The Huka Falls are the largest falls on the Waikato River, near Taupo on New Zealand's North Island. It is the most visited waterfall, and one of the most visited natural attractions in New Zealand!
The Waikato River is NZ's longest river - it stretches a massive 425km on the North Island. The river drains Lake Taupo - the largest freshwater lake in all of Australasia - and from there it descends to the Huka Falls, then meanders through the Waikato Plains until it reaches the Tasman Sea.
At the Huka Falls, the Waikato River which is normally 100m wide, is squeezed through a 20 metre wide gorge and over an 11m drop.
Up to 220,000 litres of water each second gushes through the gorge and shoots out over 8m beyond it to create a beautful aqua coloured white water 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.
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!
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