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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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  • Holiday homes

    Villa 1 Tatamoana - Amazing Accom

    A stunning waterfront luxury holiday house that is simply the best accommodation Lake Taupo has. 2 tennis courts, swimming pool, direct beach access, absolute privacy, views forever, and an outstanding quality make this a stunning vacation rental.

    $1,150 - $1,300 Book now
  • Cafes

    Baked With Love

    The dynamic duo of Kim & Scott have hit the ground running, since swapping corporate jobs in busy Auckland to the hospitality industry in Taupo.

  • Business & professional services

    Acacia Bay Nursery

    Family-owned nursery offering sound advice along with a wide selection of high-quality products and services to enhance and beautify homes and gardens throughout all seasons.

  • Holiday parks & campgrounds

    Taupo TOP 10 Holiday Park

    A great kiwi holiday spot with a natural thermal plunge pool and a good range of accommodation. A super base to explore the Aratiatia Rapids or Mt Ngauruhoe also known as "Mt Doom". Both attractions feature in the Lord of the Rings films.

    $20 - $154 Book now
  • Fashion & clothing

    Marmot Outlet Taupo

    Since 1974 Marmot have been committed to designing the highest quality performance clothing and equipment. Our Taupo outlet store has amazing 30-50% off deals. Come in and chat to our knowledgeable staff today.

  • Activities & teambuilding

    Tongariro River Rafting - Mountain biking and team building

    Enjoy a grade 3+ whitewater rafting experience that combines the heart pumping action of more than 60 rapids with splendid scenery and wildlife.

  • Health & beauty

    Skinmatters

    At skinmatters, our focus is on keeping your skin in optimal health, and in some cases healing and rebalancing to restore your skin’s function and vitality.

  • Boutique & Lodge

    Whakaipo Lodge

    TripAdvisor Travellers' Choice 2019 & 2018 Award Winners & Supreme Winner of 2020, 2018 & 2016 NZ B&B Association Excellence Awards. Stunning location, luxury accommodation, fab food & wine and an authentic boutique lodge experience near the lake.

    $295 - $425 Book now
  • Visitor Information Centre

    Taupo i-SITE Visitor Information Centre

    We provide a comprehensive, impartial information an booking service for Taupo, the Great Lake Taupo Region and New Zealand for accommodation, activities, attractions and travel bookings.

  • Restaurants

    Turangi Tavern

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

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