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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

    Anchorage Resort - Heritage Collection

    Located on the shore of Lake Taupo. Luxury studio & 1 bedrooms, family 2 & 3 bedroom apartments. Large outdoor area with heated pools & spa pool, furniture & BBQs. Indoor spa pool and sauna. Free parking, complementary WiFi. Air conditioning.

    $150 - $480 Book now
  • Apartments

    Lake Views From 3 Mile Bay

    Near new apartment situated in the new Lakeside Subdivision at Rainbow Point. Sleeping for 4 guests - 2 bedrooms, plus 2 additional single sofa beds in living area. Total sleeping for 6. Full Kitchen facilities, own laundry & dryer. Min 2 nights stay

    $180 - $220
  • Holiday homes

    The Point Luxury Lodge - Amazing Accom

    The Point Luxury Lodge offers an exclusive holiday experience in a very private and safe, gated community. An excellent getaway from the hustle and bustle, perched directly above the beautiful Whakamoenga Point on the shores of Lake Taupo.

    $995 - $1,600 Book now
  • Rafting

    White Water Rafting - Tongariro River Rafting

    Want the BEST possible rafting experience in the Taupo Region? We're the number one rated Taupo rafting experience on TripAdvisor. We've had over 230,000 customers in the last 27 years. Hands down this is the most fun in the Taupo region!

    $145 Book now
  • Family friendly

    Coriander Lime Kitchen

    Coriander Lime Kitchen is Taupo’s only Asian cooking school that offers cooking classes for adults as well as children.

  • Motels

    Executive Motel Taupo

    We aim to provide a professional service with a personal touch. Our spacious studio units are maintained to a high standard and are ideal for both holiday stays or corporate clients. Free WiFi, SKY TV and off street parking.

    $130 - $200
  • Fishing – Fresh Water

    Poronui - Fly Fishing

    While surrounded by spectacular scenery, cast a dry fly over a big, wild trout in a crystal-clear stream at Poronui. Choose from easily accessible waters or take a helicopter flight into the mountains to uncover more private, idyllic fishing spots.

    $1,200 - $2,235 Book now
  • Cycling & mountain biking

    Waihaha Hut Track

    The Waihaha Hut Track is set in native forest within the Pureora Forest Park on the western side of Lake Taupo.

  • Hiking trails

    Oruatua Walk

    At the mouth of the Tauranga-Taupo River in the small village of Oruatua, there are two easy walking tracks to enjoy the river, the native bush of the reserves and the expansive lake views.

  • Attractions

    Lilliput Farm - Fun and Animal Park

    Lilliput offers a wonderful hands-on animal experience for all the family, in a peaceful setting. There is plenty for the children to do with fun playground activities and all our animals to feed and learn about. Bring a picnic and relax.

    $10 - $12
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