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Waikato River
Waikato River

Waikato River

Free admission
6 Main Street, Taupo, New Zealand

The Basics

The Waikato River funnels through a canyon to form Huka Falls. Jet boat and helicopter tours zip toward the base of the falls for an up-close view of their fury. The area downstream is popular for fly-fishing, boating, and canoeing. A gentle river cruise or kayak/rafting excursion on tranquil waters is an ideal choice for families or beginning paddlers and may include an opportunity to soak in thermal pools.

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Things to Know Before You Go

  • No experience is necessary on guided kayak trips, as paddling instruction is provided.

  • Use sunscreen, and wear clothing and shoes appropriate for getting wet.

  • Bring a towel and swimwear for dipping into the river or thermal springs.

  • Children must be accompanied by an adult; minimum ages may apply.

  • The Huka Falls footbridge is accessible for wheelchairs and strollers.

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How to Get There

The most popular places to access the Waikato River for white-water kayaking and rafting are between Taupo and Turangi, whereas rowing, fishing, and flat-water kayaking are popular near Hamilton and Cambridge. Huka Falls is easily reached by public bus from Taniwha Street in downtown Taupo. It’s a 10-minute drive via the Thermal Explorer Highway and Huka Falls Road. Parking on-site fills quickly in the high season.

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When to Get There

Most rafting and jet boat excursions operate year-round; some offer morning or afternoon departures to suit your schedule. Arrive early for a safety briefing and to ensure plenty of time to gear up. Jet boats typically have heated handrails, and spray jackets are provided in cooler months.

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Where to View the Raging Waters

To the north of Lake Taupo, the Waikato River famously spills through the Aratiatia Rapids: a dam-controlled section where water is released to create a turbulent white torrent. A hiking trail connects Huka Falls with the Aratiatia Rapids, connecting two of Taupo’s best places to feel the Waikato’s natural power.

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Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
Q:
What are the nearest attractions to Waikato River?
Q:
What else should I know about attractions in Taupo?
A:
As well as visiting the Waikato River, check out these trip ideas to make the most of your visit: