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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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  • Homewares & decor

    Noel Leeming Taupo

    Noel Leeming Taupo has been proudly operating from this site for over 10 years now.

  • 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.

  • Taupo town shops

    Paper Plus Taupo

    Taupo's favourite book and stationery store.

  • Florists

    Bloomin Flowers

    Sally and her dynamic team of business partner and mum Lynn, senior florist Vici and junior florist Jackie, work from their home based studio to create that special something just for you.

  • Holiday homes

    Cushaven - Amazing Accom

    Cushaven is a superb contemporary elevated home with spectacular views over Lake Taupo to the (often snow capped) volcanic mountains at the southern end of the lake. This home is a serene haven for a relaxing holiday.

    $595 - $1,090 Book now
  • Restaurants

    No 1 China Restaurant

    No 1 China Restaurant serves authentic Chinese cuisine cooked by Chinese chefs in the heart of Taupo.

  • 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

    Hydro Eatery

    With a large array of delicious cabinet food and a lunch menu, Hydro is set in the heart of Turangi just off State Highway 1.

  • Rafting

    Whitewater Rafting and Rapids Jet Combo

    Enjoy the thrills of Rapids Jet and then Experience Tongariro Rivers best Grade 3 white water action in New Zealand! You’ll raft over 50 exciting Rapids, travelling 14kms through a beautiful volcanic gorge.

    $308 Book now
  • Takeaways & bakeries

    Turangi Bakery & Cafe

    Do not pass Turangi without getting your pie fix at Turangi Bakery & Café.

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