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Visitors should arrive at least 5 minutes prior to the 'dam release times'.
Visitors can watch the Aratiatia Rapids form several times a day when the dam gates of the Aratiatia River open up.
It's an impressive sight as the turquoise waters surge through the dam and fill up the shallow river bed over the course of around 15 minutes.
At the site of the Aratiatia Rapids, the Waikato River falls 28 metres over one kilometre with the surging rapids being harnessed for environmentally sustainable hydroelectric power.
The rapids also provided the scenery to a few of the most exciting scenes from The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. Fans of the movie may recall the scene of the dwarves escaping from the Elves by hiding in barrels which floated down stream.
There are two viewing platforms to witness the water action. The mid-viewing platform is a 5 minute walk from the car park while the top-viewing platform is a steeper 10 minute walk.
Summer Hours: 10:00am, 12:00pm, 2:00pm, 4:00pm
Winter Hours: 10:00am, 12:00pm, 2:00pm
Contact Aratiatia Rapids
630 Aratiatia Road, TaupoView Larger Map
Best For Whom
- All Ages
Best For What
- A View To Die For
- Off The Beaten Path
- The Local Experience