Aratiatia Rapids
Aratiatia Rapids
4.5
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  • Simon C
    Ashtead, United Kingdom780 contributions
    A great spectacle
    Four times a day the sirens sound and entirely for the benefit of the tourists, two sluices holding back the waters from Lake Waikato are partially opened for 15 mins. It’s a great spectacle to watch the water quite slowly fill up the original path of the river and within 5 mins, it’s a raging torrent. The best place to watch is either the mid of the upper lookout, much better than the bridge where most people gather.
    Visited February 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 2 March 2023
  • CrumpySeaford
    Seaford, United Kingdom791 contributions
    Interesting and Spectacular
    A very interesting spectacle of seeing the dam opening to flood a small gorge. This then drives turbines a bit further downstream to generate electricity. Huka Falls feeds the lake behind the dam. Currently, the sluices are opened four times a day.
    Visited March 2023
    Written 3 March 2023
  • Hillrun1
    Lahaina, Hawaii212 contributions
    Pretty Spectacular
    I had no real idea what to expect when we arrived at the parking lot. We just kind of followed everyone across the street and picked a spot to watch. In the summer, the dam releases a ton of water every two hours. The canyon below it goes from near empty to raging river. They do this four times a day so you need to be on time to enjoy it. My wife stopped at the first lookout, which is closer to the water. My daughter and I walked the extra 10 minutes to the high lookout. We were not close to the water but we could see the entire event. When the water starts coming out, it's all white water by the dam. It takes a little while to fill up every pool coming down the little rock valley. From above, you can see the water level rise before it starts to become a raging river. Once it fills the entire canyon, it flows into a lake behind it that I think you can take a tourist boat to see. This is pretty awesome and something I wouldn't miss. The other good thing is that Huka Falls is close by and a must see.
    Visited March 2023
    Written 10 March 2023
  • Tim K
    113 contributions
    Unusual sight
    We might have never gone but were directed there by person at the hotel. There is a dam on the Walkaito river for power generation that is opened 3-4 times daily to let out excess water down a gorge with rapids. It is an unusual site and kept us entranced for about an hour, watching the level in the canyon go up and rush down the rapids. There are a couple of spots for watching and a parking lot close by. The bridge get most people, looking at the dam and downstream, but there is a short, easy trail to an overlooking rock ledge (fenced for protection) with both up- and downstream views. Check on line for release times, close but 20 min or so drive from downtown.
    Visited March 2023
    Written 14 April 2023
  • JElliot32
    New South Wales, Australia3,811 contributions
    Spectacular - but get your times right
    Aratiata Rapids are located immediately below a large dam on the Waikato River. A consequence of damming the river here was to cut off the flow of water to this spectacular set of rapids. The authorities have now made some amends by opening up the dam floodgates for 15 minutes 3 or 4 times a day, at 10.00, 12.00, 14.00 and 16.00 in summer, unleashing a mighty torrent of water to power into a small canyon then the rapids below. When we visited we positioned ourselves on the bridge looking back to the dam wall/floodgates and down to the chasm below, with the rapids beyond that. The water release and rapid, thunderous flooding of the first canyon was truly spectacular, but I think the better viewing position would have been from a couple of lookouts higher up and further downstream, which would have provided a broader picture of the water powering through the entire gorge. (These were about 10 minutes walk uphill from the carpark.)
    Visited April 2023
    Written 18 April 2023
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4.5
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622suziej
Auckland, New Zealand179 contributions
Aug 2023 • Friends
Lovely little bush walk to see the locks open from further away or closer or right on top. It’s amazing the amount of water that comes down and fills up the river.
Written 12 August 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

dindinz1
4 contributions
May 2023 • Friends
Gabe was the best ....felt safe and exhilirated all in one. These ole girls had a blast.Thankyou #Aratiatia Rapids Jet boat...#taupo
Written 3 June 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

JElliot32
New South Wales, Australia3,811 contributions
Apr 2023
Aratiata Rapids are located immediately below a large dam on the Waikato River. A consequence of damming the river here was to cut off the flow of water to this spectacular set of rapids. The authorities have now made some amends by opening up the dam floodgates for 15 minutes 3 or 4 times a day, at 10.00, 12.00, 14.00 and 16.00 in summer, unleashing a mighty torrent of water to power into a small canyon then the rapids below. When we visited we positioned ourselves on the bridge looking back to the dam wall/floodgates and down to the chasm below, with the rapids beyond that. The water release and rapid, thunderous flooding of the first canyon was truly spectacular, but I think the better viewing position would have been from a couple of lookouts higher up and further downstream, which would have provided a broader picture of the water powering through the entire gorge. (These were about 10 minutes walk uphill from the carpark.)
Written 18 April 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Tim K
113 contributions
Mar 2023
We might have never gone but were directed there by person at the hotel. There is a dam on the Walkaito river for power generation that is opened 3-4 times daily to let out excess water down a gorge with rapids. It is an unusual site and kept us entranced for about an hour, watching the level in the canyon go up and rush down the rapids. There are a couple of spots for watching and a parking lot close by. The bridge get most people, looking at the dam and downstream, but there is a short, easy trail to an overlooking rock ledge (fenced for protection) with both up- and downstream views. Check on line for release times, close but 20 min or so drive from downtown.
Written 14 April 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Hillrun1
Lahaina, HI212 contributions
Mar 2023
I had no real idea what to expect when we arrived at the parking lot. We just kind of followed everyone across the street and picked a spot to watch.

In the summer, the dam releases a ton of water every two hours. The canyon below it goes from near empty to raging river. They do this four times a day so you need to be on time to enjoy it.

My wife stopped at the first lookout, which is closer to the water.

My daughter and I walked the extra 10 minutes to the high lookout. We were not close to the water but we could see the entire event.

When the water starts coming out, it's all white water by the dam. It takes a little while to fill up every pool coming down the little rock valley. From above, you can see the water level rise before it starts to become a raging river.

Once it fills the entire canyon, it flows into a lake behind it that I think you can take a tourist boat to see.

This is pretty awesome and something I wouldn't miss. The other good thing is that Huka Falls is close by and a must see.
Written 10 March 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Daynamorphic
Diamond Creek, Australia9 contributions
Mar 2023 • Couples
Easy walk higher lookout moderate hill climb. Uneven rocky path not suited for stroller or someone unsteady on their feet. Beautiful nature walk to see the amazing blue of the rapids
Written 8 March 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

CrumpySeaford
Seaford, UK791 contributions
Mar 2023
A very interesting spectacle of seeing the dam opening to flood a small gorge. This then drives turbines a bit further downstream to generate electricity.
Huka Falls feeds the lake behind the dam. Currently, the sluices are opened four times a day.
Written 3 March 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Simon C
Ashtead, UK780 contributions
Feb 2023 • Couples
Four times a day the sirens sound and entirely for the benefit of the tourists, two sluices holding back the waters from Lake Waikato are partially opened for 15 mins. It’s a great spectacle to watch the water quite slowly fill up the original path of the river and within 5 mins, it’s a raging torrent.

The best place to watch is either the mid of the upper lookout, much better than the bridge where most people gather.
Written 2 March 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Laurel M
Calgary, Canada856 contributions
Feb 2023 • Couples
The first gate opening is at 10AM. We got to the car park at 9:30 which gave us plenty of time to read the information boards, see the views from the bridge and then walk up to the ‘lower lookout’. Easy walk but protruding rocks as you got to the fenced lookout. Definitely best viewing area. Awesome watching the water start to slowly come then reach torrent stage. And the noise! Then we walked to the upper lookout and it wasn’t anywhere near as spectacular. Beautiful to see.
Written 19 February 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

AndyP1998
Wakefield, UK1,058 contributions
Jan 2023
Definitely a popular attraction so get here early, get parked up and find a good vantage point. Quite memorable when the 1st water leaves the dam and the stream turns into a gushing river
Written 26 January 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Aratiatia Rapids: All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

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