Long regarded as one of the world’s most revered and inspirational luxury accommodations, Huka Lodge is set among established gardens along the banks of the surging Waikato River near Lake Taupō on New Zealand’s North Island.
With humble beginnings nearly a century ago as a fishermen’s camp made famous for its trout-rich waters and featuring white canvas tents along the river’s edge, today Huka Lodge has secured its place as one of the country’s oldest and celebrated luxury lodge with an impressive heritage, welcoming some of the world’s most influential guests to the region.
Bordered by rolling green lawns along the banks of the Waikato River and just upstream from the dramatic Huka Falls, Huka Lodge is regarded as the founder of luxury lodges.
Styled in the manner of a grand estate, Huka comprises a central lodge with restaurant and terraces surrounded by verdant established gardens studded with exclusive dining nooks.
Fine dining champions premium local produce complemented by a formidable list of the world’s finest wines. Twenty opulent guest suites and two private Owners’ Residences invite with king beds and palatial baths and open to mesmerising views of the ever-changing waterway.
A stay with Baillie Lodges is to experience the luxury of travel. Each Baillie property is located in an extraordinary natural destination, with a personal experience of its culture and history, its art and natural heritage and local food and wine sourced from regional producers.
Together, the luxury lodges are timeless in design, with myriad thoughtful details combining to create a genuinely warm welcome, a generosity of spirit. Guest itineraries are designed to offer the most from each stay, creating a personal, lasting connection with the destination.
In 1924 Irishman Alan Pye founded Huka Lodge as a fishermen’s camp with a gathering of white canvas tents lining the banks of the trout-rich Waikato River.
Nearly a century later, Huka Lodge is one of the world’s most celebrated luxury lodges, welcoming distinguished guests and a reputation for providing outstanding hospitality in an idyllic setting.
In 1984, Alex van Heeren purchased Huka Lodge and engaged New Zealand-based designer Virginia Fisher to create the opulent interior style for the property’s main lodge and guest suites and to complement its extraordinary natural location.
Outside, Suzanne Turley was engaged as the property’s landscape designer, creating gardens to complement both the lodge’s design and the natural environment.
The Huka Lodge guest list is a veritable who’s who of the past century’s best–known celebrities and world-recognised figures, while it‘s steadfastly on the must-do list for many future guests.
Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth II has famously visited Huka Lodge with its grounds and surrounds reminiscent of Scotland four times over the course of her reign – often in the company of her late husband the Duke of Edinburgh – where the pair had a preferred, special seat for dining.
Twenty Junior Lodge guest suites and two exclusive multi-bedroom owners’ residences, the Alan Pye and Alex van Heeren Cottages, dot the 17-acre Huka Lodge parkland, each privately set and opening onto verdant views of the gardens and beyond to the flowing, deep turquoise Waikato River.
Ideal for house parties, the two owners’ cottages are designed to provide the ultimate Huka Lodge hospitality experience. The Alex van Heeren Cottage, and its companion the Alan Pye Cottage are both perfect venues for exclusive gatherings for family and friends.
Here, guests enjoy the best of both worlds: a private self-contained residence with access to all the Huka Lodge luxuries.
Alex van Heeren Cottage
Set on a sunny private bluff along the banks of the Waikato River, the four-bedroom Alex van Heeren Cottage offers a secluded retreat with views downstream towards the thundering Huka Falls.
Generous lounging and dining rooms open on both sides with floor-to-ceiling glass doors onto the terrace and private garden courtyard, creating a large, open plan in and outdoor living area.
High ceilings and an open fireplace complement generous lounges and large dining table, perfect for occasions with family and friends. Outside, a private courtyard is warmed by fireplace, and the river-facing terrace is a private suntrap, home also to a plunge pool and spa.
Four bedrooms each with kings bed, premium linens, fireplace and ensuite bathroom make the Alex van Heeren Cottage the ultimate location for a get together with family and friends.
Two bedrooms open to views of the Waikato River as it descends towards the Huka Falls, and two open to the private courtyard. Each bedroom features a fireplace, dressing room and opulent ensuite bathroom with deep baths and premium spa amenities.
Junior Lodge Suite
True retreats in every sense, the Junior Lodge Suites at Huka Lodge each open on to the Waikato River and are designed to offer personalised luxury and a harmonious flow with the spectacular natural landscape outside.
Designed to welcome the natural beauty of the landscape inside, the open-plan lounge offers guests a serene place to contemplate the ever-changing waterway, with French doors opening onto outdoor terraces and rolling green lawns. Guests are spellbound by views of the deep, hypnotic waters of the Waikato River beyond.
Dining at Huka Lodge is at the heart of the tradition of generous hospitality for which the lodge is world-renowned. Showcasing New Zealand’s finest, often sustainably produced ingredients and complemented by a magnificent selection of wine, the menus at Huka Lodge are daily changing and reflect the seasons and the environment outdoors.
Dining can be enjoyed in the sumptuous surrounds of the main lodge or experienced in one of the lodges unique dining locations dotted around the property, from the Wine Cellar to the Orchard or Jetty Pavilion.
A hearty country-style breakfast set up in the main lodge at Huka is a wonderful start to the day, whether it’s planned as full of adventures or for relaxing in the gardens by the Waikato River.
Guests can look forward to fresh eggs, free range bacon and local tomatoes, mushrooms and greens, along with fresh juices, steaming pots of loose-leaf tea and espresso coffee.
A light à la carte lunch menu is available at Huka Lodge and may be enjoyed fireside in the main lodge or on the sun-drenched terrace overlooking the gardens and Waikato River. Local organic and free-range produce including chicken and beef are complemented by fresh greens, lodge baked bread and fine wines.
When Chef Paul Froggatt took the helm in the kitchen at Huka Lodge in 2013, he brought a classical European influence from years of training and experience, with foundations steeped in traditional, fine hospitality.
Dinner starts with a relaxed drink in the lounge, and proceeds to a finely balanced five-course menu bringing fresh local flavours to the plate. Guests can look forward to regional delights like Te Matuku oysters, Matangi Beef, Mount Cook Alpine Salmon and Southland lamb on the daily-changing menu.
A toast to Taupō
Begin the day with an espresso or pot of expertly brewed leaf tea, or enjoy fresh drinking water drawn from the Waikato River.
As the day progresses, world class wines, premium spirits and local beers are on offer, and as the dusk draws in and fires are lit French Champagne or a fine whiskey are enjoyed in traditional lodging style.
The bar at Huka Lodge is stocked with premium spirits – many of them locally distilled small-batch labels – perfect for the base of a range of cocktails and mixed drinks. A fresh gin and tonic marks the start of an enjoyable evening, while a fine scotch served over ice may be best enjoyed fireside.
A vast underground labyrinth housing some 4500 bottles of wine, the Wine Cellar at Huka Lodge is an attraction in itself, prompting some dedicated time to peruse its collection of fine vintages. The wine cellar is also a wonderful venue for private or special occasion dinners for two or up to ten guests.
After a delicately balanced five-course dinner, many guests retire to the bar or lounge to enjoy a digestif or nightcap. The friendly team at the bar is always ready to help with a drink, with a selection of premium liqueurs, spirits and hot beverages available.
The Huka Lodge dining experience is orchestrated by Executive Chef Paul Froggatt, who has been at the helm of the culinary team at the luxury lodge since 2013.
A note visible to all who enter the kitchen explains his mantra: “The tradition is a perpetual motion. It advances, it changes, it lives”. For nearly a century, the kitchen has delighted guests who first came to catch trout in the luminescent blue-green Waikato River.
Guests now come from around the world to experience the culinary legacy led by Chef Froggatt. With his classical European training, the UK-born connoisseur brings a refreshing blend of tradition and locally produced organic, free-range, natural ingredients to its daily-changing menus.
Paul chooses to work with premium New Zealand producers who share the Huka Lodge commitment to sustainability.
A stay in the spectacular parklike surrounds of Huka Lodge at Taupō, places guests at the doorstep to a host of wonderful experiences of the destination, from the traditional fly fishing on the banks of the Waikato River to hiking, luxury cruising, golfing and more.
Of course, the luxurious setting at Huka Lodge invites leisurely pursuits onsite, including tennis, pétanque and croquet, while the option to read a book on the riverbank, wander the garden paths or enjoy a drink on the terrace are equally appealing.
These aquatic activities are considered to be must-dos during your stay. From fly fishing to exhilarating jet boating or white water rafting, there is something for everyone to enjoy.
The skilled and meditative pastime of fly fishing from the banks or shallows of a deep turquoise river is one of New Zealand’s most enduring images.
Huka Lodge has its very foundations in the sport of fly fishing, as the trout-rich Waikato River which flows alongside the property was the original motivation for Alan Pye to set up a series of white canvas tents as a well-positioned fishermen’s camp.
As word of the bountiful properties of the river spread, visitors came to the remote outpost from around the world to cast their lines and try for a bite. Today, many visitors to Taupō are keen to try their hand at the traditional sport.
The Taupō region is New Zealand’s most popular trout fishing region and is renowned as home to some of the world’s best fly fishing rivers.
The Waitahanui, Hinemaiaia and Tongariro rivers are great attractions, while the surrounding lush green scenery makes it a peaceful – if challenging – pastime for anglers of all ages and stages.
The cooler months from May to September are popular for spawning Rainbow and Brown trout, which run up the rivers from Lake Taupō. For guests at Huka Lodge, a fly fishing adventure may be a half or full day experience, in the company of a personal fishing guide.
Guides provide pick up and drop off, transfer to the day’s chosen fishing location as well as top quality rods, reels, waders and flies. Fly fishing casting lessons are also available on the Huka Lodge lawns with a dedicated fly fishing instructor.
White Water Rafting
Guests at Huka Lodge can embark on a half or full day’s adrenaline-fuelled adventure on a white water rafting tour in some of Taupō’s most thrilling rivers.
New Zealand is renowned for its surging, powerful rivers banked by lush green wilderness, making them ideal for white water rafting adventures for thrill-seekers of all levels.
The nearby Tongariro River provides pristine, clear waters and a ride through native flora alongside dramatic volcanic cliffs. Rafters see abundant wildlife including lots of trout a well as the endangered native whio whio or blue duck.
There’s an option to walk up a side stream to jump off the hidden Puketarata waterfall into the river below. Professional river guides will lead the adventure and provide transfers as well as top-quality river apparel including a wetsuit, fleece sweater, life vest, swimming shoes and a helmet.
Private tours are also available on request and include a gourmet Huka Lodge picnic hamper. For more experienced or courageous rafters, the Tutea Falls on the Kaituna (Okere) River near Rotorua is the world’s highest commercially rafted waterfall, dropping an almighty seven metres.
There is plenty of time to build anticipation and practice newly acquired skills in the rapids with two smaller waterfalls to descend before the big drop.
There’s a reasonably high chance of the boat flipping at the base of the waterfall, however the rapids are followed by calm water, so there is ample time to right the boat and get all the rafters back in! Safety is paramount and ensured by expert guides. This tour is best suited to active travellers 13 years and over.
Jet boating from Huka Lodge is available in two thrilling locations: the quick Huka Falls Jet and the larger, longer Falls Jet run. The 30-minute adrenalin-filled Huka Falls trip skims along the Waikato River daringly close to cliffs at a breath-taking 80km per hour.
A series of daredevil style turns and 360º spins await on the way to the Aratiatia Dam and back to the base of the spectacular Huka Falls. Safety is paramount, equipment including life jackets is provided and the jet boat drivers are certified professionals.
The Rapids Jet boats the biggest and longest rapids in the region, spilling from the Aratiatia Dam. The jetboat shoots through narrow canyons, spinning on crystal clear waters and surfing the pressure waves of the awesome Nga Awapurua Rapids.
The riverbanks are lined with fantastic native bush and steaming hot springs, plus there’s always a chance of spotting a trout! Equipment including life jackets and spray jackets is provided.
A gentle and stylish way to experience the scenic beauty of Lake Taupō, a luxury cruise takes in magnificent lake and mountain views, offers an up-close encounter with the giant Ngatoroirangi Mine Bay Māori rock carvings, provides gourmet lunch and beverages and an option to kayak or try your hand at fishing for trout along the way.
Lake Taupō’s size – roughly the same area as Singapore – and picturesque beaches give the appearance of an inland ocean. Scenic lake cruises and fishing adventures are available for Huka Lodge guests with premium Taupō operators year–round.
Most Taupō lake fishing takes the form of trolling using either lures or flies and complements the peaceful, quiet vibe on the lake’s still waters.
A half-day lake cruise includes an up-close visit with the giant Ngatoroirangi Mine Bay Māori rock carvings. Carved by artist Matahi Brightwell and towering some 14 metres above water level, the carvings are hailed as New Zealand’s most extraordinary contemporary Māori artworks.
On a clear day the majestic volcanoes of Mounts Ruapehu, Ngāuruhoe and Tongariro can be spotted on the horizon at the lake’s southern end.
The cruise includes lunch, wine and beverages and all fishing equipment including licences, while a kayaks are available to rent for an additional way to explore the western bays’ inlets.
These land-based activities are the essentials during a stay in Taupō. From cultural discoveries, a round of golf or unforgettable hiking expeditions, the choices are endless.
According to Māori legend, Lake Taupō is the beating heart of the North Island. The chance to experience Taupō in the company of a Māori tribesperson is a rare and unforgettable privilege.
Spend a half day or full day with Tom Loughlin, a descendant from Ngati Tuwharetoa, a local Māori tribe steeped in tradition and history. From arts, flora, fauna and food, the bespoke Ata Mai tour explores sacred practices passed down through generations and visits culturally significant tribal locations.
The chance to meet a respected Māori elder is an unforgettable experience. Gain insight into the pre-European settlement of Aotearoa and the importance of Taupō as the North Island’s sacred heart. Both half day and full day tours include private transfers to and from Huka Lodge.
Conveniently located just a short drive from Huka Lodge, the Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park Taupō’s Motorsport Park is billed as New Zealand’s premier motorsport and driver training facility.
The park includes four racetrack configurations and offers visitors the rare and thrilling chance to make a lap in a Formula Challenge racing car. The course is designed to suit the complete novice or the experienced road car driver, and no prior experience is necessary.
The Formula Challenge experience includes a classroom-style introduction class with a Motorsport New Zealand-qualified driving instructor as well as a familiarisation test run around the track.
Drivers can choose from a single seater Formula Challenge race car, a Holden or Ford V8 race car. A certificate of achievement, photograph and race data are presented on completion of the run.
Just minutes’ drive from Huka Lodge are two world class golf courses available to guests, the Wairakei International Golf Course and Sanctuary and the Kinloch Signature Golf Course.
Just five minutes’ drive from Huka Lodge the Wairakei International Golf Course sprawls across 450 acres of lush rolling countryside and was designed to meet rigorous world-class championship competition standards.
A flora and fauna sanctuary lies adjacent to the golf course creating a natural place of exceptional beauty offering golfers an opportunity to play 18 holes while listening to a soundtrack of birdsong, meandering streams and waterfalls. Dress codes and green fees apply.
Around 20 minutes’ drive from Huka Lodge is Kinloch Signature Golf Course, New Zealand’s only course designed by Jack Nicklaus. Voted one of the Top 10 new golf courses in the world for 2007 by the prestigious U.S. Travel and Leisure Golf Magazine, Kinloch was the only course outside of North America to be included.
The challenging course rambles across a dramatically undulating landscape punctuated by exposed rock, with contoured fairways specially conditioned for challenging ground play. Dress codes and green fees apply for golfing experiences.
Taupō’s varied natural landscape presents boundless opportunities for walking and hiking, either on a guided or self-guided basis.
At Huka Lodge, guests can explore the tree-lined pathways that lead through the verdant gardens, follow the Spa Park walk to Huka Falls or take on the Kawakawa Bay to Kinloch hike and cruise or the full-day hike to the Tongariro Alpine Crossing.
This five-hour round trip includes a luxury cruise and hike. Ideal for travellers with medium to high fitness, the personally guided hike starts with a pickup at Huka Lodge for transfer to the small lakeside village of Kinloch.
A two-hour guided hike leads through lush green wilderness to a lookout offering panoramic views over the Western Bays of Lake Taupō. From here, the trail leads down towards the remote and secluded Kawakawa Bay, accessible only by boat or on foot.
Here, a vessel awaits for a cruise around Lake Taupō with a delicious lunch served onboard. Fishing, lunch, fishing licences and four-wheel drive transfer to Kinloch are all included.
Regarded as one of New Zealand’s best day hikes, the Tongarino Alpine Crossing offers an unforgettable encounter with native flora and fauna and may be taken on a guided or self-guided basis.
Taking between seven and nine hours – and around 18.5km (11.5 miles) each way, the hike traverses the World Heritage-listed Tongariro National Park, New Zealand’s oldest and home to some of the most scenic and volcanically active places in the country.
The track winds up the Mangatepopo Valley to the saddle between Mt. Tongariro and Mt. Ngāuruhoe. It then climbs to the Red Crater before dropping down to the vivid Emerald Lakes. After passing the Blue Lake, the track cuts around the northern slope of Mt. Tongariro and descends in a zigzag to the Ketetahi hut.
Hiking in Taupō requires good walking boots, a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen, camera, waterproof jacket and weather-appropriate clothing. Note, from June 1 – October 15, winter conditions descend on the Tongariro Crossing and ice axes and crampons are required.
The day starts with a pickup at the lodge and private vehicle transfer to Rotorua. A 90-minute mountain biking tour through the Whakarewarewa Forest takes on a selection of the 150km purpose-designed mountain bike trails, with a range of levels to suit every rider.
Next, the tour continues by road to Okawa Bay for a thrilling 45-minute rafting trip down the Kaituna River. Home to one of the world’s highest commercially rated waterfall, Tutea falls some seven metres and provides an exhilarating white water adventure.
Note, this adventure is only available for children 13 years or older when accompanied by an adult. The vehicle then continues on a short journey to Lake Rotoiti, to meet a 53ft. luxury catamaran for lunch and a private charter.
A gourmet barbecue lunch is served on deck while sailing the lake’s clean, clear waters. In the late afternoon, soak in the therapeutic geothermal pools accessible only by boat, before returning to the lodge by road.
The Rotorua tour can be taken on a full or half-day basis, and includes personal guide, private vehicle transfers, use of all equipment, lunch and refreshments.
An aerial tour of the North Island’s spectacular heartland makes a stay at Huka Lodge truly unforgettable. The lodge offers half or full-day heli adventures taking in Taupō’s natural attractions from on high.
Mini Huka Experience
This half-day heli and cruise adventure combines the best of Taupō from the air and on Lake Taupō’s clear, calm waters.
The adventure begins with a private vehicle transfer from Huka Lodge to Taupō Boat Harbour, and joins a private launch for three hours of cruising and trout fishing on beautiful Lake Taupō . Join a private transfer to a waiting helicopter for the next leg of this tour, taking in Taupō’s natural attractions from on high.
Fly over Mt. Tauhara and enjoy a bird’s-eye-view of the Wairakei Geothermal Terraces, where silica-enriched water cascades over terraces from the geyser to the blue pools below. Silica deposits have formed astounding terraces reminiscent of the world-renowned Pink and White Terraces of Tarawera.
From the helicopter cockpit enjoy aerial views of the Craters of the Moon, the northern shores of Lake Taupō and the magnificent Ngatoroirangi Mine Bay Māori rock carvings. The flight returns over the mighty Huka Falls before landing on the lawn at Huka Lodge.
Ultimate Huka Experience
The Ultimate Huka Experience flies north or south from Huka Lodge to take in spectacular natural scenery from an aerial perspective.
A full day tour with a six-to-seven-hour duration, the Ultimate Huka Experience may fly south from Huka Lodge to the Kaimanawa Range wilderness, with possible sightings of wild horses and Red or Sika deer.
The heli lands next to the surging Rangitikei River for a chance to view trophy-sized Rainbow trout. Return to Lake Taupō along mountain ranges seething with volcanic activity and over the vast craters of the Tongariro National Park.
Alternatively, a northerly flight takes in the thundering Huka Falls and follows the Waikato River to the Wai-O-Tapu and Waimangu geothermal regions. Take a daring flight over the dormant volcanic cone of Mt. Tarawera, which last erupted in 1886.
Return to Lake Taupō via some of the spectacularly lush farm and forest lands of central North Island. After an eighty-minute heli flight, meet a luxury cruise in a remote bay on Lake Taupō. Enjoy a delicious buffet lunch and cruise back to the Taupō Marina, with the chance to try trout fishing along the way.
Huka Lodge offers a selection of private beauty and relaxation treatments provided by qualified therapists in-suite. Private tennis and yoga tuition may also be arranged. Please note, bookings are subject to availability and prices and treatments may vary.
Located at the heart of lodge and enclosed by a towering green cypress hedge more than 35 years old, the tennis court is a peaceful setting to focus on the game or embrace a relaxing social contest. The rarefied ‘green room’ surrounds at Huka Lodge inspire a friendly – or competitive – game of lawn tennis.
Enveloped in a tall green cypress hedge, an all-weather tennis court is available for a casual game of tennis for guests at Huka Lodge. Rackets and balls are provided. Expert tuition is available for those after a refresher or who’d like to work on their game (additional charge applies).
Beauty & Wellness
A range of facial therapies employs the organic, plant-based Janesce skincare range to offer a rejuvenating, reinvigorating treatment using aromatic oils and healing masks as well as relaxing massage techniques. A green peel treatment aligns with Taupō’s lush green surrounds and deep, rolling river.
A series of body massages is also on offer, designed to relax and repair, leaving guests feeling refreshed and restored. Choose from deep tissue, soft tissue or remedial massage and personalise with a choice of botanical essential oils.
Manicures, pedicures and eye treatments including brow and lash shaping are on offer, and in-suite hairdressing services are also on the menu.
The property offers many of its own activities, designed to complement the relaxing atmosphere of the quiet natural location.
A private outdoor yoga session may be arranged on a dedicated yoga lawn, ideal for absorbing the fresh air and performed to a soundtrack of birdsong and the soothing flow of the Waikato River. Alternatively, yoga is also offered for guests in-suite as a personal consultation.
For a relaxing endeavour pétanque or croquet courses are set up on the lawn, the perfect pastime on a slow-paced afternoon. For some quiet time, lounge by the lodge’s pool and spas or enjoy a drink by the river, remembering to keep an eye out for passing trout.
Taupō offers a diverse range of options for guests looking to explore more or perhaps pursue a special interest. Huka Lodge works with premium local operators to offer these special adventures. Additional charges apply, please enquire for details.
Mountain bikes are available for guest use, ideal for cruising into town or for taking on the many mountain bike trails around Taupō, best explored with a private guide. such as the Timber Trail through Pureora Forest Park featuring graceful suspension bridges and intriguing timber industry relics.
Kayaks and stand-up-paddle boards are a wonderful way to explore the rivers and lakes at one’s own pace. Local operators provide a two-hour Waikato River tour as a taster, while a longer tour paddles alongside the giant Māori carvings at Lake Taupō.
Taupō’s thermal pools are renowned for increasing blood circulation while inspiring relaxation. The geothermal waters are rich in natural minerals, the perfect way to unwind after a round of golf or a day‘s adventures.
The extreme sport of bungy jumping originated in New Zealand in 1988. At Taupō, adventurers leap 150-feet from a platform over the Waikato River, upstream from Huka Falls. At 47 metres, it’s New Zealand’s highest water-touch bungy.
For thrill–seekers also keen for a view, skydiving in New Zealand is hard to beat. Lake Taupō has the largest commercial drop zone in the world and stunning views of volcanoes, forests and lake itself.
Gliding is an exhilarating sport that offers spectacular views and a sense of freedom like a bird soaring. The glider is under tow while flying over Huka Falls and Lake Taupō, before being released at around 5,000 ft.
Loved as the heart of New Zealand’s North Island, Taupō offers a variety of experiences and adventures. Huka Lodge offers guests a stylish base from which to explore the region’s spectacular natural attractions including Huka Falls and the region’s picturesque namesake lake as well as Rotorua and the Tongariro National Park.
The ever-changing Waikato River and broader Lake Taupō region provide a magnificent natural setting for Huka Lodge. Taupō is found on the central plateau of New Zealand’s North Island, distinguished by its vast lake and endowed with a gentle climate, a leisurely pace and spectacular landscape.
Formed from an ancient volcanic caldera, Lake Taupō’s vast waters spill into the thundering Huka Falls. Snow-capped mountain peaks, rolling pastures of golden grasses, lush green wilderness and the clear waters of lakes, rivers and streams offer a calming and rewarding vista from every turn. How do I get there?
Aotearoa is the Māori name for New Zealand and translates to the long white cloud that envelopes both islands. It was originally used by the Māori people only in reference to North Island, where Taupō is at its heart.
For the region’s Māori population, tangata whenua, the people of the land, Aotearoa is their place. They know its mountains, rivers, landscape and sea; its culture, whakapapa, heritage and soul, its wairua.
Just downstream from Huka Lodge, the calmly flowing Waikato River gains momentum as it heads towards a natural channel before plunging eleven metres in an icy blue churn along a graduated waterfall, Huka Falls.
Guests at Huka Lodge can embark on the Spa Park circuit walk which runs along the riverbanks to a bridge that crosses the river or platforms that offer views of the falls mid-stream, allowing a real sense of the water’s power and thunderous roar.
A visit to Taupō offers a wonderful chance to engage with local Māori culture and discover its stories and heritage.
At Huka Lodge, the Atamai Cultural Experience offers a personal connection with a descendant of the local Māori tribe, Ngāti Tūwharetoa, who will create a tailored experience based on special interests from food to spiritual, the arts or flora and fauna.
The tour may also include an exclusive opportunity to visit with a respected Māori elder for a further insight to the diverse Māori culture.
New Zealand is famous for its extraordinary produce, its excellent wines, small batch brews and artisan spirits. Centrally located Huka Lodge has first-hand access to the veritable food bowl of premium, sustainable ingredients including locally produced beef and lamb from the rolling North Island fields.
There are Mahurangi Oysters from Auckland and freshly picked fruit and vegetables from the surrounding farmlands, all on the menu at Huka Lodge. View our dining philosophy.
North Island Seasons
New Zealand’s North Island seasons are distinct, offering a new set of experiences in each season. Crisp, blue-skied spring days lead into long summer days with mild evenings. In autumn, golden landscapes welcome and in winter, world class skiing followed by cosy winter nights warmed by local red wine and an open fire await.
Summer spans December, January and February. The days are long and warm, ideal for outdoor adventures both land-based and aquatic.
Known as New Zealand’s ‘Christmas Tree’, the Pohutukawa flowers over summer, with its vibrant crimson blooms symbolic of relaxing summer days. Daytime temperatures range from 14-32°C (55-90 F) in summer.
Autumn in New Zealand runs March through to May, generally offering settled weather. The long warm days of summer linger, while the nights cool off.
These are ideal conditions for outdoor activities including hiking, kayaking, fishing and boating, and it’s a slightly quieter visitor season. Daytime temperatures range from 7-21°C (45-70 F) in autumn.
Winter in New Zealand extends from June to August. The higher mountain peaks are snow covered, making for picturesque landscapes and offering opportunities for skiing and snow sports.
At Huka Lodge this is perfect lodging weather, with brisk daytime walks and fine wines enjoyed fireside. Daytime temperatures range from 1.5-15.5°C (35-60 F) in winter.
Springtime from September through November is postcard New Zealand, when newborn lambs are dotted along lush green fields, flowers bloom and waterfalls burst with rains.
There’s a fresh, happy atmosphere and skip to the step that makes spring a wonderful time of year to visit. Daytime temperatures range from 4.5-18°C (40-65 F) in spring.
Huka Lodge is committed to a dedicated path of initiatives and procedures to ensure the very best practice for the environment, the local community and the planet.
Essential to the vision are initiatives designed to preserve pristine waters and the broader environment, conserve energy via recycling and support the community of Taupō.
In 2019, Huka Lodge embarked on a project to secure fresh Waikato water for the future and ensure sustainability of its use.
The lodge invested in a monitoring system and purification process combining UV, activated carbon and osmosis – which ensured the restaurant’s own water was the spring water quality – and installed a state-of-the-art, wastewater plant. Its high-quality output is used to irrigate the gardens.
Huka Lodge takes a wholistic approach to managing its impact on the natural environment. A campaign to reduce the use of single-use plastics complements the use of organic and free-range produce in the kitchen, while producers who embrace sustainable practices are actively sought as partners.
Chemical-free pest control is used throughout the garden, which is also planned to provide food and shelter for bees, birds and animals.
Energy conservation, recycling and commitment to new technologies are all essential to the sustainability philosophy at Huka Lodge. Recyclable materials are sorted, while batteries, printer cartridges and coffee pods are all recycled.
Solar power planning is underway and electric vehicle charging stations are in place. Expired light bulbs are replaced with LED bulbs and timers work to reduce energy use.
A commitment to engaging with and supporting the local community is essential to Huka Lodge. The lodge recruits its loyal team from within the local community and supports local businesses wherever possible for the provision of food, wine and services.
Huka Lodge contributes to fundraising efforts for local schools and charities, and for more than thirty years has held a highly anticipated Christmas party for the community’s elderly residents.