As you might have picked up on by now, we're based on the Waikato River and we love it here! We think it's a pretty special part of the country and the perfect place for fun.
A few kilometres downstream of the stunning Huka Falls, the Waikato River naturally falls 28 metres in the space of just one kilometre. As the river is also at its narrowest, the water is forced to flow faster here than on any other part of the river, forming the Aratiatia or Nga Awa Purua rapids.
This site was of great significance to early Maori settlers, and since 1964 the power of the water has been harnessed by the Aratiatia Dam to sustainably create hydroelectric power for the region. The dam is opened three times a day in winter and four times a day in summer, allowing the rapids to flow naturally once more. You can watch this remarkable event from the bridge beside the dam or by walking along the short track down to the rocks and up to the ridge line.
When the dam opens, you'll be met with the sights and sounds of 80,000 litres of water per second rushing through the dam gates and turning the river into a rolling mass of waves, whirlpools and whitewater.
These are the Aratiatia rapids and this is where we play!
The Huka Falls are the Waikato River's largest falls – and a New Zealand favourite!
A must do is the walk from Spa Park to Huka falls. Take in the great scenery whilst following the path of the Waikato river in it’s journey to the magic Huka Falls.
The Waikato River is one of New Zealand’s longest rivers. The Waikato River is normally around 100m wide but at the Huka Falls the river squeezes down to 20m wide and drops around 20m too. Huka Falls has 220,000 litres of water pass through every second. This rush of water creates an amazing spectacle of water and foam (Huka means Foam in Maori) that never ceases to enthral visitors to Lake Taupo. Visit the Huka Falls whenever you come to Taupo and you will see where Huka Falls gets its name from and why it’s New Zealand’s most visited natural attraction.Read More
To experience the opening of the gates at Aratiatia Dam there are several great viewing points, on the bridge beside the dam, or take the 5 minute walking track down to the rocks beside the river and up to the ridge line where you can see over the whole area.
Due to the natural breathtaking scenery the Aratiatia rapids have featured in many movies over the years including the Hobbit, let us know if you see any Dwarves floating down stream. It is rumoured a couple liked it so much they stayed!
The Great Lake Taupō region is the perfect place to get a sense of what New Zealand's North Island is all about.Read More