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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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  • Gifts & souvenirs

    1st Choice Engravers & Badges

    Specialising in awards, trophies, name badges and general laser engraving.

  • Health & wellness

    Love Yoga Taupo

    Welcome to Love Yoga Taupō, a space where you can relax, take a breath and connect with your heart.

  • Motels

    Bay Court Lakefront Motel

    Bay Court Lakefront Motel is situated just across the road from the lake, 1 kilometre from town. Twelve spacious, smoke free units - bedroom, lounge, kitchen and bathroom - some with spa bath.

    $120 - $170
  • Other wedding services

    The Invite Store

    Luxury wedding and event stationery locally designed and made in Taupo, New Zealand. Ready to order and custom designed invitations and stationery, from first birthdays to wedding stationery. Save the date cards, wedding invitations, on the day stationery, signage, thank you cards.

  • Holiday homes

    Central By The Lake with Hot Tub - Taupo Holiday Home

    Need a cosy holiday to recharge the batteries? 'Central By The Lake' is a warm and welcoming spot, ready and waiting to host your stay.

    $186 - $406 Book now
  • Cafes

    Pavilion Restaurant Wairakei Resort Hotel

    With a wood ceiling and an open-plan layout, the Pavilion Restaurant provides a relaxed ambience for a buffet breakfast as well as à la carte evening dining.

  • Holiday homes

    Muritai House

    When space is important Muritai House is the pick of the bunch. House is an understatement – perhaps we should be calling this Muritai Castle.

    $700 - $1,500 Book now
  • Backpackers & hostels

    Tukino Lodge - Tukino Alpine Sports Club

    Tukino Lodge is owned and operated by the Tukino Alpine Sports Club. One of three lodges at Tukino Ski Field on the eastern slopes of Mt Ruapehu. We provide affordable and comfortable accommodation on the mountain for our members and guests.

    $30 - $77 Book now
  • Homewares & decor

    Lake Furnishings

    The little shop with everything truely does almost have everything! We believe your home should reflect your personal taste and style.

  • Taupo town shops

    Taupo Hobbies

    Taupō Hobbies. Games, Puzzles, Models, Vehicle Kitsets, Remote Controled Vehilces, Helicopters, Airplanes, Trains and Accessories.

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