Aratiatia Rapids Taupo

Aratiatia Rapids is one of the most popular natural attractions in the North Island.  Thousands of litres of rushing water creating a spectacle popular with visitors to Taupo. A unique display of man vs nature.
Aratiatia Dam opens every day for around 15 minutes. The water is released from the Aratiatia Dam down through the Aratiatia Rapids. The Rapids is believed to have been created from a volcano. The name “Aratiatia” means “stairway of Tia”.

Aratiatia Dam has been generating Hydro power since 1964. The Dam

Aratiatia Dam and Aratiatia Rapids are on the Waikato river located 16km from central Taupo. The Dam opening 3-4 times a day is worth the short drive.

Facts and information

The Aratiatia Power station is the first hydroelectric power station on the Waikato River, New Zealands longest river. Aratiatia Power station is owned by Mercury.
Aratiatia Dam and rapids are located 13km downstream of Lake Taupo.  The hydro-electricity is solely provided by the Waikato River so opening of the dam duration and frequency can vary due to seasonal flows.

Summer release hours – 10:00am, 12:00pm, 2:00pm, 4:00pm

Winter release hours – 10:00am, 12:00pm, 2:00pm

Summer – October to March, Winter – April to September

There are a number of points to view the opening of the Aratiatia Dam gates. From  the main car park you can walk 5 minutes to a choice of 2 difference view points, you can also view from the main Aratiatia bridge. There is plenty of parking at the Aratiatia dam but best to get there 10 minutes before to find a park and chose your preferred viewing point. Refer to our directions page on how to get to Aratiatia Rapids and dam.

Take a Cruise to Huka Falls from Aratiatia. Find out more...


Swimming is not permitted at the Aratiatia Rapids. It is extremely dangerous, sadly death and injuries have occurred in the past. The dam can potentially open at anytime.

Before every opening of the dam warning sirens can be heard. Listen out for these warnings and ensure only viewing from a safe viewing point.

STAY OUT of the Aratiatia Rapids spillway and downstream area at ALL times. Never enter, swim or kayak in this area.

PAY ATTENTION to signs, safety warnings and sirens. These safety warnings are in place to keep us all safe.

REMEMBER the only way to stay safe is to stay out of the spillway and downstream area completely.

BE AWARE that planned and unplanned water spills may occur at any time without warning. The spillway is live at all times, even if the siren does not sound


PLEASE CALL 0800 637 111

"Must Do" things to do across New Zealand

Save up to 40% on Everything NZ

Lava Glass Cafe
Closest Cafe to Aratiatia