Near the Huka Falls, there is a place downstream called Aratiatia Rapids. The Aratiatia Power Station is the first hydro-power station built on the Waikato River. The power company that operates the station opens the gates at regular intervals to suit the power generation needs.
There are eight power generation plants along the Waikato River which generates 13% of New Zealand's electricity. Aratiatia is best know for it's scenic features. The lookouts were built on very hilly terrains. It was an amazing experience to observe water flows and twists on these rocky corners.
|Moments before the gates were opened|
You can find walking tracks near Aratiatia. It takes approximately two hours (one way) to walk from Aratiatia to the Huka Falls. When compared to the famous Huka Falls, Aratiatia Rapids is not as well known to visitors, making it a great spot for taking specular scenic photographs. The various lookouts of the gates and the river are only 5 to 15 minutes walk from the carpark.
|This is New Zealand!|
The gates open at regular intervals on each day. It is best to plan your trip and arrive around these times. You can find the official time tables on the power station's website. The current operator is Mighty River Power. These times are unlikely to change regularly, as what they do at upstream will affect what happens at downstream. (There are seven more power stations downstream.)
At every session, the gates are opened for half an hour. Within that time, be prepared to walk or even climb up and down rocky staircase. It's great fun to watch clean water flowing!
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