Home / Trips / Gisborne

Sandy Bay Hut, Te Urewera

Image of the March 2018 Wilderness Magazine Cover Read more from the
March 2018 Issue

A beach in the hilltops

Sitting on a beach on a lake dotted with forest-covered islands, Sandy Bay Hut has an almost tropical setting – but at 900m in Te Urewera it can feel closer to the Arctic.

The overnighter is an excellent portal through the ancient Te Urewera forest to Waikareiti Lake.

The Lake Waikareiti Track climbs gradually through incredible forest – lush, ancient podocarp trees dwarf the trail. After an hour, the well-formed track reaches Lake Waikareiti, where there is a shelter. You can hire boats from the DOC visitor centre and row across the lake to Sandy Bay Hut. From the shelter, the walking track narrows to a tramping track but is clearly marked, continuing around the lake edges. After about two hours, the track leaves the lake and climbs and descends a number of small valleys, before finally descending to the hut.

The serviced 18-bunk hut is right on the lake, which is covered in golden sand with crystal clear waves lapping the shore.

Support Wilderness

Since 1991, Wilderness has had one simple goal: to help Kiwis ‘See more, do more, live more’ of New Zealand.

If you value our mission, please consider subscribing. As a loyal supporter, you’ll receive these benefits:

  • New Zealand’s best outdoor journalism We’ve won multiple awards for our journalism and magazine production.
  • NZ’s best trips. Browse more than 610 trips with downloadable maps and route notes.
  • Trustworthy gear reviews. Each month we review gear we’ve been bashing and thrashing for months so you can determine if its worth your money.
  • Member benefits. Our WildCard provides discounts at more than 20 partners throughout New Zealand.
  • Your support goes a long way. Your subscription will help us fund NZ’s best outdoor journalists and writers and ensure Wilderness will be there to inspire the next generation of outdoor Kiwis.

A subscription costs as little as $7.00/month for instant access to all articles, trips, gear reviews and gear guides.

View all our subscription options and join the club.

Already a subscriber? Login Now.

Sandy Bay Hut is right on the shore of Lake Waikareiti. Photo: Geoge Driver

The hut is split into two rooms, with a living area/kitchen and a fireplace in the centre, making for a cosy feel and giving privacy for smaller groups.

At the hut was a young couple from Mt Maunganui, who generously shared a bottle of red wine with us while a storm came in, howling through the forest. In the morning, we explored the interesting golden-sand beach, walking around the lake, which was whipped up by a bitter southerly.

The trip can be extended by returning via the Ruapani Track, which starts just before Waikareiti Shelter and takes an extra three hours, passing several wetlands. You can also continue north on the Kaipo Lagoon Track to Manuoha Hut and on to SH38. But with the weather closing in, we decided to return the way we came. Epiphytes the size of a small car had fallen from trees overnight and new windfall covered the track – but while it sounded like a jet was flying above through the canopy, the forest floor was eerily calm. Not wanting to be hit by any falling debris, we quickly made our way downhill back to our car.

Distance
10.7km
Total Ascent
768m
Grade
Moderate
Time
4hr each way
Accom.
Sandy Bay Hut, ($15, 18 bunks - bookings required)
Access
From the Aniwaniwa Falls car park
Map
BG40

GPX File

Sandy Bay Hut (gpx, 31 KB)

GPX File

Your device does not support GPX files. Please try a different device.