Huka Falls, softly fierce
When I saw Huka Falls before the trip to New Zealand, I knew we had to go there. I have a thing for waterfalls and this one looked promising. However, it seemed like we wouldn’t have time for it.
After the challenges of Tongariro Alpine Crossing, the 19.4 km long hiking trail, we head back to Taupo. I don’t give up on the hope of seeing Huka Falls – we came from the other side of the world, let’s just do it!
Waikato River, the longest river in New Zealand, winds lazily in emerald green and blue until we are overwhelmed by a powerful roar. From serene, the river here becomes angry to give life to Huka Falls. We arrive before sunset when the sunlight is golden and there are only a few people around. The waterfall is small but majestic and it reflects the beautiful bluish color of the Waikato River. It’s too late for a cruise or a jet boat so we enjoy the scenery from the viewpoints.
We spend enough time absorbing the splendor and follow one of the scenic walking trails along the river back to Taupo. Soon we are amazed by the sight of the natural hot springs at Otumuheke Stream. Soaking is free and apparently hot.
Exhausted and starving after a long day, we enter the town and stumble upon a small bistro. My idea of a bistro is a casual place to savor a meal – until now. As we enter the place in our muddy hiking outfits and shoes, we quickly find out that the clientele wears elegant clothes and whispers softly over snacks and drinks. The menu promises a nearly fine dining experience. Right now resting our feet and filling up our stomachs are the only things that matter.
We realize that each of us has walked 40 km today. What a rewarding personal walking record!