South Wairarapa, Wairarapa, New Zealand
A wet feet lake wading walk, great in summer
This is a long flat walk along the eastern shore of Lake Wairarapa, from the lake reserve domain at the northern end near Featherston, to the public accessway along the stopbank near the Oporua floodway. Wading along the shoreline involves going through water typically knee to thigh depth. The actual depth depends on the lake level which can be checked at Greater Wellington site. It is easier if the level is no more than 10.1 - 10.2 metres. In summer the water is warm, but in winter you will need waders to keep warm.
From the northern end, crossing the Tauherenikau delta is easy, around the headland and a poled route goes across the open waterway to the shoreline. There is another open area to cross about a km further south; follow the fenceline across the water.
Most people start at the northern end and go down. If starting at the Oporua floodway end, park the car about 100 m past the Boggy Pond lagoon sign on Parera Road. There is a gate and access up onto the stopbank. About a km along the stopbank the track dips to a gate and telemetry equipment. Through the gate there is a rougher 4WD track, and after crossing two short wooden bridges a blue poled track leads across the rough grassland to a small hide. From there drop down to the riverbank and walk up towards the headland before attempting to cross. It is 300 - 500 metres across the Oporua floodway, but should be no more than thigh depth.
About 2 km north of the floodway is a deep drain, and another about 1 km north of that. These are regularly dredged and will be at least chest depth. You can cross by moving out into the lake, or by swimming briefly at a narrow point. There is a sign on the bank of the second drain warning of a "hidden ditch".
It is useful to have a pole or stick to test the water depth in front of you when walking. In many places there is a rough track along the grass near the end of the lake.
Along the route there are numerous maimais, used by duck shooters in season. The best locations for birds are generally around the Tauherenikau delta, and about 1 km north of the Oporua floodway.
The route shown is about 12 km, and you should allow about 4 hours with good conditions and lake levels.
Transport is required at each end. Good access and parking in the lake reserve domain at the northern end near Featherston. Parera road is a gravel road off Kahutara Road. You can park on the grass verge near the stopbank. It is about 25 minutes drive from one end to the other.
The lake is pretty exposed, and the walk will not be pleasant if a moderate wind is blowing.
22 Feb 2015 by ledzep
Download GPS path: kml