Hot Waterfall, Akatarewa Stream, Lake Ohakuri, Waikato River,(I)
A fabulous beginner grade one packrafting trip on Lake Ohakuri (created by the damming of the Waikato River). With the excitement of wading up a hot water stream to bathe under a hot waterfall, or soak in hotwater rockpools.
On Te Kopia Road, 200 m south of Waihunuhunu Stream, there is a four-wheel-drive track 150 m long down to Lake Ohakuri, a place called Paradise by the locals. There is no direction sign to Paradise from Te Kopia Road, and no view of the lake from the road. You are in the correct place if the view from the end of the 4WD track carpark is like the featured put-in photo. There is a large 0.5 m grey metal pipe with hot water entering the lake to the left of the photo, which creates a warm area of the lake to bathe in. Steam rising marks hot patches in the lake near Paradise. Some spots are hot enough to scald you or explode your packraft. Keep an eye on how tight your boat is.
Depending on the amount of weed, it is about a 45 minute paddle out into Lake Ohakuri and around to the hidden entrance of the hot water stream chasm of Akatarewa Stream.
When you can’t paddle your packraft any further up the Akatarewa Stream, tie it to a tree as in the photo. Change into your togs and wade up the stream through the very narrow rocky chasm known as “The Squeeze”. The stream varies between ankle and chest deep over the 150 m distance to the hot waterfall. There are hot pools at the base of the waterfall and another at the top, accessible by a roped path. Respect private land. Do not venture too far upstream as there is a private naturists camp.
Togs, towel and a water bottle full of clean drinking water. Changing is best done in your packraft as water is waist deep at the tie up tree.