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Aratiatia Dam Walk

Home  »  North Island Walks  »  Taupo  »  Aratiatia Dam Walk – Walk detail

The Aratiatia Dam walk is a very easy 55 minute walk over 1.2ks. Watch the spillway gates open for an exciting view of the rapidly flowing water, it’s great to see.

Quick Facts

        • Location: Central North Island, Taupo
        • Distance: 1.20 kms
        • Time needed: 55 Minutes
        • Difficulty: Very Easy
        • Wheelchair Access: No
        • Route: Round Trip
        • Elevation: 298m
        • Wet Feet: No
        • Toilets: Yes
        • Dogs: No
        • Mobile Coverage: No
        • Last Updated: November, 2019
  • Track Highlights

    Opening up the dam gates to release water over the rapids.  Keep an eye on the gate times, 1000h, 1200h, 1400h and only in the summer time 1600h. Get there early and walk to the lookout points.

  • Track Quality

    Very Good

  • Hazards

    There are cliffs around the walk so watch out if you get off the track.  Steep drop off down to the river

  • Transport


  • Water


  • Driving Instructions


  • Shops or Restaurants nearby

    See restaurants in Taupo

  • Area & Track History

    Aratiatia Power Station was the first hydroelectric power station on the Waikato River, it was built in the 1960. From the Aratiatia Dam the Waikato River drops 28 metres over one kilometre and is a sight to see when the spillway gates are opened four times a day. The Aratiatia Rapids were also featured in Peter Jackson’s latest movie The Hobbit where Bilbo Baggins rescues the dwarfs from elves by hiding them in barrels which float down river.

  • Best Things To Do near this walk

  • Map location of Aratiatia Dam Walk

    Map of walk

Points of interest along the walk

In the map above, if you zoom in on the walk, you’ll see all the following track points and their location. Each point has photos along with a description about each one.

Point 1: Aratiatia Dam Walk Carpark

There is no problem finding a carpark. You can park on both sides of the road. To find the track, cross over road so you are on the down side of the river. Look down river and 25Mt to your right is the track. If you can time your walk to 10am,12 pm 2pm you will see the floodgates open.

Point 2: Viewing platform

Now walk along this track for ten minutes then take the track to your left. This will take you down to the gorge viewing platform. 10am, 12pm, 2pm, 4pm are the best times to see the floodgates open, in the winter the times are different. If you have time up your sleeve, go back to the turnoff and turn left and walk out to the lookout. This is about 20 minutes. This lookout was built by the power house workers, who lived right behind you. All you will see now is sealed roads and hectares of Blackberry’s.

All walks in Taupo…

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Contact info

Aratiatia Village Road, Rotokawa 3378, New Zealand

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