The Huka Falls and Aratiatia Rapids
Easily reached from Taupo - an excellent half-day activity
Map showing how to reach the Huka Falls and Aratiatia Rapids
When more than 200,000 cubic litres are forced through a narrow canyon only 15 metres across the results are spectacular. Controlled by the Taupo Control Gates, the very same bridge that you can see downstream from Riverside Apartment, the flow of water is part of hydro system planning by Mighty River Power. This also helps reduce flooding downstream in the central and northern Waikato River catchments areas.
Easily accessible and only a few minutes walk, this free attraction is New Zealand's most popular tourist attractions measured by the number of visitors.
Huka means 'foam' in maori and the water is certainly that after being ejected 8 metres and falling a further 20 metres. A pedestrian foot-bridge makes a great platform for photo opportunities. If that doesn't seem quite close enough, try booking a trip on the Huka Falls Jet to have the full thundering water experience!
To reach the Huka Falls refer to our map. Simply follow the main road north out of Taupo and look for the signs to turn off the main road to your right.
The narrow gorge of the Aratiatia Rapids fill rapidly with water when the dam gates holding back the Waikato River are opened just a few times a day. The surging water is harnessed as a source of hydroelectric power.
Ensure you arrive before the release times to get into position to view the amazing spectacle of the water flooding through this ravine.
Aratiatia Rapids release times - summer
10:00am, 12:00pm, 2:00pm and 4:00pm
Aratiatia Rapids release times - winter
10:00am, 12:00pm and 2:00pm
The rapids were made famous in Peter Jackson's film 'The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug' as the dwarves use barrels to escape the captivity of the elves.
We'd love to get your experiences and thoughts on your visit to the Huka Falls or Aratiatia Rapids. Please post your photos to our Facebook page!
If you have any feedback on this webpage or would like to ask us a question, please don't hesitate to contact us at Riverside Apartment.