Grade : Easy
Spa Park to Huka Falls
Tour Duration – Allow 4 hour for return trip
Walking distance and time: 3km, 1 hour (one way), 6km, 2 hours (return trip)
Spa Park to Aratiatia Dam
Tour Duration: – Allow 5.5 to 6 hours
Walking distance and time: 10km, 3 to 3.5 hours
Spa Park to Huka Falls
You will meet us at our base in Acacia Bay, where we will set off by road to Spa Park to start the Rotary Track.
Enjoy a scenic walk along the banks of the Waikato River to Huka Falls, one of the most visited natural attractions in New Zealand. This is an easy hour and a half long walk suitable for the whole family.
We will begin our walk from Spa Park where you will have the option of a soak in the natural hot stream either at the start of or the end of your walk if you choose to return via the same track.
From here, the track winds along the Waikato River bank through light forest so you will be passing in and out of shade as you go. There are several undulating uphills and downhills along the terrain but it is never particularly steep or challenging. You will cross a few bluffs along the river to the mighty Huka Falls, with lovely views along the way.
Return via the same track or opt to walk another 2 hours further on to Aratiatia Dam
Note: Pick-up from Huka Falls is available if you do not want to walk back to start of track – but this must be advised at booking time so that we can organize a driver.
Huka Falls to Aratiatia Dam
The Aratiatia Walkway continues down the east bank of Waikato River to Aratiatia Dam, one of New Zealand’s many hydroelectric generators along the Waikato River.
The track starts with a climb onto the cliff tops with magnificent views of the river. It then gradually descends and continues along the river through lovely bush cover as far as the SH1 bridge. After passing under the bridge, and climbing to a lookout over the Wairakei power station, the track opens out to grass and regenerating bush until you reach Aratiatia.
Here you can watch tthousands of litres of water being released from the Aratiatia Dam, creating a spectacular flow of water through a narrow gorge. These are also the famous rapids used in the filming of the barrel escape scene in Peter Jackson’s movie, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.
We will try to finish the walk when the Aratiatia spill gates are due to open at 12 (noon) or 2pm with an extra opening at 4pm in the summer months.
Pick-up from Aratiatia Dam.
- Professional guide
- History and cultural values of the area
- Snacks and refreshments (Spa Park to Huka Fall tour)
- Packed lunch and refreshments (Spa Park to Aratiatia Dam tour)
- DOC (Department of Conservation) fee
- Transport to and from tracks – from our base. On request only (if you do not have your own transport) pick-up is available from Taupo CBD. Please call or email to arrange.