An undulating meander along the banks of New Zealand’s mightiest river - the Waikato. Passing a natural hot spring, spying on New Zealand’s most expensive luxury lodge, and ending at Huka Falls.
From Taupo centre at the roundabout near the Control Gates of the Waikato River, head uphill on Spa Road. After 1.6 km Spa Thermal Park is signposted on the left. Head to the carpark at the road end, where signs with the track layout direct you down to the river.
Pass the footbridge over Otumuheke Stream and the thermal pools - the perfect tonic for the return. Following the banks of the Waikato River, there are lookouts and the odd bench.
The track undulates through pines, and scrub. There are some fine river views on the way to Huka Falls.
Return via the same track.
Otumuheke Thermal Pools are natural hot springs by the river. Well used, including by Bogans who leave broken glass bottles about - so be careful.
The Waikato River New Zealand’s longest, with a catchment covering 14,260 square km (12% of the area of the North Island). From beginnings on the flanks of the volcanoes, it flows into Lake Taupo, where it’s discharge is controlled by a dam.
The river then cuts through the volcanic plateau, passing through eight hydro electric dams, and onto the lowlands from Cambridge to Mercer.
The river finally flows into the Tasman Sea at Port Waikato after a journey of 425 km from Lake Taupo.
The Waikato River is a tupuna (ancestor), a taonga (treasure), and the mauri (life force) of Tainui Waka and Ngati Tuwharetoa.
The Waikato River is considered a tupuna (ancestor), a taonga (treasure), and the mauri (life force) of Tainui Waka and Ngati Tuwharetoa.
The Waikato Power Scheme generates 1450 MW of hydroelectric power.
North Island ▷ Taupo Region ▷ Taupo
Showing 13 reviews of 115.
21Sept18. After a walk around town we decided to walk to the falls from Spa Park. It was a very warm day for spring and we bailed out before getting there. The walk was good and the hot springs were well attended by mostly younger people.
We went to the falls the following day. As good as last time. A sight to see.
Beautiful arctic blue water! The hike was less than the 15 minute sign but it is at an incline the way back to parking lot.
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After watching the Huka Falls, walk to Spa Park, really cool spot! Nice way to walk.
The amount of water is quite impressive and a little scary :) don't fall in! It is a little more impressive than the dam rapids, that was good too and both are worth stopping at.
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Coolest waterfall I have ever seen. Thermal baths were pretty nice, walk next to the river was awesome too, because of the clear and colourful water.
Michel and Susanne
Close parking space next to the track. Clean track. Great nature sometimes I think there are not enough trash bins. That is something that you maybe can improve for the future.
A very nice 1.5 hour walk with an amazing view. At the end you can jump in the thermal hot pools to rejuvenate.
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Fantastic walk along the Waikato River. The thermal park is 100% worth a swim and the falls are good.
Absolutely stunning walk the whole way. Water is emerald green, hot spring on route to stop off for a dip. Would definitely recommend!
After a nice bush walk you reach the Huka Falls. Heading back you can stop at the free thermal pool.
Free hot springs! Excellent activity, although can imagine it gets busy in peak season, it was perfect in should season.
Lovely waterfall with viewing bridge. Good opportunity to take photos. Long, steep walk to the hot springs which were a bit disappointing as they were so crowded.
Lovely walk with some pretty views. The hot and cold pools at one end and the Huka Falls at the other end make for an entertaining walk.
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