Huka Falls

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Want water? Huka Falls delivers. 220,000 liters, 58,000 gallons per second. That is a lot of water all at once, and being there you feel it. It’s a rush of water, pounding and shaking, spilling out from a small canyon into a much larger and calmer crystal blue pool.

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The park built around it offers views from all sides, plenty of walking and sightseeing. It’s one of the most popular attractions in New Zealand and it was crowded even in the rain.

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The waterfall is surrounded on all sides by pure green, leafy and thick. It’s a shining sky-blue line cutting through the foliage, an absolutely striking feature of the landscape.

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Visiting is a meditative experience. The flow of water is mezmerizing and if you let it, it can completely entertain your eyeballs while your mind wanders free.

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The area is one of the best developed in terms of catering to visitors. The roads are easy to navigate and there are huge clean signs indicating parking and possible attractions. Since this is such a huge draw, many paid attractions have set up shop nearby.

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We didn’t see much in the way of affordable food there, so if you’re on a budget be sure to grab something in nearby Taupo, which is a natural launching pad for the falls. We had some fairly unremarkable fish ‘n’ chips, though Natalie did suffer from food poisoning afterwards. Not the best dining experience, maybe the noodles next door would have been a better choice. The town of Taupo itself is relaxing and affords lake-front activities of various sorts. We breezed through stopping only for food and a water refill. The town police are very friendly though, one of the officers helped us with the parking rules, which were a bit confusing.

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The most truly remarkable thing about these falls is the color. The world absolutely has higher falls, and ones with faster water. But Huka stands out in its concentrated ferocity and glacier-like colors, something I’d never seen before. It was a delightfully quick and absolutely worthwhile stop.

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