Riding the rapids

Last weekend we jumped in a jet boat for an exhilarating ride on the Aratiatia rapids.

We were staying with friends near Whatamauru and treated our weary bodies to a watery wake up on Sunday afternoon. Our driver took us on a 35 minute ride down the Waikato river, near Lake Taupo and just downstream for the Aratiatia dam. The rapids are flooded by the dam 4 times a day to recreate how the river used to flow before the dam was built.


Firstly we had a close up look at one of the uses of the dam’s water surge: the Aratiatia power station and the main source of hydro-electricity in the North Island.

The river’s scenery is such that NZ is famous for and no adjectives can do justice. Crisp blue water, surrounded by natural bush with native birds gliding along the surface. It also helped that it was a gorgeous sunny day (sorry UK!)

Unsurprisingly, the river has been the setting for several films, including Yogi Bear, Without a Paddle, Mr Pip and The Hobbit.


After some wave riding and spins, we floated into the shallows to spot Taupo trout.

The boat’s speed was invigorating and I couldn’t help grinning the whole time. The ride turned out to be a great hangover cure and the sun dried us off pretty quickly.

We're in the front row

We’re keen up in the front row!

We took a ride with Rapids Jet

  • Located 15 km (15 min drive) north of Taupo with a shuttle available from Taupo.
  • Open 9am – 5pm during the summer

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