Rapids Jet vs. Huka Falls Jet – Which is the best jet boat in Taupō?

Taupō is known for having two world-class jet boat rides – the Huka Falls Jet and Rapids Jet.

But which one is better?

Do you need to ride both?

We’ve tested them both out and are excited to share our thoughts with you…

Comparing Rapids Jet and the Huka Falls Jet

Rapids Jet

  • Totally unique – NZ’s only commercial white water rafting jet boat ride
  • This part of the river is beautiful
  • Ties in well with the Aratiatia Dam release – see it on the way
  • The spins aren’t as exciting

Ride time: 35 minutes

Drive time from Taupō: 15 minutes

Huka Falls Jet

  • Exciting 360° turns!
  • See the Huka Falls from below
  • More daily departures
  • Less shelter on the river makes for a colder ride
  • Aside from the falls, this part of the river is less beautiful
  • We got much wetter

Ride time: 30 minutes

Drive time from Taupō: 10 minutes

Rapids Jet

Rapids Jet is unlike any other jet boat ride in New Zealand – it’s the only one that takes passengers over whitewater rapids!

With an insanely powerful boat, you’ll rocket out of water and slide of the top of the rapids.

The ride itself is smooth (aside from a few bumpy bits on larger rapids) and though it includes 360° turns, they’re gentle.

On the day we visited, we stayed nice and dry too – though we were told this isn’t always the case. It can vary based on the level of the river and the size of the rapids.

While onboard, you’ll see the bottom of the Aratiatia Rapids (be sure to check out the Aratiatia Dam release on your way to the jet boat at 10 am, 12 pm, 2 pm – and 4 pm in the summertime) and the narrowest part of the Waikato River (which is also one of the most stunning parts!).

Going up and down the rapids is such a unique and exciting experience, and in such a beautiful setting, it’s hard to beat.

3 Nga Awa Purua Rd, Aratiatia, Taupō

Huka Falls Jet

If you’re after a flat-water jet boating experience, then we think the Huka Falls Jet is the best option in the North Island.

You’ll begin by racing towards the top of the Aratiatia Rapids (though all you’ll see is the top of the dam), before heading back along the Waikato River towards the iconic Huka Falls.

These falls are the largest in New Zealand (based on water volume) and they’re very impressive from below!

Along the way, your skilled skipper will pull 360° after 360°, with some intentional near misses too.

We found the Huka Falls Jet to be the more exciting ride in terms of thrill factor.

It’s basically the North Island’s answer to the Shotover Jet – only the scenery itself along this part of the river isn’t as memorable as its South Island counterpart.

200 Karetoto Road, Wairakei Park, Taupō

Which is best?

Though we really enjoyed both rides, Rapids Jet was our favourite by a whisker.

On the day we were there, the Huka Falls Jet was more exciting – but if you want a truly exciting jet boat ride, we think you should save your money for the Shotover Jet in Queenstown.

Though it wasn’t quite as adrenaline-inducing, we loved the white water element of Rapids Jet, the beautiful scenery and the incredible power of the jet boat. It was also much more comfortable (and warm) on the boat as that part of the river is naturally more sheltered.

So, though we don’t think you can go wrong with either option, if we had to choose, it’d be Rapids Jet that comes out on top for us.

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