Aratiatia is just downstream of Huka Falls. Water is released twice a day and gives wanna-be suitors a good chance to see how the rapids form and what level of challenge they are prepared to take on. It is a serious proposition and requires strategically placed throw baggers at a couple of places.
The technical/commitment crux comes at the weir halfway down. This ghastly hydraulic has seen some very hyperactive paddling from those caught in its backwash. Establishing an acknowledged grading of Aratiatia is difficult – needless to say it is big and hard and weighs in around the V-VI area. Good luck.
45 Degrees South by Joerg Waidleich (2012, 5:07) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R9_Qn4Mc7Wc
To get to the rapids: from Taupo drive north on SH5 about 12km. The turn off is signposted Aratiatia Dam.
Norwegian guru, Flemming Schmidt, paddled the rapids at full flow for the first time in 1998. In his typical style he made it look easy and closed another chapter in NZ kayaking history. It has been run at a range of flows by a number of paddlers whose names make a list of some of the very best kayakers in the world. To date there haven’t been any major incidents.