Holidays in Aratiatia Rapids

Holiday Travel Guide
Aratiatia Rapids which includes rapids and a gorge or canyon

The power of nature is unleashed when dam gates open and a torrent of water surges along the riverbed.

Witness the awe-inspiring sight of rushing water when the dam gates of Aratiatia Rapids are opened. The powerful cascade fills up a narrow gorge and can be viewed from several vantage points. Once you have watched nature at work, explore the beautiful surrounding bushland on foot or by mountain bike.

The rapids are harnessed for hydroelectric power by a nearby power station. As the gates open, water spills out at up to 23,775 gallons (90,000 liters) per second. When they close, the turbulent water retreats to a gentle stream.

The rapids attracted global attention when they featured in Peter Jackson’s film The Hobbit: the Desolation of the Smaug. This was one of the locations for the barrel riding scene where the dwarves try to get away from the elves. They climbed into barrels that were then hurled downstream. Rest assured that for the filming, no actors were actually in the wooden containers when they were dropped into the water.

The falls tumble down 91.8 feet (28 meters) over the course of 0.6 miles (1 kilometer). View the water show from one of the lookouts on the overlooking rocky bluffs. Another great location is from the bridge at the dam on Aratiatia Road. Alternatively, ride the rapids on a jet boat tour.

Make a day of exploring the surrounding countryside. Hike or mountain bike through the scenic reserve off Aratiatia Road, on the banks of the Waikato River. Take the 2-hour scenic trail that passes through the 351-acre (142-hectare) protected area. See an array of native flora and fauna as you go.

Aratiatia Rapids are located off State Highway 1, approximately 6.2 miles (10 kilometers) north of Taupo. Come by rental car, taxi or bus from the lakeside town. The dam’s control gates open several times a day throughout the year with an additional opening in the summer. Check the times with the Taupo Visitor Centre’s website.

Top activities in Aratiatia Rapids

619 Cheap Hotels Near Aratiatia Rapids

Wairakei Resort Taupo
Wairakei Resort Taupo
4 out of 5
640 Wairakei Road, Wairakei
The price is AU$106 per night from 6 Dec. to 6 Dec.
This family-friendly Wairakei hotel is located in a national park, within 2 mi (3 km) of Wairakei Natural Thermal Valley, Wairakei International Golf Course ...
4.2/5 Excellent! (991 reviews)
"The bed was super comfortable ,nice clean room"

Reviewed on 16 Nov. 2021

Wairakei Resort Taupo
Huka Lodge
Huka Lodge
5 out of 5
271 Huka Falls Road, Wairakei
The price is AU$2,653 per night from 5 Dec. to 5 Dec.
Situated on the riverfront, this luxury lodge is 0.6 mi (1 km) from Huka Falls and within 3 miles (5 km) of Wairakei International Golf Course and Spa Thermal ...
5/5 Exceptional! (27 reviews)
"Absolutely first class would definitely go back. The food was exceptional and the staff were lovely"

Reviewed on 28 Feb. 2021

Huka Lodge
Centennial House Taupo, Boutique Lodge 20 guests, 9 Bedrooms & Amazing Gardens
Centennial House Taupo, Boutique Lodge 20 guests, 9 Bedrooms & Amazing Gardens
Situated in Rotokawa, this guesthouse is 2.5 mi (4 km) from Golf Club Taupo and 2.7 mi (4.4 km) from Spa Thermal Park. Taupo Bungy and Taupo i-SITE Visitor Information ...
4.6/5 Exceptional! (8 reviews)
Excellent venue for a group gathering
"We absolutely loved our stay at Centennial House and will be booking again. The rooms were great and the communal areas, both inside and out, were perfect for our reunion of 12 people. The host was gracious and helpful."

Reviewed on 1 Feb. 2021

Centennial House Taupo, Boutique Lodge 20 guests, 9 Bedrooms & Amazing Gardens
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Popular places to visit in Aratiatia Rapids

Holidays in Aratiatia Rapids

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Top Aratiatia Rapids Hotel & Accommodation Deals

Grandeur Thermal Spa Resort
Grandeur Thermal Spa Resort
3 out of 5
The price is AU$105 per night from 5 Dec. to 5 Dec.
Grandeur Thermal Spa Resort
Wairakei Resort Taupo
Wairakei Resort Taupo
4 out of 5
640 Wairakei Road, Wairakei
The price is AU$106 per night from 6 Dec. to 6 Dec.
Wairakei Resort Taupo
Huka Lodge
Huka Lodge
5 out of 5
271 Huka Falls Road, Wairakei
The price is AU$2,653 per night from 5 Dec. to 5 Dec.
Huka Lodge
Centennial House Taupo, Boutique Lodge 20 guests, 9 Bedrooms & Amazing Gardens
Centennial House Taupo, Boutique Lodge 20 guests, 9 Bedrooms & Amazing Gardens
Centennial House Taupo, Boutique Lodge 20 guests, 9 Bedrooms & Amazing Gardens
Twin Peaks Lakeside Inn
Twin Peaks Lakeside Inn
3.5 out of 5
76-80 Lake Terrace, Taupo
The price is AU$112 per night from 11 Dec. to 11 Dec.
Twin Peaks Lakeside Inn
Lake Taupo Holiday Resort
Lake Taupo Holiday Resort
3 out of 5
41 Centennial Drive, Taupo
Lake Taupo Holiday Resort
Quality Suites Huka Falls
Quality Suites Huka Falls
3 out of 5
56 Huka Falls Road, Taupo
The price is AU$127 per night from 14 Dec. to 14 Dec.
Quality Suites Huka Falls
Hilton Lake Taupo
Hilton Lake Taupo
5 out of 5
80-100 Napier Road, Taupo
The price is AU$205 per night from 7 Dec. to 7 Dec.
Hilton Lake Taupo
☺ Cottage Near Huka Falls | Aircon + Free Parking ☺
☺ Cottage Near Huka Falls | Aircon + Free Parking ☺
☺ Cottage Near Huka Falls | Aircon + Free Parking ☺
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.