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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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  • Restaurants

    Plateau Bar & Eatery

    Located on the shores of Lake Taupo, Plateau Bar & Eatery is an award-winning New Zealand meeting place that serves the finest craft beers and kiwi inspired cuisine.

  • Mountain biking

    Great lake trail Accommodation & Transport package

    2 nights BnB accommodation and all transport to mountain bike the Great lake trail over 2 days including the boat transfer for Waihaha on day 1 and the K2K and W2K sections on day 2.

    $399 - $499 Book now
  • Motorcycling

    Born2Ride Tours

    We arrange scenic tours across NZ. The bikes, itinerary, accommodation are all taken care of. Two of our experienced guides, who have traveled around the world on motorcycles will accompany you all the way.

    $14,660 - $45,306 Book now
  • Holiday homes

    Parehopu Lake House - Taupo Holiday Home

    Had enough of the city? Feel the need to make some family memories? Or do you just need that weekend away by the Lake? Head to Parehopu Lake House.

    $140 - $349 Book now
  • Motels

    Anchorage Resort - Heritage Collection

    Located on the shore of Lake Taupo. Luxury studio & 1 bedrooms, family 2 & 3 bedroom apartments. Large outdoor area with heated pools & spa pool, furniture & BBQs. Indoor spa pool and sauna. Free parking, complementary WiFi. Air conditioning.

    $150 - $480 Book now
  • Sports

    Zone Escapes

    Zone Escapes runs epic fitness retreats in amazing locations, letting you unleash, unwind, escape and explore through group training, fun and relaxation.

    $1,200 - $1,400
  • Ski & snowboard

    Tukino Ski Field

    Tukino Ski Field is a club-operated ski field located on the eastern slopes of Mt Ruapehu. It is open to the public and operates just like a small commercial field.

  • Catering

    Master of India

    Master of India strives to bring you the most authentic in Indian cuisine, complimented with traditional Indian décor.

  • Restaurants

    Lakehouse

    Lakehouse Taupo as a table service restaurant we specialise in stone grill meals and gourmet dishes with an extensive range of Wine and Craft beer.

  • Cafes

    Kefi at the Hub

    KEFI at the Hub serves divine breakfast and lunch dishes as well as healthy organic and gluten free options.

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