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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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  • Maori Cultural Attractions

    Kayak to the Maori Rock Carvings with Canoe & Kayak

    Let Canoe & Kayak take you on a kayak adventure across stunning Lake Taupo while taking in all the beautiful views of the surrounding coastline and neighbouring mountains before getting up close and personal to the iconic Maori Rock Carvings.

    $99 Book now
  • Hiking trails

    Boyd, Oamaru and Cascade Hut tracks

    You can combine these hiking tracks for a multi-night tramp with lush beech forest, river crossings and wildlife.

  • Art galleries

    Tukairangi Gallery / Ross Palmer Pottery

    Tukairangi Gallery is the home and studio of master potter Ross Palmer, and his wife Annie. Discover an always-evolving range of beautiful handmade wheel-thrown and dramatic free-form ware, all in signature rich colourful glazes.

  • Holiday homes

    Little Lockwood - Kuratau Bach

    Little Lockwood is a cosy 3 bedroom plus sleepout Kuratau bach. This cute and casual lake base is just a short walk through the reserve to the Lake. Enjoy the beautiful scenery just minutes from your door.

    $119 - $260 Book now
  • Photography & videography

    Filmsutra

    We offer wedding photography and wedding videography in Taupō and New Zealand.

  • Homewares & decor

    eKo

    We provide a stunning collection of unique clothing, jewellery and homewares imported from all over the world including; Italy, Morocco and Southern Asia. We like to think we have something for everyone!

  • Motels

    Absolute Lake View Motel

    We (Gerard & Moe) are the owners here-a historic building-situated across from the lake in front of McDonalds / Liquor King, next to Taupos town center. Our 23 units are modern and clean. Our indoor heated pool, sauna and spa are refreshing.

    $120 - $280
  • Boutique & Lodge

    Wharewaka Lodge

    Absolute lake edge property. Luxury accommodation. Receive a warm welcome from well travelled hosts.Boutique accommodation in comfortable, well appointed rooms with en suite facilities. Quiet location with restaurants and spas nearby.

    $415
  • Hunting

    Harakeke Shooting

    Harakeke Shooting is a game simulated claybird shooting range located 10 minutes north of Taupo. With a country style shooting lodge it is the perfect venue for small business functions and group events

    $25 - $200
  • Bus & coach transport

    Taupo return shuttle for the Tongariro Alpine Crossing

    Taupo return shuttle picks you up from Taupo takes you to the track start then picks you up from the end of the track and takes you back to Taupo again. We give you a free map and information sheet.

    $70 Book now
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