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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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  • Fashion & clothing

    The Warehouse

    Did you know nearly every New Zealander visits us at least once a year? That’s because everyone knows The Warehouse is... sing it with with us... "Where everyone gets a bargain."

  • Cycling & mountain biking

    Great Lake Pathway (Lion's Walk)

    Voted New Zealand's Favourite Urban Ride in 2017, the Great Lake Pathway (Lion's Walk) is perfectly suited for families and offers spectacular views across Lake Taupo to the snow-capped peaks of Mt Tongariro, Mt Ngauruhoe and Mt Ruapehu.

  • Shop & Services

    Secondtime Home Interiors

    We specialise in new and used home interiors.

  • Walking & hiking

    Tongariro Lodge - Activities

    Tongariro Lodge makes the perfect base to enjoy the World Heritage Tongariro National Park and are experts at arranging Heli-Hiking,Guided Walks and the Tongariro Alpine Crossing .

    $200 - $1,500
  • Bus & coach transport

    Backyard Tours - Custom Transport Tours

    Nau mai Hāere mai - Welcome to our backyard. Visitor's journey is ensured whilst enjoying views and scenic historical sights in and around Turangi, Lake Taupō and the Tongariro National Park. Choice of activities or café styles can be added too.

    $70 - $90 Book now
  • Holiday homes

    Botanical Hideaway

    Just as the name suggests, “Botanical Hideaway” is a tranquil oasis surrounded by trees, and backing onto the stunning Botanical Gardens. Private and peaceful, the only sound you will hear is that of birds singing.

    $180 - $500 Book now
  • Holiday homes

    Waipapa Cottage

    Waipapa Cottage is a 3 bedroom Kuratau holiday home with Wi-Fi, lakefront living, and a spa pool. Situated on the pristine southwestern shores of Lake Taupo, this serene holiday spot offers breathtaking, elevated lakefront views.

    $225 - $325 Book now
  • Sports & outdoors

    Trev Terry Marine

    Trev Terry Marine, your one stop shop for all your boating and marine needs.

  • Motels

    Phoenix Resort

    Situated on a picturesque rose garden, Phoenix Resort is within walking distance to the Great Lake Taupo and the city centre.

    $100 - $300 Book now
  • Cafes

    Fine Fettle Cafe

    Taupo's organic whole food cafe. Natural wholefood cafe serving food as it should be.

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