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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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  • Health & beauty

    Diamond Laser Medispa

    Diamond Laser Medispa is Taupō’s leading and largest beauty spa and skin clinic – your haven for beauty therapy.

  • Restaurants

    Edgewater Restaurant

    In this elegant Taupo restaurant, the food is as fabulous as the views over the lake. Savour its award-winning local and international cuisine, crafted with the freshest ingredients daily.

  • Bus & coach transport

    Mt Ruapehu Snow Shuttles - Adventure HQ

    Hiking? Skiing or Snowboarding? Sightseeing? Come and enjoy Mt Ruapehu in winter! Perfect for solo travelers, couples, families or small groups. Door to Door Premium service with the most experienced drivers Less stress, no parking issues, more fun.

    $59 - $70 Book now
  • Hot pools & health spas

    Wairakei Terraces & Thermal Health Spa

    Bathe in mineral & silica enriched thermal pools strategically located below the Wairakei silica terraces and waterfall, providing a perfect setting for complete rest and relaxation and a ‘feel back in time’ sensation.

    $15 - $25
  • Cycling & mountain biking

    Rotary Ride

    From Taupo town you can ride all the way to Huka Falls (and on to Aratiatia Dam), following the course of the Waikato River along the Huka Falls Rotary Ride.

  • Bed & breakfast

    Tongariro Adventures The Boathouse

    Exclusive use of new, purpose built accommodation comprising a kingsize bed; separate bathroom with shower, vanity unit and toilet; 3 seater comfortable, cushioned sofa, high quality furniture and fittings. Exclusive use of own outside area and BBQ

    $160 - $180 Book now
  • Fishing – Fresh Water

    LakeFun Taupo

    We are a booking office located at the Taupo Boat Harbour on Lake Taupo. We offer cheap charter boat hire, fishing trips, sightseeing trips, Jet ski hire and watersports on Lake Taupo.

    $20 - $10,000 Book now
  • Cafes

    Pihanga Cafe and T Bar

    Open for lunch and dinner, Pihanga Cafe and T-Bar entices with burgers, steaks and Italian pizzas as well as international favourites such as laksa, linguine and churros.

  • Hot pools & health spas

    Massage Connections NZ

    Tired of being in pain? Tied up in knots? Sore from overdoing it? Stressed out? Want to move better and feel better? Of course you do, we all do. You’re in luck, massage can help.

    $60 - $105
  • 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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