A few hundred metres upstream from the Huka Falls, the Waikato River narrows from roughly 100 metres across into a narrow canyon only 15 metres across. The canyon is carved into lake floor sediments laid down before Taupo's Oruanui eruption 26,500 years ago.
The volume of water flowing through often approaches 220,000 litres per second.
At the top of the falls is a set of small waterfalls dropping over about 8 metres. The most impressive, final stage of the falls (pictured here) is an 11 metre drop. The drop is technically six metres (cliff beneath the water) but the water flow raises the level to 11m.
The falls are a popular tourist attraction, being close to Taupo and readily accessible from State Highway One, although there are much higher waterfalls to be seen in the country. Hukafalls Jet takes tourists within a few meters of the base of the falls in their jetboats.
The falls were brought to national attention in February 1989 when the body of cricket umpire, Peter Plumley-Walker was found immediately downsteam, with wrists and ankles bound. The resulting investigation lifted the lid on the Auckland bondage scene and the news media had a field day. Dominatrix Renee Chignall was acquitted of his murder after three trials.