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Mt Urchin, Kaimanawa Forest Park
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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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  • Rafting

    Tongariro White Water - Rafting New Zealand

    The Tongariro Whitewater Grade 3 is our most popular adventure and thNZ's best half day rafting adventure - Our most popular trip - You'll raft over 50 plus exciting rapids, through a beautiful volcanic gorge & enjoy on river hot chocolate & snacks.

    $119 - $179 Book now
  • Restaurants

    RUST

    RUST is a licensed gourmet burger bar in Turangi town centre serving breakfast, lunch, dinner, drinks and coffee.

  • Arts, Culture and Heritage

    Coriander Lime Kitchen

    Coriander Lime Kitchen is a cook school that offers cooking classes for adults and children. We are absolutely thrilled and proud to be launching the only cook school in beautiful Taupo featuring flavours from Asia and other modern flavours.

    $70 - $120
  • Fashion & clothing

    Postie +

    At Postie+ you’ll find fashion for everyday and essentials for every occasion. We pride ourselves on offering great quality for the whole family.

  • Fishing – Fresh Water

    Bryce Curle Fly Fishing Guide

    Bryce Curle Fly Fishing has been operating in the Central North Island / Great Lake Taupo region since 1998, he offers a professional and true Kiwi Fishing Experience for the novice through to the most experienced angler. A service that is unmatched.

    $350 - $650
  • Fashion & clothing

    Fabryx

    Fabryx is based in Taupō, NZ. We have the largest wool selection in our area. We stock all haberdashery, embellishments, patterns, wool and fabric.

  • Restaurants

    Vine Eatery & Bar

    Mediterranean and New Zealand cuisine, craft beer, fine wine & cocktail lounge in the heart of Taupo.

  • Bus & coach transport

    InterCity Taupo

    Get bus fares from just $1 (plus booking fee)on New Zealand's largest transport network. InterCity operates a fleet of modern comfortable air-conditioned buses with daily services nationwide.

    $1 - $200 Book now
  • Bed & breakfast

    Tongariro Adventures

    We’d love to host you in our unique part of paradise here at Kuratau, on the southern shores of Lake Taupo, under the majestic mountains of Tongariro National Park. The many wonderful experiences the region has to offer are at our doorstep.

    $145 - $180 Book now
  • Apartments

    Clearwater Motor Lodge

    Situated on the shores of New Zealand's favourite Lake Taupo Clearwater has 10 quality units overlooking the lake all with in-room spas, full kitchen facilities. 6 units with air-conditioning. Quiet location, off street parking and free Wi-Fi.

    $155 - $243 Book now
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