Friday, 11 April 2014

Aratiatia Rapids!

I can remember when in my teens my parents took my sister and I to see the Aratiatia Rapids on the Waikato River.  When passing this way in later years I have been unable to find them.

Now I know in the early 1960’s that Aratiatia Hydro Electric Power Station was built and I assumed the rapids were no longer.   Not so the rapids still exist although water only flows through a few times a day when water is released from the Dam, even if only for 15 minutes at a time.  As we were so close we decided to pay them a visit.

The Power Station is now owned by Mighty River Power which the Government recently put up for sale.

Dam in the background water now in the rapids

Before construction of the dam and hydro station, the Aratiatia Rapids were a prominent feature on the Waikato River. The
dam construction meant that no water flowed over the rapids. However, several times a day, the Aratiatia dam gates of the
Waikato River are opened, which restores the rapids to their normal operation.

Aratiatia Dam before the gates opened.Aratiatia Dam before the gates opened.One gate open.One gate open.Both Gates open for 15 minutes.Both Gates open for 15 minutes.Water heading for the RapidsWater heading for the Rapids.Doesn't take long.Doesn't take long.Aratiatia Power Station in the distance.Dam in the background water now in the rapids.

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.

Heading back to Taupo we were looking for a place to stay.  Five Mile Bay had been recommended to us so that's where we are off to.

A perfect place to spend the night.Five Mile Bay - A perfect place to spend the night.

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