Huka Falls, New Zealand

The Huka Falls are the largest falls on the Waikato River, near Taupo on New Zealand's North Island.
They are the most visited natural attraction in New Zealand!
The Waikato river is one of New Zealand's longest rivers and it drains Lake Taupo - the largest freshwater lake in all of Australasia.



Huka Jet at Huka Falls
The Huka Jet at Huka Falls
Photo by Huka Jet, used with permission from newzealand.com.

At the Huka Falls, the Waikato River which is normally 100m wide, is squeezed through a 20 metre wide gorge and over a 20m drop.
Every second up to 220,000 litres of water gushes through the gorge and shoots out over 8 metres beyond to create a beautful blue/green pool.

The name Huka is the Maori word for 'foam', which is appropriate as the falling water and rapids certainly resembles foam, especially under flooding conditions.

What causes the Huka Falls?

The Waikato River, normally up to 100 metres wide, abruptly narrows to just 15 metres as it crosses a hard volcanic ledge. This of course causes a huge volume of water to collide together, forming a spectacular visual feast of powerful falls and rapids.

Around 220,000 litres per second of pours over the cliff face, and then rushes under a pedestrian bridge (great photo opportunity here!) The water then bursts out of its rapids, over the 11 metre falls, and back into the Waikato River.

Huka Falls is located in Wairakei Park. This is only a short 5 minute drive north of Lake Taupo. Or you can choose the 30 minute riverside walk as a way to get to the several viewing platforms that are available.
Here you will see one of the great natural wonders of the world in action!