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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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  • Support services

    Nimon & Sons

    Whether you need a bus or 5-star luxury coach for an event, conference, or tour group, we’re at your service.

  • Fashion & clothing

    Kathmandu

    Kathmandu has an extensive product range covering outdoor and travel clothing and equipment.

  • Venues & accommodation

    Hilton Lake Taupo conferences

    From its spectacular vantage point, Hilton Lake Taupo commands views over shimmering Lake Taupo and beyond, to where majestic mountains dominate the skyline.

  • Holiday homes

    The Mooring

    The Mooring is an upmarket 3 bedroom, 3 bathroom holiday apartment within a secure complex complete with heated swimming pool, BBQ area and guest parking. Enjoy the outlook of the tranquil Waikato River and stunning views to the Marina and Lake Taupo

    $295 - $585 Book now
  • Fishing – Fresh Water

    Taupo Lake Adventures Ltd

    Taupo Lake Adventures Ltd offer skippered trout fishing charters and scenic cruises on Lake Taupo, New Zealand aboard our charter boats Bravado III and Te Arani II operating out of Taupo Boat Harbour.

    $160 - $340
  • Gifts & souvenirs

    Jak&Co

    Jak&Co is a leading retailer specialising in art, home decor and giftware.

  • Cafes

    Pavilion Restaurant Wairakei Resort Hotel

    With a wood ceiling and an open-plan layout, the Pavilion Restaurant provides a relaxed ambience for a buffet breakfast as well as à la carte evening dining.

  • Mountain biking

    Great lake trail Accommodation & Transport package

    2 nights BnB accommodation and all transport to mountain bike the Great lake trail over 2 days including the boat transfer for Waihaha on day 1 and the K2K and W2K sections on day 2.

    $399 - $499 Book now
  • Motels

    EMotel

    eMotel is a contemporary boutique motel perfectly situated beside the main town centre, on a quiet street, opposite a park and with lake views from each room. The Lakefront is only a few hundred metres away. The accommodation is superior luxury.

    $160 - $520 Book now
  • Homewares & decor

    Lincraft Taupō

    Lincraft Taupō is a retail chain specialising in craft, fabric, yarn, haberdashery, window furnishings, manchester and fashion accessories.

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