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Kaimanawa Forest Park

Wild and ancient, the river-run mountains of the Kaimanawa Forest Park have long called to adventurers and hunters. Wild horses, sika and red deer roam the park, and the mostly untouched native beech forests are alive with native birds (including kiwi), insects, the large indigenous snail Powelliphanta marchanti, and native bats.

Lying to the south-east of Lake Taupo across the Kaimanawa Ranges, the vast park encompasses tussockland, native bush and shrubland. Visitors to the park can expect the unexpected, from the surprise appearance of a deer, wild horse, or recreational hunter, to New Zealand soldiers dropping in by helicopter to practice army manoeuvres in the park’s rugged terrain. 

There are beautiful forest walks for tramping, including one that leads to the rocky river canyon known as the Pillars of Hercules, and an easy forest loop with an unusual variety of native trees.

The Kaimanawa Heritage Horses

The park’s quiet, hardy mixed-breed wild horses have been living here since the late 1800s. After the New Zealand government declared them protected in 1981, the population grew so large they were endangering the natural ecosystem. The population is now maintained at around 300, with a bi-annual muster that aims to find homes for all the mustered horses.

Things to do in the Kaimanawa Forest Park

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  • Motels

    Ashbrook Motel

    Ashbrook Motel offers superior accommodation, spacious 1 and 2 bedroom suites in a quiet location yet so close to town and all attractions.

    $125 - $280
  • Cafes

    Hydro Eatery

    With a large array of delicious cabinet food and a lunch menu, Hydro is set in the heart of Turangi just off State Highway 1.

  • Heritage attractions

    Geothermal Segway Safari

    Off-road Thermal Safari. 1.5hrs - 2hrs. Off-road segway Training and trails followed by a historic and geothermal journey through Wairakei Resort & neighbouring forest.

    $125
  • Fishing – Fresh Water

    Tongariro River Rafting

    Welcome to Tongariro River Rafting: we’re a fun, friendly, family-owned company offering guided Tongariro River experiences from our awesome home base in Turangi. For down-to-earth Kiwi backcountry fun, we can’t be beat!

    $99 - $700 Book now
  • Boutique & Lodge

    Acacia Heights Gardens

    Acacia Heights Gardens provides quiet B&B accommodation in spacious park-like grounds with wide rural and Lake Taupo views. Relax in the spa pool, retreat to the gazebo overlooking the lake, rest and recover from your travels in this peaceful oasis.

    $200 - $290 Book now
  • Holiday homes

    The Farmhouse

    This is the ultimate place to enjoy a countryside getaway while still being close to town (only a 12 minute drive to Taupo Town Centre). Four bedroom home including stand alone sleep out next to the front door.

    $200 - $600 Book now
  • Medical

    Unichem Mainstreet Pharmacy

    Unichem Mainstreet Pharmacy is a modern, friendly pharmacy and is Taupō's only pharmacy that is open late 7 days per week.

  • Bike retail & repair

    BikeSale

    The go-to bike shop for great deals and affordable prices.

  • Holiday homes

    Villa 2 Ngahere - Amazing Accom

    A stunning waterfront luxury holiday house that is simply the best accommodation Lake Taupo has. 2 tennis courts, swimming pool, direct beach access, absolute privacy, views forever, and outstanding quality make this a stunning vacation rental.

    $1,150 - $1,600 Book now
  • Holiday homes

    Muritai House

    When space is important Muritai House is the pick of the bunch. House is an understatement – perhaps we should be calling this Muritai Castle.

    $700 - $1,500 Book now
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