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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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  • Homewares & decor

    Bed Bath & Beyond

    Bed Bath & Beyond - bringing New Zealand the biggest range of manchester at the most competitive prices.

  • Fishing – Fresh Water

    Whakapapa Raft Fishing - Rafting New Zealand

    Whakapapa River fishing trips are a true gem, especially by river raft. The Whakapapa River is one of the most stunning rivers which flows from our local volcanoes and boasts amazing brown/rainbow trout fishing.

    $799 Book now
  • Maori Cultural Attractions

    Ernest Kemp Scenic Cruise Lake Taupo

    Daily scenic cruises to the Maori Rock Carvings onboard the Ernest Kemp, a replica steamboat. Ernest Kemp cruises daily all year round - four times during summer and twice in winter. Enjoy stunning Lake Taupo and the carvings on this 2 hour cruise.

    $35 - $45 Book now
  • Venues & accommodation

    Wairakei Resort Taupo conferences

    The team at Wairakei Resort Taupo has a long and proven history of providing meeting and conference visitors with a one of a kind experience that will be talked about for years to come.

  • Rafting

    Whitewater Rafting and Rapids Jet Combo

    Enjoy the thrills of Rapids Jet and then Experience Tongariro Rivers best Grade 3 white water action in New Zealand! You’ll raft over 50 exciting Rapids, travelling 14kms through a beautiful volcanic gorge.

    $308 Book now
  • Hotel & Lodge venues

    Omori Lodge

    Omori Lodge is hidden amongst 24 acres of a native New Zealand bush and rolling hills with panoramic views of Lake Taupo and surrounding country.

    $100 - $250
  • Holiday homes

    Lake Taupo Gem

    Boasting a hot tub, modern kitchen, 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 2 x living areas – With TVs, heat-pump/air-conditioning unit, fireplace, Netflix and indoor/outdoor flow to the back yard.

    $230 - $650 Book now
  • Restaurants

    Cobb & Co.

    Welcome to New Zealand's original restaurant and saloon. A friendly environment and warm charm that is uniquely kiwi.

  • Food & drink

    PAK'nSAVE Taupo

    Welcome to PAK'nSAVE Taupo, where our aim is to provide New Zealand's Lowest Food Prices, so we never stop looking for ways we can keep costs down in order to pass those savings on to you.

  • Jet boating

    Jetboat and Skydive Combo - Rapids jet

    Book the best adrenalin activities all at once. Skydive and Rapids Jet Taupo. Jetboat thrill ride then a Tandem skydive Jump out of a Plane over Lake Taupo.

    $408 - $488 Book now
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