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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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  • Markets & specialty food

    The Source Bulk Foods Taupo

    Old-fashioned grocery shopping, the modern way. We have an impressive range of bulk wholefoods, healthy snacks and organic goodies, in addition to personal and household products – all without the packaging.

  • Cycling & Mountain Biking

    Tree Trunk Gorge Guided Mountain Bike

    This is a short but beautiful track that weaves its way through native forest and includes a short steep climb, a picturesque river ford and some wooden bridges. This is an intermediate trail with lots of fun to be had.

    $75 Book now
  • Cafes

    Cadillac Cafe

    Rockabilly styled, themed 50’s & 60’s retro cafe. An iconic experience not to be missed.

  • Hiking trails

    Tama Lakes

    The Tama Lakes track forms part of the Tongariro Northern Circuit Great Walk and is a great alternative to the Tongariro Alpine Crossing.

  • Maori Cultural Attractions

    Backyard Tours

    Nau mai Hāere mai - Welcome to our backyard. Sit back, buckle in and relax as we drive you around Turangi to Tongariro National Park, the first Dual World-Heritage Park. Tours for you in-mind and we can custom transfers to suit. Contact us today!

    $60 - $180
  • Cycling & mountain biking

    Waikato River Trails

    Mountain bikers can explore a series of trails along New Zealand's longest river - the mighty Waikato River. The trails cover about 100 kilometres of previously inaccessible Southern Waikato land from Lake Karapiro to the Atiamuri Dam.

  • Restaurants

    Turangi Tavern

    Providing TAB and gaming as well as live sport and music.

  • Fashion & clothing

    Jumpers

    Jumpers Taupō are stockists of a range of quality Merino, Possum and pure New Zealand Lambswool knitwear from leading New Zealand labels.

  • Holiday homes

    Dodds Delight - Kuratau Holiday Home

    Just moments away from sand between your toes - Dodds Delight offers a pet-friendly, light and spacious atmosphere and is an ideal option for a family getaway.

    $175 - $308 Book now
  • Golf

    Wairakei Resort Taupo 9 Hole Golf Course

    Play a round of 9 hole golf on one of New Zealand's best public golf courses. Golf clubs and trolleys are available for hire, and there is a cafe and 19th Hole bar located on site for post-game refreshment.

    $15 - $25
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