Aratiatia Rapids, Taupo

(4.5/5 based on 700+ 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
  • Incredible view of the falls. Trails are laid out to follow the start of the fall. Well-marked and mosquito, the forest is full of impressive vegetation. Free activity unless you go to the toilet.
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  • It was raining pretty hard the day we were there, so we decided to go a bit further down the river and parked the car on the bridge outside the power station. Wasn't as spectacular but we still saw th...  more »
  • Worthwhile 1/2 hour to view the opening of the dam and to watch the rapidly flowing water fill the gorge.  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.