Huka Falls is a place every outdoor lover should experience on a trip to Lake Taupo! This three hour trail will take you along the Waikato River to see the powerful Huka Falls, and ends back at the gorgeous Otumuheke Hot Springs. Here’s everything you need to know about the Taupo to Huka Falls walk, and even the jet boat you can take there as well!
Taupo to Huka Falls Walk
Distance: 6.6 Km / 4.1 Miles Round Trip
Time Needed: 2+ Hours
Start: Spa Thermal Park
Starting at the Spa Thermal Park just outside of Taupo is the Huka Falls walkway. This 2-3 hour round trip stroll will take you along the Waikato River all the way to the raging Huka Falls.
While there are some small hills, the Huka Falls walk is great for people of all ages and families. However, if you’re short on time or not up for the walk you can also drive there directly.
Huka Falls Jet
For a one of a kind experience make sure to check out the Huka Falls Jet boat! This 30 minute ride will take you straight up the Waikato River at speeds of over 80 km/hour.
The last stop before turning back to Lake Taupo is cruising right up to Huka Falls. Even if you’re doing the Taupo to Huka Falls Walk, this is an experience no traveler should miss out on!
Biking From Taupo to Huka Falls
We really enjoyed our walk from Taupo to Huka Falls, but you should know there’s also a bicycle trail! Taupo itself is a go-to destination in New Zealand for outdoor enthusiasts and the bicycling here is considered some of the best.
Note that a lot of the biking trails in New Zealand are more advanced. If you don’t have much experience mountain biking back home you may want to do a group ride or stick to walking from Taupo to Huka Falls.
Experiencing the Mighty Huka Falls
From the Spa Thermal park we recommend walking past the Otumuheke Hot Springs and the river swimming spots. It’s better to save those for the way back. After an hour and a half stroll along the river you’ll find yourself at the tremendous Huka Falls.
It may not be as tall as other waterfalls in New Zealand… Yet, what it lacks in height it makes up for in sheer power! Believe it not, around 200,000 liters of water flow over Huka Falls every second. Once you step over the bridge and see how fast the Waikato River is moving you’ll understand how this is possible!
Huka Falls Travel Tip: Huka Falls is one of the most popular tourist destinations in all of New Zealand. Make sure to arrive early if you want to beat the tour buses and crowds.
5 Facts About the Waikato River
1. The Waikato River is the longest in New Zealand, and runs for 264 miles (425 kilometers) through the north island.
2. It begins in Lake Taupo, flowing all the way to the Tasman Sea at Port Waikato. The modern day path of the river was formed by a volcanic eruption almost 2,000 years ago.
3. Along the course of the river water passes through 8 hydro electric damns. It is said that the Waikato generates around 13% of all of New Zealand’s electricity.
4. The river is home to several species of fish, and the abundance of trout makes New Zealand a premier destination for fly fishing.
5. Waikato comes from the Maori language translating to “flowing water.” Several ancient Maori tribes have been living along the river, and using it as a life source for hundreds of years.
Continuing the Taupo to Huka Falls Walk
If the three hour return walk from Huka Falls isn’t enough for you then continue up the Waikato River. The trail goes for another hour and half and is another 7 kilometers to the Aratiatia Rapids.
Remember that the Taupo to Huka Falls walk and distance is more common for mountain bikers. Still, the walk from the Spa Thermal Park in Taupo to Huka Falls is the most beautiful stretch and makes for a great time!
Swimming in the Waikato River
On your return hike be sure to slow down and soak in the exotic plants, nature, and some great swimming spots. Taking a dip in the Waikato River was one of our favorite parts of this walking trail! As you get closer to the Otumuheke Hot Springs you’ll start seeing small outlets along the water.
Here you’ll find all kinds of rocks to jump off, trees to lay under, and other hang outs to enjoy. After walking from Taupo to Huka Falls along the clear blue river you’ll be dying to jump in… Especially on a hot New Zealand summer day!
Otumuheke Hot Springs
If you’re a thermal lover like us the Huka Falls walk saves the very best for last! Back at the start of your hike is the Otumuheke Hot Springs which you will have passed on the way in.
The hot pools will greet you as you finish your walk with one sitting above the other, and then flowing back into the Waikato River. After a good warm soak in the Otumuheke Hot Springs, you can walk straight out to the cold water for a rinse and cool down to end your day.
Where To Stay In Lake Taupo
Ultra Luxury – Serenity On Wakeman – Positioned perfectly on the water, this fantastic hotel has everything you’ll need for an upscale stay in Taupo. Enjoy stunning views from your private balcony, a delicious breakfast, and all the amenities you’d expect in lakefront luxury.
Fun Vacation – Acacia Lake View Motel – This comfy motel is located just a short walk from town and is directly across the street from Lake Taupo. Offering apartment and hotel style units, the Acacia Lake View is a great spot for both families and couples.
Travel Couple – Taupo Debretts Spa Resort – Ready for some more hot spring thermal baths? With your stay at Taupo Debretts Spa Resort you’ll be able to enjoy them any time of the day. This fun resort has many other spa treatments available, is just a quick drive from town, and has a range of room options.
Hostel Life – YHA Taupo Finlay Jack’s Backpackers – Located walking distance to the lake, bars, Huka Falls Jet, and famous Taupo Bungy jump. This Taupo hostel offers both private rooms and dorm beds.
For more places to stay in Lake Taupo you can explore the latest prices here!Have any questions about the Huka Falls Jet or want to share your own experience visiting Huka Falls in Taupo? Let us know in the comments below!
Brigitte & Jake
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