IntroductionTake 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.
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 powerstations.
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
This walking track allows you to walk rather than drive to the Huka Falls from Taupō. It's a pleasant walk for the whole family, starting from Spa Park and winding along the banks of the Waikato River.
From the 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.
The car park is locked overnight from 6:00 pm - 8:30 am. A $30 release fee applies outside these hours.
Take great care if you plan to swim in the Waikato River – the river is deep and fast flowing.
If you plan to enjoy the water, learn how to stay safe when swimming, boating and fishing.