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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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  • Cafes

    Fern Cafe

    Fully licenced Kiwi cafe with all food cooked on premises.

  • Other wedding services

    Taupō Weddings

    Taupō Weddings & Events is your comprehensive online directory, to assist in researching & planning of your event in the Lake Taupō region.

  • Holiday homes

    Timeout@Taupo

    When timeout is required, Timeout @ Taupo is the place to go. This modern three bedroom home is split across two levels. Downstairs has three bedrooms; a queen, two king singles and a master bedroom with a large walk in wardrobe and lavish ensuite.

    $300 - $700 Book now
  • Catering

    Master of India

    Master of India strives to bring you the most authentic in Indian cuisine, complimented with traditional Indian décor.

  • Motels

    Gables Lakefront Motel

    Taupo’s contemporary Lakefront Mote, Gables, provides modern facilities, fantastic views and a warm welcome. We have Superior and Deluxe one bedroom apartments and Two and Three bedroom apartments, all of which overlook the lake.

    $200 - $600 Book now
  • Sports

    FootGolf Taupo

    FootGolf the newest sport in New Zealand, take football and golf add them together and you have FootGolf. Taupo Golf Club have introduced FootGolf alongside their traditional golf course to provide a unique FootGolf experience.

    $19
  • Restaurants

    Lake Bistro

    Enjoy delicious bistro inspired gastro pub food in a relaxed atmosphere overlooking beautiful Lake Taupo.

  • Takeaways & bakeries

    Bakers Delight Taupo

    Bakers Delight's vision is to be the world’s best fresh bread retailer that produces quality bread, provide superior service and create delight.

  • Taupo town

    Huka Falls Lookout Walk

    Take a scenic walk along the banks of the Waikato River, or simply explore the many lookout points at Huka Falls, one of the most visited natural attractions in New Zealand - these short, easy walks are great for kids.

  • Motels

    Acapulco Motor Inn

    Acapulco Motor Inn has a range of accommodation choices that can sleep from 1 to 8 guests. Some Motel units have a spa Pool or spa bath and all rooms have air conditioning.

    $100 - $350 Book now
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