Aratiatia Rapids and Huka FallsNovember 10, 2016 in New Zealand
This morning was an early start as we had to get off and head to the Aratiatia dam for half 9 in time for gates opening at 10. This is the first location from the hobbit films, outside of hobbiton, that we have been to and we were looking forward to it. For those who have seen the hobbit, we believe it is in the second movie that they are sent downstream in barrels and this is where they filmed it with a load of empty barrels.
We got there with half an hour to spare and so checked out the two viewing points to get the beat view and shot of the Rapids. When we arrived the stream was just that, a little stream between a narrow gorge that was made up of green moss coloured rocks and jungle. We could see the dam gates in the distance and got our cameras set up along with the few other people there. The siren rang out with 10 and then 5 minutes to go and Rob had a panic when he realised his memory card as almost full and the blank one didn't want to work 😩(the panic made worse by the sound of the siren! Sounds like an air raid).
Finally we were all ready with video and time lapse prepped and we waited. Eventually at pretty much bang on the dot the siren rang out again, this time for much longer and it felt a bit like the end of the world (the girl next to me who turned out to be American commented at this point that it kinda felt like that to her after the vote...oops!)
Back to the amazing spectacle though! Water gushed out the gates and we all waited a good few minutes before you could begin to see it fill up a large natural pool in the distance, and then heat it as it spilled over the edge of this and down into the stream. The water just rose up and up, from a dark blue to a beautiful pale blue mixed with white water. It looked incredible and the difference a few minutes made was unreal. It was a totally different picture now and after taking plenty of photos we stood, watching and listening to the roar and imagining little dwarves inside barrels. We sat and watched as t started to go down again too, slowly returning to the little stream it once was. Very glad we made it for the dam release!
After this we headed to Huka Falls just down the road. I remembered this from my last trip and just remember the roaring torrent of white water that seemed to charge through a natural and very thin channel between two parts of a rather gentle river. Rob was a bit surprised as for a waterfall these do appear more like rapids, but you can't help but once again be amazed by it. So incredibly loud and the colour again is just so beautiful. At the end of what appears to be Rapids, but is very shallow falls, you get the larger fall at the very end that spills out into the river downstream. This part looks a lot more like a waterfall and the power from the water is very obvious. The water here around the falls is a very pale blue and white, gradually fading in swirls into the the dark blue waters of the river.
Rob was there with the tripod, as was another man with whom an acknowledging look of tripod nerdiness was shared (his wife also looked at me in a .... you will always be waiting for the photo kind of way lol). The photos though are so worth the nerdiness, they look great and hopefully I can put them on here soon!
We also tried from here to get to a natural cave that we had heard about online. We found the route but it was a bit too treacherous. I got half way down some rocks where someone had secured a rope, before realising the drop down was too high to get back up for me. Rob then had a go and made it down but said the rest of the path was too dangerous so we gave it a miss. Never mind!
Back to the van for lunch and then off to Lake Taupo for a wander around and to figure out where to stay before walking the Tongariro Alpine Crossing in the morning.Read more