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The Waikato River, New Zealand's longest river, moves gracefully north from Lake Taupo between banks 100 metres apart. Just before the Huka Falls it enters a shallow ravine of hard volcanic rock. The effect is nature's large-scale equivalent of a fire hose feeding into a very fine nozzle.
The previously placid waters roar and rumble at great speed along the ravine before bursting into space out over Huka Falls to crash into the turbulent pool 11 metres below. A foot bridge right at the top of the falls puts you in a prime position to get up close and witness the frightening display of more than 220,000 litres of water blasting by every second. If you'd like to see the power and fury of the falls up close, try a jet boat ride.
To follow the build up to the falls you can hike the Spa Park to Huka Falls trail, an easy one hour walk that begins where the river is still lazy and wide. Passing through exotic and native forests, the track emerges again alongside the river and the roar of the falls grows louder at every turn. Around the falls there are several great vantage points from which to enjoy their full splendour and capture some very impressive photographs.
The Huka Falls car park is about 1.6 kilometres north of Taupo. A bus from Taupo passes several times a day on a circuit of the local attractions.