Narrow chasm leading in the Huka falls on the Waikato River, Taupo, North Island, New Zealand, Pacific

Getty Images/Robert Harding World Imagery

The Waikato, New Zealand’s longest river, squeezes through a narrow chasm at Huka Falls, making the dramatic 11m drop into a surging crystal-blue whirlpool at a rate of 220,000L per second. 

You can experience the full force of this torrent, which the Māori called Hukanui (Great Body of Spray), from the footbridge straddling the falls. Walking tracks run along both banks.

Walk

The Huka Falls Walkway heads back towards town and the Spa Thermal Park, while the Huka Falls to Aratiatia Rapids track goes 7km downstream to the rapids. On sunny days the water is crystal clear and you can take great photographs from the lookout on the other side of the footbridge.

Jet boats

There are multiple ways to see the falls on a tour. An adenaline-pumping jet-boat tour will take you to the base of Huka Falls where you’ll feel the spray on your face. For a more relaxed experience, book a Huka Falls river cruise for a cup of tea with your views. Alternatively, take a helicopter tour of the Taupo region and get a birds-eye view of this spectacular natural phenomenon instead. 

Huka Falls deaths 

This is a treacherous body of water with a very high-pressure and extremely dangerous waterfall. There have unfortunately been a number of drownings here over the years, so locals stress that it is a tourist attraction for viewing only. Do not enter the falls. We repeat: do not enter the falls.