably proced shuttle so as to end the walk at Fairy Springs. Instead we retraced our steps.
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 😍