Huka Falls Walk: Taupo, New Zealand

huka falls walk

Considered one of the most visited natural attractions in New Zealand, Huka Falls and indeed the Huka Falls Walk is a must if you’re visiting Taupo.

Part of the mighty Waikato River, the Huka Falls is a body of intense clear water that emits a blue colour that is a result of the reflecting light and the air bubbles within.

The Huka Falls Walk itself is just short of 8km when done as a return walk but could easily be done as a one-way walk with a car shuffle involved from either the Spa Thermal car park or Huka Falls car park.

For the purpose of this blog, I started at the Spa Thermal car park and walked it as a return walk.

It’s a reasonably busy car park but not nearly as busy as the Huka Falls car park at the other end as most people who visit the falls will do so without doing the actual walk.

huka falls walk

Once you start wandering through the initial part of the walk, you come across the Otumuheke Stream which flows into the Waikato but has a small thermal pool which is free to use at any time.

It’s a really nice spot and something completely different from what you might typically find in a local park anywhere else.

Now, don’t make the same mistake I made when passing the Otumuheke Stream as I started walking left instead of right and momentarily ended up on an overgrown path.

A quick backtrack and clearly reading the signs was all that was required and I was on my way following the Waikato River to the Huka Falls bridge.

With an elevation loss and gain of 138m overall, the gravel path is undulating as you make your way to the falls.

I also get the sense that this is a popular spot for locals for their morning walks as plenty of people were getting about wearing gym gear or walking their dogs.

But it’s not hard to see why though as it’s a pretty scenic place to go for a walk.

Along the way, you’ll get a few opportunities to overlook the river where it’s much calmer before you arrive at the fierce Huka Falls.

There’s also a couple of spots where you can stick your feet in the river which would be especially relaxing on a hot day.

huka falls walk

How Was Huka Falls Created?

After a short while wandering the path, you’ll finally arrive at Huka Falls where hopefully you won’t have to deal with to big of a crowd.

The falls themselves were created by water that has continually flowed through a wide riverbed along the Waikato that is around 100 metres wide and four metres deep.

From there it is confined into a narrow river section – Huka Falls – about 15 metres wide and 10 metres deep.

To give you an idea of the flow of the falls, it fluctuates between 32 and 270 cubic metres per second with an average daily flow of 160 cubic metres per second.

In short, there is plenty of water flowing fairly quickly through the narrow confines of Huka Falls.

If the Huka Falls Walk really isn’t your thing, but you’re still keen on seeing the falls, you can do so via the Huka Falls Jetboat where it will take you to the base of the falls.

huka falls walk

When it comes to photography, the two best spots are on the overpass bridge and a little further downstream looking back at the bridge.

It’s also a perfect spot to use the long exposure trick with your iPhone that I blogged about a while back.

The Huka Falls Walk is a relatively easy-to-follow track with a stunning, natural body of water waiting for you at the half-way point.

The fact that plenty of people walk the track or visit the falls only suggests that this a Taupo attraction suitable for everyone.

Furthermore, as there’s only so much hiking you can do in Taupo, it’s little wonder that plenty of people choose this as a spot to go for a wander.

If you’re keen to download and follow our recorded track of the Huka Falls Walk, you can do so via our WikiLoc account here.

The Stats – Huka Falls Walk

Length (km): 7.74kms (according to WikiLoc)
Time: 1hr 34mins
Moving Time: 1hr 17mins
Difficulty: Easy (Grade 3)
Maximum Elevation: 389m
Accum. elev. uphill: 138m
Accum. elev. downhill: 138m
Return/Loop/One Way: Return or One Way

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