Torrents of Water at Huka Falls in New Zealand
With winds predicted between 85-95 kilometres/hour on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing in New Zealand, our plans for the day were dashed. The pass was deemed too dangerous to allow access to hikers, so Bob and I resorted to our alternate plan. We drove back to Huka Falls in Wairakei Park.
It was drizzling rain when we arrived and, having recently embarked on an excursion by boat to the White Egret Colony, we weren’t sure if a jet boat ride up the Waikato River to the Falls was necessary.
The Waikato River, New Zealand’s longest river, moves gracefully north from Lake Taupo between banks 100 metres apart.
Just before the Huka Falls, it enters a shallow ravine of hard volcanic rock.
Huka Falls occurs where the Waikato River is channeled through a narrow rock chute before hurtling over an 11-metre bluff to a foaming cauldron below.
The falls were most impressive. Huka Falls gets its name from the Maōri word pahuka which means foam. After plunging over the precipice, the water picks up masses of tumbling air bubbles that create breathtaking colours and frothy foam.
Over 200,000 litres of water per second tumble over the sheer drop creating a very noisy and forceful waterfall. It was deafening and downright intimidating!
Upon witnessing the powerful flow of water, it was easy to understand how the upstream migration of trout and other native species would be impossible. That is why there are no eels in Lake Taupo.
If a person is brave enough, there is a footbridge across the raging river right at the top of the Huka Falls. Not for the feint of heart, the bridge provides a prime position to witness the frightening display.
Bob and I opted to walk a trail through the lush rainforest alongside the stretch of Waikato River above Huka Falls.
There was no escaping the thunder of the galloping torrents of water a little further downstream although we did find some calmer sections tucked in near the riverbank.
After an hour and a half being duly captivated with the spectacle at Huka Falls, we decided to drive up to Tongariro National Park to get information about the potential for doing a hike the following morning. Our morning was well spent!
Frame To Frame – Bob and Jean