|dc.description.abstract||The catchment area of the Waikato River is 5,500 square miles. If its source is accepted as being the Upper Waikato, then its distance to the sea at Port Waikato including its journey through Lake Taupo is 266 miles. It rises, together with the Whangaehu, the Rangitikei and the Wanganui, between the volcanic region of Ruapehu 9,000 ft. above sea level and the Kaimanawa Ranges 5,000 ft. above sea level.
The river flows northwards for 34 miles into Lake Taupo, losing its identity into the Tongariro for the last 26 miles to the lake. It emerges from Lake Taupo resuming its proper name and, still flowing northwards, passes for more than 100 miles through a series of lakes formed by hydroelectric dams to Cambridge. From here it continues through a deeply incised channel to Ngaruawahia where it is joined by its major tributary, the Waipa River. From Ngaruawahia to the mouth, a distance of 60 miles, shallow lakes and peat swamps predominate on both sides of the river, many of them protected and drained and developed into rich dairy farms. From Mercer, 35 miles downstream of Ngaruawahia, where slight tidal effects are discernable at low flows, the river changes its general northerly direction to a westerly one and, still 9 miles from the mouth, enters the delta. Here it is fragmented into many channels before emptying into the broad expanse of Maioro Bay and finally emerges by two fairly narrow channels into the sea on the west coast, 25 miles south of Manukau Heads.||en_NZ