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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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  • Hotels

    Hilton Lake Taupo

    Magnificent views over New Zealand's largest lake with majestic mountains beyond are just the start of what this hotel has to offer. Hilton Lake Taupo is accessibly located midway between Auckland and Wellington.

    $200 - $500 Book now
  • Fishing – Fresh Water

    Fish Her Charters

    Fish Her Charters operates out of the Kinloch Marina we have easy access to the Western Bays of Lake Taupo. Kinloch is a short 20 minute drive from Taupo township. You will be able to enjoy the fantastic fishing that the Western Bays have to offer.

    $80 - $750
  • Holiday homes

    Dodds Delight - Kuratau Holiday Home

    Just moments away from sand between your toes - Dodds Delight offers a pet-friendly, light and spacious atmosphere and is an ideal option for a family getaway.

    $175 - $308 Book now
  • Fashion & clothing

    Addiction Streetwear

    Offering the latest in skate, moto and streetwear fashion.

  • Food & drink

    Volcanic Coffee

    Volcanic Coffee is always freshly roasted and is a blend of 100% Arabica beans, sourced from premium growers around the world. Volcanic Coffee is a boutique, family run roastery in Taupo town.

  • Fashion & clothing

    Village Squire Menswear

    Village Squire Menswear is a unique, contemporary store located in Taupō, in the heart of the North Island.

  • Beauty & wellness

    Serendipity

    Serendipity in Taupo provides a total beauty therapy solution for him and her. Whether healing or relaxing, Serendipity offers a wide range of spa and beauty treatments.

  • Motels

    Mountain View Motel

    Eleven unit motel in a quiet location away from the SH1. Only a five minute walk to the lake and a 10 minute walk to the town centre.

    $95 - $265
  • Hair salons

    Havargo

    Welcome to Havargo, Lake Taupō, New Zealand. We are a boutique hair salon with a strong focus on pampering you and providing the very finest in service and hairdressing.

  • Fishing – Fresh Water

    Sean Andrews Fly Fishing

    Based in the North Island of New Zealand Sean Andrews is a professional fly fishing guide. Sean spends over 120 days each year guiding the remote rivers and streams of the National and Forest Parks of the North Island.

    $695 - $795
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