Huka Falls

Huka Falls Travel Blog

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Waikato River below Huka Falls -- can you believe the tourquoise color?

Our next stop of the day was at Huka Falls.  Huka means "foam" in Maori -- and it is an appropriate name for this waterfall on the Waikato River.  The falls are where Lake Taupo drains into the Waikato River, the longest river in New Zealand.  Lake Taupo is the largest fresh water lake in Australasia.  The river is normally 100 meters wide, but at the falls, it is squeezed to less than 20 meters wide.  The volume of water coming through this point is amazing -- it is enough to fill 2 olympic sized swimming pools every second!  It is an amazing sight -- I have never seen water so tourquoise in color, and my photos barely do it justice.

Huka Jet Boat in the Foam
 

We stopped at an overlook area to check out the falls.  They have a bridge in the overlook area that you can walk out onto and check out the falls from a very clear vantage point.  It's a great place for a photo opportunity.  You can also check out the jet boats that are available for thrill seekers at this site.

Very near the falls in the Wairakei Tourist Park is the Huka Jet location where you can take an amazing jet boat ride right up to the edge of the falls that will give you one of the biggest surges of adrenalin you can imagine!  The jet boats are powered by a 502 cubic inch/8.2 litre Chevrolet V8 engine that runs on propane.  Instead of using a propeller, the boats are propelled by a jet of water that blasts out of the back of the boat with great force -- it thrusts over 380 litres of water per second through the jet!   The drivers of the boats are fantastic.

Me at Huka Falls
  They undergo a rigorous training (over 120 hours) before they are allowed to pilot the craft.  In my experience, they are also dramatic hams that love to perform for and joke with the passengers.

The boats are owned by a Maori company that does this here and on the Shotover River on the South Island near Queenstown.  Both are amazing rides.  More on the Shotover River jet boat ride when we get to the South Island later in the trip. 

I talked Mom and Dad into riding the jet boat with me, which was no mean feat with my Mom.  My Dad sat at the side of the boat, Mom next and then me in the middle next to two other passengers.  The ride was wild -- fast and furious with lots of close calls near rocks, logs, cliffs and trees.

Calm before the storm
  We did lots of 360 degree turns that left all of us very wet, particularly my Dad!  We got so close to the Huka Falls -- it was amazing.  So glad the jets are powerful enough to keep you out of the spillway!  It's definitely an adventure not to be missed. 

From Huka Falls, we went on to Taupo.  We stayed at the Clearwater Motor Lodge, a place recommended by friends of mine back in Austin.  They stay here every year when he comes to New Zealand to do the Iron Man race competition at Lake Taupo.   We had a nice "family style" room with two bedrooms and a nice living room area.  We did a quick soak in the Lodge's hot tub to warm up after our jet boat adventure, and then went over to the Copthorne for dinner at the Edgewater Grille.  I had a rack of lamb that was out of this world.

Dad took a face full of water on the last turn!
  My Dad had New Zealand venison (deer meat) with a sauce made with chocolate, and he loved it.  Mom had snapper, and said it was delicious as well.  It may have been all the fresh air and activities of the day, but the food really hit the spot!  Oh, and I had a great creme brulee here -- with one of the thickest, hardest carmelized sugar coatings ever.  It was work, but really good.   

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Waikato River below Huka Falls -- …
Waikato River below Huka Falls --…
Huka Jet Boat in the Foam
Huka Jet Boat in the Foam
Me at Huka Falls
Me at Huka Falls
Calm before the storm
Calm before the storm
Dad took a face full of water on t…
Dad took a face full of water on …
Dad and Mom on the walkway over th…
Dad and Mom on the walkway over t…
Along the Waikato
Along the Waikato
Waikato River
Waikato River
Huka means Foam in Maori -- you …
Huka means "Foam" in Maori -- you…
Huka Falls pic taken from the Jet …
Huka Falls pic taken from the Jet…
Dry photo taken right before the H…
Dry photo taken right before the …
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Our Jet Boat Captain
Our Jet Boat Captain
Brian, our jet boat captain
Brian, our jet boat captain
Huka Falls from the Huka Jet
Huka Falls from the Huka Jet
Spillway along Lake Taupo outflow
Spillway along Lake Taupo outflow
More Foam
More Foam
Huka Jet Boat nears Huka Falls
Huka Jet Boat nears Huka Falls
Huka Falls
Huka Falls
Turning in the Foam
Turning in the Foam
Post Jet Boat Shot -- we were soak…
Post Jet Boat Shot -- we were soa…
Huka Falls Sights & Attractions review
Jet Boating at Huka Falls
For an adrenalin shot and the best water ride you can find, check out the Huka Jet boats at Huka Falls near Taupo, New Zealand. The boats are powered… read entire review
Huka Falls
photo by: Morle