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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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  • Boutique & Lodge

    The Lakeview House

    Luxury Accommodation in Taupo and so much more. Welcome to The Lakeview House, one of Lake Taupo’s premier iconic properties, sitting high above Lake Taupo in the private Grandview Estate at Acacia Bay, Taupo.

    $950 - $1,150 Book now
  • Motels

    Pa Harakeke

    Pa Harakeke Pureora is the "Gateway to The Timber Trail" and offers everything you need to experience this fantastic ride which winds its way through beautiful native forest steeped in history, culture and adventure.

  • Restaurants

    Edgewater Restaurant

    In this elegant Taupo restaurant, the food is as fabulous as the views over the lake. Savour its award-winning local and international cuisine, crafted with the freshest ingredients daily.

  • Hot pools & health spas

    Taupo DeBretts Hot Springs

    Unique thermal mineral hot pools with a thrilling dragon hydro slide & two amazing heated curved racing slides, children's interactive warm water playground, private pools and spa treatments.

    $22 - $23
  • Health & beauty

    Envy Beauty and Nails

    ENVY Hair, Beauty & Nails is Taupō’s number one Hair Beauty & Nail Salon offering a wide range of services situated right in the heart of town centre Taupō. Locally owned ENVY is aligned perfectly with Taupō's slow pace and relaxed environment.

  • Gifts & souvenirs

    Simply Kiwi

    Offering a mix of traditional and contemporary kiwi creations, take home a memento of New Zealand.

  • Wineries

    Crafty TROUT Brewery

    Explore and discover craft beer and cider using Alpine Volcanic water. Tours of the first fully automated brewing system in the world. A perfect indoor activity away from the weather.

    $30
  • Rafting

    Family Fun Rafting with Tongariro River Rafting

    Want a Taupo activity that's great for the WHOLE family? Then check out family rafting on the Tongariro River. There are lots of things to do while in Taupo, but this is one that Mum, Dad, and the kids will enjoy.

    $99 Book now
  • Fashion & clothing

    Stirling Sports

    Where all the leading sports brands come to play! Stirling Sports is your home for the latest sportswear clothing, training shoes, sneakers and accessories.

  • Mountain biking

    Taupo Kayaking Adventures - Bike Tours & Bike Hire

    Kayaking with Taupo Kayak Adventures is not the only way to enjoy the stunning scenery the Great Lake Taupo region has to offer. Join our professional guides on our many bike trails. We have an unguided option which includes bike hire and shuttle.

    $100 - $400 Book now
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