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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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  • Support services

    Eventrent

    Eventrent are a hire and design company dressing events throughout the Central North Island.

  • Taupo town shops

    Oakleaf Antiques

    We buy and sell china, crystal, silver and gold, books, interesting collectibles, coins, stamps, toys, tools, the old, the unusual.

  • Farmstays

    Streamblock

    Boutique vineyard, holiday accommodation and event hire on the shores of Great Lake Taupo, New Zealand.

    $260
  • Sports & outdoors

    Souvenir Outlet

    We are an outlet souvenir store with some of New Zealand's best priced souvenirs.

  • Bed & breakfast

    Te Moenga Lodge

    Te Moenga Lodge offers guests a choice of B&B accommodation- private stand alone chalets with stunning lake views or quiet studio rooms with ensuites. With a hot-tub, outdoor pool and beautiful gardens guests can relax and enjoy a home away from home

    $190 - $345
  • Cycle Hire

    FourB Bike hire and tours

    Hard tail, full suspension and electric Mountain bikes. Electric step through road bikes and race road bikes for hire.

    $25 - $180
  • Maori Cultural Attractions

    Taupo Kayaking Adventures

    Taupo Kayaking Adventures (TKA) specialises in guided scenic tours and trips on Lake Taupo, New Zealand's largest fresh water lake, rivers, streams, walking and mountain biking tracks and trails in the Great Lake Taupo Region.

    $65 - $400 Book now
  • Custom transfers

    Mangakino Shuttle Service

    Enjoy the Beautiful Scenery of the famous Waikato River Trail as you Bike or walk in an ever-changing, Breathtaking landscape, for just a few hours, or travel more of the trail over 2 to 5 days. Shuttle, Bike Hire and accommodation available.

    $20 - $60
  • Hotels

    Millennium Hotel & Resort Manuels

    The Millennium Hotel and Resort Manuels Taupo offers lake edge accommodation and conference facilities featuring two fully licensed, award-winning restaurants.

    $153 - $400 Book now
  • Restaurants

    The Ruapehu Restaurant

    Superior dining and delicious Pacific Rim cuisine await at the Ruapehu Room, Chateau Tongariro’s renowned restaurant.

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