|Waikato River At Reids Farm|
Reids Farm (soon to be renamed Hipapatua) is a park beside the Waikato River on the Huka Falls Road where free camping subject to certain rules is allowed.
It’s a beautiful spot where the Waikato River winds its way gently until it reaches three channels which are shallower than upstream. The River then speeds up and moves through three channels three channels which are set up for kayaking and canoeing. There are many suspended kayaking gates which are permanently attached to wires over the river.
|Kayaking & Canoeing Gates|
On the west side of the three channels is a kind of lagoon where the water is almost stagnant or not moving. This is the safest place to swim although many good swimmers try the other parts of the River. However, only strong swimmers should even think about doing this because the current is swift and there can be unseen obstacles under the water.
You can get a good idea of the fluctuating levels of the Waikato River at Reids Farm by just looking at the exposed rocks on the side. At times when the River is high these rocks will be completely covered and the River will become much more dangerous to swim in.
There are lavatory facilities and lots of rubbish bins in the park so it is quite a good place if you are interested in saving money by camping for free. But in any 14-day period you are only allowed to camp at Reids Farm for seven days. After that you must move on.
Also there are no fires allowed in the park so if you want to sit around a fire in the evenings perhaps Reids Farm is not the place for you.
Interestingly, the Council advises on their notice that the water is not potable which presumably means it’s not a good idea to cook with it.
Reids Farm remains now one of the only places in Taupo where you can stay for free and hopefully long may that be the case. It is soon to be subject to a new management plan (Taupo Times 27th June, 2017). The new name Hipapatua (waka landing) is in recognition of its “status as a recreation reserve and camping site”.
The new plan is more restrictive than the rules that currently apply and will allow campers to be able only to park about 50 metres from the Waikato River’s edge in two ‘freedom camping zones’. So the areas where camping takes place currently will be off limits. And the new rules allow campers to stay for only three nights in any 14 day period which is also more restrictive than the rules that currently apply.
For the time being the Taupo District Council is going to use the name Hipapatua/Reid’s Farm for the location.