Spa Park – Huka Falls Walkway is a two hour return walk that follows the Waikato River to the Huka Falls.
The walk starts at Spa Thermal Park, which is at the end of County Ave (off Spa Road). Gates are locked between 8pm and 7am. At 41 hectares the park is one of Taupo’s largest parks. There is an excellent children’s playground onsite.
It’s approximately a five minute walk across Spa Park to the start of the track.
It is a 2.6 km easy track that is approximately 50 minutes one way to Huka Falls. Cyclists are not permitted on the Spa Park to Huka Falls walkway. Cyclists are recommended to take the Rotary Ride track.
Near the start of the track is a bridge that crosses Otumuheke Stream, a natural hot stream that follows into the Waikato River. Residents and visitors visit to soak in the natural hot pool.
The walk follows the Waikato River offering views of Reid’s Farm Recreation Reserve and Huka Lodge. Two very different forms of accommodation – Reid’s Farm, a free camping site and Huka Lodge, a luxurious lodge that attracts royalty and movie stars.
The Waikato River is New Zealand’s longest river running 425 km through the North Island. It drains at the north eastern edge of Lake Taupo, later creating the Huka Falls and then flowing northeast across the Waikato plains and draining into the Tasman Sea at Port Waikato.
The Huka Falls is formed when the Waikato River, which is normally up to 100 metres wide, narrows to just 15 metres causing a large volume of water to collide as it passes through a narrow gorge of hard volcanic rock. Approximately 220,000 litres of water passes per second creating an impressive waterfall.
The word Huka means foam in Māori – you can see where it got its name from when you see the falls.