Only a few kilometres from its birth in Lake Taupo, New Zealand’s longest river funnels into a narrow chasm. The 100 metre wide Waikato River is forced into a narrow 15 metre channel causing a bubbling maelstrom of spray, water and whirlpools before cannoning over a nine metre rock ledge.
Around 200,000 litres (53,000 US gallons) of seething waters, enough to fill five Olympic swimming pools gush over Huka Falls every second before reverting into the calm waters of the Waikato as the river again gradually widens. From a pedestrian footbridge, visitors can view where the landscape turns the sedate emerald green Waikato into the torrent that the Maori term hukanui or river of foam.
Jetboats, so suited to the shallow rapids of the New Zealand rivers drive near to the foot of the falls drenching their passengers and providing a stellar vista of these majestic waters.
Sometimes over-ambitiously described as New Zealand’s Niagara, Huka Falls is a visual feast of spray and bubbling waters bouncing off canyon walls and is a far more spectacular waterfall than its modest heights would ever indicate.