Fodor's Expert Review Aratiatia Dam
The Waikato River is dammed along its length; the first construction is the Aratiatia Dam, 10 km (6 miles) northeast of Taupo. The river below it is virtually dry most of the time, but three times a day (at 10, noon, and 2), and four times a day in summer (October–March, also at 4), the dam gates are opened and the gorge is dramatically transformed into a raging torrent. Watch the spectacle from the road bridge over the river or from one of two lookout points a 15-minute walk downriver through the bush. To access the dam from Taupo, turn right off Highway 5.