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Home Forums TRACKS & GPS North Island tracks map SH38 Lake Waikaremoana

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  • #3143
    • Town/City: Tauranga
    • Bike: Suzuki DR650 ADV, BMW R100GS
    • Rank: Round the World Adventure Globetrotter

    SH38 is 121km’s of windy road through the middle of the Urewera National Park, skirting around the northern edge of Lake Waikaremoana on the way. From
    [See the full post at: SH38 Lake Waikaremoana]

    • Town/City: Tauranga
    • Bike: Suzuki DR650 ADV, BMW R100GS
    • Rank: Round the World Adventure Globetrotter



    Lake Waikaremoana – one of New Zealand’s beauties.

    A popular tourist spot and for many, a place of deep spirituality.

    But to get there, motorists not only have to navigate a narrow road and tight bends, but pot-holes and corrugation, too.

    Wairoa Mayor Craig Little says: “It’s pretty bad on the locals and on our tourists.”

    The gravel road’s condition deteriorates each time there’s a decent downpour.

    Mr Little says it’s been frustrating trying to get State Highway 38 to be sealed.

    “You will be amazed at a lot of people who go up there for half a [kilometre] or so and turn around, and think, bugger this we don’t want to travel on this road.”

    “If you’re not used to a shingle road it’s like driving on marbles.”

    And, for some tourists, visiting Lake Waikaremoana can be out of the question all together.

    “If you get a rental vehicle, whether it’s a rental van, rental car, you can’t drive on that road, you don’t have insurance, you’re not covered.”

    “It’s a state highway so it will be from the NZ Transit Authority funds to get it sealed, but I believe we can do a lot of that under the existing maintenance budget, it’s not going to cost anymore,” the Mayor says.

    Waikaremoana Tribal Authority Chairman Lance Winitana says the iwi is in discussion with others to look at ways of bettering the road for manuhiri.

    The NZ Transport Agency is working with key stakeholders on a business case for the entire route between Wairoa and Murupara.

    Director Regional Relationships, Parekawhia McLean says she knows unsealed roads can be frustrating, but is ensuring all parties are included in the process.

    More is expected to be known about the plan later this year.

    “I’ve got to say NZTA are really trying their hardest within their means to have the same outcome as us- the seal,” Mr Little says.

    Local Focus spoke to Wairoa locals last October who petitioned to have Kiwi Rd, a residential road, tar-sealed.

    Mr Little says getting State Highway 38 sealed could get the ball rolling for other gravel roads in the district.

    Daniel Fisher
    • Town/City: Nor-West
    • Bike: DRZ400E
    • Rank: 1200cc Rider

    A very scenic stretch of road, glad I did it. If heading West to East, Ohuka/Erepeti Rd instead of heading into Frasertown is a good detour.

    Ohuka Road

    James C
    • Bike: 2014 Triumph Tiger 800 XR
    • Rank: 250cc Rider

    Absolutely brilliant ride. Completed it End March.

    • Town/City: Tauranga
    • Bike: Suzuki DR650 ADV, BMW R100GS
    • Rank: Round the World Adventure Globetrotter

    SH38 around Lake Waikaremoana is at risk of being sealed. According to this article on funding has been approved for the sealing work in a time sensitive budget, but that the funding is at risk of expiring due to Tuhoe testing other ‘Green’ methods of keeping the gravel road surface in acceptable condition.

    This would be a sad loss to Adventure Riding and providing a surface that would encourage more traffic into the area would potentially change the area in ways we, and the Tuhoe tribe, are not comfortable with.


    There are fears Government funding to upgrade the road to scenic Lake Waikaremoana will expire before any work can be done.

    Recently Ng?i T?hoe, which manages the lake in the Te Urewera region west of Gisborne, came under fire from Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones after it voiced opposition to upgrade State Highway 38, which runs alongside the lake, with petro-chemical bitumen.

    That forced Jones to cancel a Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) announcement to tarseal the mostly-gravel highway.

    “Tarseal as a road surface is proven and, while I am impressed with the natural road sealing alternatives presented by T?hoe, they are unproven and there is a lot more testing to go,” he said.

    “The funds for sealing this section of SH38 are available now and it would be a shame to lose that opportunity.”

    Little said the council’s role was to support and provide the best services to ratepayers and residents.

    “That is why we are advocating to have this section of national highway sealed.”

    But T?hoe leader T?mati Kruger has described the council’s position as a “rape and pillage mentality … of unchecked tourism”.

    Jones previously said the Government hadn’t yet disbanded the proposal to contribute towards upgrades of SH38, but T?hoe’s “environmentally

    A spokeswoman for the Minister on Thursday said the future of SH38 and the funding rested in the hands of both T?hoe and the Wairoa District Council.

    “Our officials from the Provincial Development Unit will do what they can to facilitate helpful discussions,” she said.

    “However I’m sure you’ll appreciate the PGF is a time-constrained fund and that there is a vast amount of other projects seeking funding.”

    New Zealand Transport Agency spokesman Ross I’Anson said it was working with T?hoe and the Wairoa and Whakat?ne councils on a strategic case for the entire corridor between the two locations.

    It recently met with the parties to plan the next phase of the business case, which would help improve access while also aligning with the principles of Te Kawa o Te Urewera, I’Anson said.

    “The Green Road, or Nature Road, is an environmentally-friendly alternative to bitumen sealing, however further trials will need to be done to ensure that the road surface is safe and resilient enough to carry state highway traffic long term.”

    The agency and councils would continue to work “closely” with T?hoe on the trial.

    T?hoe took over the lake’s management from the Department of Conservation, as part of an historic Treaty of Waitangi settlement.friendly” trial was “hillbilly thinking”.

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