The track leading to the two lookout points begins 50 metres from the bridge on the true right of the river.
Before the water was diverted to the power station in 1964, the Aratiatia Rapids were the largest in Australasia - the Waikato River dropping 28 metres in just one kilometre. Today their full potential can still be seen during the scheduled daily releases. Each release lasts 15 minutes.
Opening times: 10am; 12pm; 2pm (and also 4pm from 1 October - 31 March)
The tiers of the rapids and steep walls of the gorge are remnants of an ancient volcano. It is said the the name "Aratiatia" comes from the meaning "stairway of Tia". Tia was a leader from the waka Te Arawa, and passed through the gorge with a small party on route to discovering Lake Taupo.
These are also the famous rapids used in the filming of the barrel escape scene in Peter Jackson's movie, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.
|Direction||Return via same track|
|Transport & guides||No|