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Huka Falls Lake Taupo top attraction

  • 3 minutes

North Island, New Zealand

Huka Falls

Watch, listen to the roar of water power. Take a selfie of the Huka falls with your friends backdropped by New Zealand’s premier natural attraction. Visitors throng to observe the torrents of cascading water at the Huka falls. It seems nature is telling us the Waikato River is on it’s way. The walk from the carpark is approximately 5 – 10 minutes to various lookout points. Dogs are allowed.

TIP

FREE – Taupo, Huka falls, there are no admission charges, including the carpark.

Huka Falls waterfall in Wairakei near Lake Taupo in New Zealand
Huka Falls waterfall in Wairakei near Lake Taupo in New Zealand

What is so special about Huka Falls, Taupo?

The sheer volume of water cascading over an 11 metre cliff. While the drop is not high the stupendous average flow of 150 cubic metres per second is impressive. The falls are very accessible and the water is a clear turquoise thundering presence dominating the surrounding native bush.

What is the best time to visit the Huka Falls, Taupo?

The Huka falls between mid-morning to mid-afternoon can be crowded with visitors. In the summer peak season several traffic wardens are on duty. To avoid the crowds, plan your visit early morning or after 4.00 pm in the summer. There is a gift shop on site to purchase your ‘I’ve visited Huka falls’ T Shirt and other collectables.

There are toilets located adjacent to the souvenir shop. There is a large car park on Huka Falls Rd with toilets and picnic area. Carpark hours: Winter – 8.00 am to 5.30 pm; Summer – 8.00 am to 6.00 pm.

Huka Falls, Taupo, New Zealand
Huka Falls, Taupo, New Zealand
Tourist adventure in Huka Falls with Huka falls river cruise in Taupo, New Zealand
Tourist adventure in Huka Falls with Huka falls river cruise in Taupo, New Zealand

Huka fall jet boat cruise

The Waikato river, originating from Lake Taupo flows for 425 km to the sea. At Huka falls the mighty Waikato river is squeezed between upper layers of hard rock. Consequently the river has carved a channel through the lower sedimentary layers. The Waikato’s average water flow is 40 cubic metres per second; the Huka falls increases to 150 cubic metres per second.

What can you visit nearby Huka Falls, Taupo?

Nearby Huka Falls, Taupo you can visit the Huka Prawn Park, continue further down the road to Aratiatia Rapids or enjoy exploring the Craters of the Moon lunar landscape.

Waikato River rapids at Aratiatia, Taupo, New Zealand
Waikato River rapids at Aratiatia, Taupo, New Zealand
Panoramic view over Huka Falls and the pool beneath. Taupo, New Zealand
Panoramic view over Huka Falls and the pool beneath. Taupo, New Zealand

Is it worthwhile visiting the Huka falls, Taupo?

The Huka falls deserve top billing as #nzmustdo natural attraction. Undoubtedly visitors are following a well trodden path to the Huka falls yet the sheer beauty of falls is not diminished by its popularity. The Huka falls are memorising and many visitors are visiting for the second or third time.

How much time is needed to visit the Huka falls, Taupo?

How much time is spent visiting the Huka falls depends on how you arrived. If you are walking (following the Waikato River) it could be several hours with a picnic along the way or it could be 15 minutes with a dash from the Huka falls carpark. Take time and find the ideal spot for your selfie, you won’t regret it.

Taupo Geothermal Spa Park & Huka falls walking track

Consider walking not driving to the Huka falls. The pleasant walk is on a firm flat surface. Start at the Spa Park and winding along the banks of the Waikato River. The walk is approximately 3 km (one way).

Taupo geothermal park, NZ
Taupo geothermal park, NZ
TIP

Get a volunteer in the family or friends group to drive to the Huka falls carpark to meet and greet smaller members at the falls.

 

Huka Falls waterfall in Wairakei near Lake Taupo. Wairakei is home to the historic Wairakei Resort Hotel with its golf course, geothermally heated swimming pools and extensive parkland trails. A well-equipped gym and spa offer a full range of treatments.

Huka Falls Taupo, New Zealand
Huka Falls Taupo, New Zealand

Huka falls walking track

Take a scenic walk along the banks of the Waikato River, or simply explore the many lookout points at Huka Falls, one of the most visited natural attractions in New Zealand – these short, easy walks are great for kids.

  • Duration 3 km (one way)
  • Dogs allowed
  • Toilets at either end of the trail

Department of Conservation description of Huka Falls

  • Huka Falls lookout walk
  • Time: 10 min
  • Distance: 167 m

From the Huka Falls carpark, cross the bridge over the falls and turn left. There are several lookout points on this easy access walk to take advantage of the views of the spectacular Huka Falls.

The incredible volume of water tumbling over the falls is due to the Waikato River being forced through a channel of hard rock only 15 m wide and 10 m deep. The river emerges with a rush at the northern end to form the falls.

The level of the river above the falls is controlled by the Control Gates Bridge. Installed in 1941, the gates allow water stored in Lake Taupō to be used for generating power through the Waikato River’s nine hydro-electric power stations.

Flow rates increase depending on power demands, which in turn can alter the height of the Huka Falls from 7 to 9.5 m.

  • Getting there: Huka Falls is just a five minute drive north of Taupō, off SH1 on Huka Falls Road.
    Spa Park to Huka Falls Walk
  • Time: 1 hr 30 min
  • Distance: 3 km
Huka Falls on the Waikato River near Taupo North, NZ
Huka Falls on the Waikato River near Taupo North, NZ

From the Spa car park walk five minutes down to the river’s edge where you’ll cross the Otumuheke Stream, a naturally hot stream which flows into the Waikato. The well-defined track then continues along the riverbank and offers lovely views along the way.

Return via the same track or arrange transport from Huka Falls carpark. For a longer walk, continue from Huka Falls along the Aratiatia Rapids Track.

This track is for walkers only, to mountain bike from Spa Park to Huka Falls take the Rotary Ride.
Getting there: For Spa Park, turn right off Tongariro Street into Spa Road at the northern end of Taupō, then left into County Avenue and drive into Spa Thermal Park.

Find out what you can do in Taupo in the Taupo Travel Guide and Turangi travel guide. Lake Taupo is a premier destination for New Zealand visitors with plenty of things to do.

 

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