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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.

  • Wedding venues

    Chateau Tongariro Hotel

    Chateau Tongariro Hotel believe in providing visitors with a timeless elegance and believe in preserving history and tradition.

  • Holiday homes

    Greenwood Lodge

    Greenwood Lodge offers seclusion, space, spectacular uninterrupted views and a front lawn that is right on the shores of Lake Taupo. Based on Hotwater Beach with its unique thermal heated water this is a seriously amazing spot.

    $600 - $900 Book now
  • Cafes

    Industrie French Kitchen

    Discover Taupo's French insipired kitchen and patisserie.

  • Rafting

    Family Fun Rafting with Tongariro River Rafting

    Want a Taupo activity that's great for the WHOLE family? Then check out family rafting on the Tongariro River. There are lots of things to do while in Taupo, but this is one that Mum, Dad, and the kids will enjoy.

    $99 Book now
  • Maori culture

    Kai Waho

    Kai Waho is an experience that is shared in the true essence of ‘manaakitanga’ with all visitors interacting with all activities.

  • Gifts & souvenirs

    KiwiGifts

    Showcasing one of the best presentations of NZ gifts and souvenirs. An excellent range of garments and every type of souvenir imaginable.

  • Maori culture

    Opotaka Historic Reserve

    Opotaka is a historical Māori pa site (fortified village) where you can learn about the history of the famous Ka Mate Haka, see the remains of the Māori settlement, and enjoy spectacular views across Lake Rotoaira to Mt Tongariro.

  • Holiday homes

    Lodge on Lomond

    Welcome to Lodge on Lomond. Semi-rural and peaceful – but only a short drive from Taupo town centre and the lakes edge. This spacious and modern lodge-style property offers more than enough room for large groups of up to 12 guests.

    $600 - $1,300 Book now
  • Takeaways & bakeries

    Sushi Paradise

    Authentic licensed Japanese sushi restaurant. Serving fresh sushi rolls and hot Japanese food!

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