COVID-19 travel alert: New Zealand is currently at Alert Level 1. Learn more.

  1. Home
  2. Discover
  3. Highlights
  4. Waikato River

Waikato River

Born on the eastern slopes of Mt Ruapehu, the longest river in New Zealand drains Lake Taupo through Taupo town, blasts through a narrow rock chasm to create the Huka Falls, then winds more peacefully northwards towards Port Waikato, south of Auckland.

Otumuheke Stream has been used by local Maori for its therapeutic benefits for hundreds of years.

Mountain bike trails line the banks of the Waikato River.

Mountain bike trails line the banks of the Waikato River.

Almost 100km of Waikato River Trails and 34km of Huka Trails wind alongside the river, passing through native bush, exotic forest, historic landmarks, interesting rock formations, farmland, open reserves, boardwalks over significant wetlands, and expansive lake and river landscapes.

Along its length, nine hydro stations on river dams supply around 10 percent of New Zealand’s electricity.

Along its length, nine hydro stations on river dams supply around 10 percent of New Zealand’s electricity.

At the Aratiatia Dam near Taupo, gates are opened several times a day to thunderously flood the steep canyon of the Aratiatia Rapids with water. This is where the famous ‘dwarf barrel’ scene from the movie The Hobbit - The Desolation of Smaug was filmed.

The river is the subject of many traditional Māori stories.

The river is the subject of many traditional Māori stories.

The most famous Maori story is the Waikato taniwha rau, or Waikato of a Hundred Water-Monsters. This refers to the many enemy tribal chiefs who once lived along the waters’ edge, and their strength and importance to the district.

Getting to the Waikato River

The Waikato River drains from Lake Taupo at Taupo Boat Harbour. From here it winds it's way through the North Island of New Zealand to the sea at Port Waikato.

There are various walking and biking access points to the river and trails. If you are driving, Spa Park, Huka Falls and the Aratiatia Dam have carparks.

Waikato River, Taupo, New Zealand

Experience the Waikato River

Displaying 41 - 50 of 772
  • Health & beauty

    Envy Beauty and Nails

    ENVY Hair, Beauty & Nails is Taupō’s number one Hair Beauty & Nail Salon offering a wide range of services situated right in the heart of town centre Taupō. Locally owned ENVY is aligned perfectly with Taupō's slow pace and relaxed environment.

  • Takeaways & bakeries

    Fast and Fresh Bakery Cafe

    Fast & Fresh Bakery in Taupo is home to the best gourmet pie in New Zealand and many other award winning pies such as the venison, bacon, mushroom and cheese pie which won the 2017 NZ Bakels Supreme Pie Awards.

  • Fishing – Fresh Water

    Fishing Charters with LakeFun Taupo

    Great way to fish on Lake Taupo - Charter a private Fishing boat and catch the big one! Beautiful, comfortable boats, all weather boats.

    $10,000 Book now
  • Apartments

    Voyager Apartments Taupo

    Voyager Apartments Taupo offering 1,2 and 3 Bedroom Serviced and Unserviced Apartment accommodation for a night or for extended stays. All apartments are fully self contained with full kitchens and Laundry facilities and spacious living accommodation

    $199 - $799 Book now
  • Fashion & clothing

    Stirling Sports

    Where all the leading sports brands come to play! Stirling Sports is your home for the latest sportswear clothing, training shoes, sneakers and accessories.

  • Turangi shops

    Trev Terry Marine Turangi

    Trev Terry Marine Turangi has all your boating and water sports requirements.

  • Apartments

    300 Lake Terrace - C4

    This one bedroom modern apartment with an additional fold out queen sofa bed is just a stones throw from the shores of Lake Taupo.

    $130 - $300 Book now
  • Bird watching

    Adrift Tongariro Guided Whanganui Canoe Trips

    These tours are designed for an alternative to walking this region of New Zealand's National parks. Explore rugged terrain and lush native forrest.

    $295
  • Attractions

    Timberline Racing Siberian Huskies Kennel and Tours

    A unique opportunity to meet and learn about these beautiful dogs and see a live demonstration, have doggy cuddles and hear about their history.

    $30 - $35 Book now
  • Takeaways & bakeries

    Best Kebabs

    For great kebabs and other delights, you can't go past Best Kebabs.

Previous of 78 Next

Share your #LoveTaupo stories with us

Discover more highlights...

  • Scenic attractions

    Lake Taupo, New Zealand

    At the heart of New Zealand’s central volcanic plateau sits the largest freshwater lake in Australasia, Lake Taupo.

    More info 
  • Scenic attractions

    Tongariro River

    Flowing north from the snow-clad peaks of Tongariro National Park, through the picturesque town of Turangi, the pristine Tongariro River is one of the world’s best places to catch trout.

    More info 
  • Scenic attractions

    Huka Falls Taupo

    At Huka Falls nearly a quarter of a million litres of water per second erupts from a natural gorge and thunders 11m into the Waikato River below.

    More info 
  • Scenic attractions

    Geothermal

    Lying on a volcanic plateau above a vast underground lake of magma, Taupo is alive with astonishing geothermal activity.

    More info 
  1. Home
  2. Discover
  3. Highlights
  4. Waikato River