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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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  • Fashion & clothing

    Albert Pointon Menswear

    Established 1957 Albert Pointon Menswear is Taupo's longest serving retail store.

  • Holiday homes

    Bayview Lake Taupo

    This spacious, modern home was given the name ‘Bayview’ due to the stunning views of the bay which can be enjoyed from the hot-tub, sun-deck, all 4 bedrooms, both living areas and dining area.

    $500 - $800 Book now
  • Event services

    Taupō Pony Parties

    We want to help take the stress and hassle of organizing your childs next birthday party.

  • Gifts & souvenirs

    New Zealand Corner

    For an amazing range of New Zealand souvenirs just come in store and visit us today.

  • Boat cruises

    Sail Barbary - eco sailing Lake Taupo

    Explore Lake Taupō on an eco-friendly scenic cruise with Sail Barbary. Enjoy stunning vistas as you set sail to explore the Māori Rock Carvings at Mine Bay. Book and enjoy a must-do experience on New Zealand's only commercial electric sail boat.

    $49 - $54 Book now
  • Motels

    Sails on the Lake

    Sails On The Lake is located just across the road from the main swimming beach on Lake Taupo and most of our rooms have spectacular views of the lake and the mountains beyond. We are just a short drive or stroll to the town centre

    $165 - $480
  • Holiday homes

    Riverside House

    While away the summer days enjoying the company of friends and family in this absolutely stunning home located on the bank of the Waikato River. It won’t be hard to switch to holiday mode the moment you arrive at this riverside retreat.

    $600 - $750 Book now
  • Cafes

    Dixie Browns

    Located on the shores of Lake Taupo, the largest fresh water lake in the southern hemisphere; enjoy views of Mt Ruapehu, Tongariro and Ngauruhoe while dining on Dixie Browns extensive menu.

  • Boat cruises

    Cruise Kakariki to the Maori Rock Carvings

    This all-year-round activity offers relaxation, fun and adventure on the water. Get right up close to this culturally significant 46 foot (14m) high rock art. Enjoy amusing and current commentary on Lake Taupo, the volcanoes and the carvings.

    $40 - $45 Book now
  • Holiday homes

    Lake Taupo Gem

    Boasting a hot tub, modern kitchen, 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 2 x living areas – With TVs, heat-pump/air-conditioning unit, fireplace, Netflix and indoor/outdoor flow to the back yard.

    $230 - $650 Book now
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