Aratiatia Rapids, Taupo
(4.5/5 based on 600+ reviews on the web)
Marvel at the forces of nature (and engineering) at Aratiatia Rapids, a section of river diverted by a power station. Though normally a calm stream thanks to the nearby dam, the diversion gates open several times per day, allowing the river to flow at its full speed. As the gates open, you'll see 90,000 liters (19,800 gal) per second rage through the rocky gorge, frothing and bubbling as it tumbles down the slope. Hike your way up to one of the surrounding rock bluffs for a view overlooking the river and rapids. You can reach the site via a local bus route traveling between the area's popular attractions. For Aratiatia Rapids and beyond, use our Taupo vacation trip planner to get the most from your Taupo vacation.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • Well worth a look at the way this original route for the Waikato River changes from a trickle to a raging torrent. Get to the look out as well if you can, as you get a far better view. 
  • These falls are well worth the short, steepish walk to view when the gates to the dam open and the water cascades through the rocky river bed. 
  • I was told about this by the receptionist at the holiday park, well worth a visit, second view point was recommended and I can see why. The swam gets are only opened at certain times so make sure you ...  more »
Google
  • Always worth a visit if you're in the area around the gate opening times. Gives a good appreciation of how a flash flood happens too
  • Impressive to see how the flooding is happening. Check summer and winter schedules before arriving. There are various good view points (not just the bridge next to the car park).
  • Go for the dam opening at 10, 12, or 2 PM. Arrive 15 min early to hike up to a viewing point. Mid point is fine, no need for high point.
  • The water level rises alot, but it is not very rapid like, rather slow. A scene from the Hobbit was filmed there.
  • beautiful spot and magnificent to watch the floodgates open and the rapids reappear. Well worth the drive out from Taupo.