Lake Lanoto'o National Park
The national park is located in the central highlands of the main island of Upolu and consists of three small crater lakes, Lake Lanoto’o, Lanoata’ata and Lanoanea. The national park covers an area of 8,500 hectares, located in the uplands of the island of Upolu amongst tropical rainforest and offers stunning views and great bird watching.
The national park supports endemic bird species such as the endangered Tooth-billed Pigeon (Didunculus strigirostris), and the endangered Mao (Gymnomyza samoensis), as well as the Samoan Starling (Aplonis atrifusca), Samoan Whistler (Pachycephala flavifrons), Samoan Broadbill (Myiagra albiventris) and Samoan Triller (Lalage sharpei). Lake Lanoto’o national park is Samoa’s first wetland of international importance (or Ramsar site) under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.
The “official” start of the hike to the lake begins at the signposting Lake Lanoto’o National Park. However we leave our vehicle approximately 1 km away back along the very rough 4WD access road.
The level trail meanders indistinctly through tall grass mildly descending into a vale of tall native Samoan trees including the tamiligi however so out of place stand dozens of giant pine trees. Then, immediately, you enter a totally different world; one of pressing vegetation but none more beautiful than the always flowering tieula, Samoa’s national flower. The trail becomes very distinct from here where the soil seems to transition from deep brown to a lush red colour.
There is some ascending leading to the halfway point; the trail can be muddy and slippery and rest benches are strategically placed along the way. Now you will descend into a saddle through spectacular high altitude rainforest to approach the final climb to the volcanic crater. Some steep sections are encountered where questionable assistance is lent in the form of dubious and dilapidated handrails. Then “walah” the crest on the crater rim reveals your destination in all of its glory….Lake Lanoto’o. The trail now drops about 50 m in elevation to leading you to the pea green lake’s edge for a welcome dip and refreshment.