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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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  • Fishing – Fresh Water

    Sean Andrews Fly Fishing

    Based in the North Island of New Zealand Sean Andrews is a professional fly fishing guide. Sean spends over 120 days each year guiding the remote rivers and streams of the National and Forest Parks of the North Island.

    $695 - $795
  • Business & professional services

    Terrain Industries

    Your leading forestry, industrial & safety shop in Taupō. Buy your workplace safety clothing, safety equipment & forestry gear.

  • Adventure Travel

    Wairakei Tourist Park

    Wairakei Tourist Park is riverside and rural, thermal and thoughtful with something for adrenaline junkies, quiet plodders and most things in between.

  • Motels

    Phoenix Resort

    Situated on a picturesque rose garden, Phoenix Resort is within walking distance to the Great Lake Taupo and the city centre.

    $100 - $300 Book now
  • Fashion & clothing

    The Woolshed

    The Woolshed team offers fine New Zealand made products with great New Zealand made service. It is no ordinary shopping experience at The Woolshed, you are purchasing world renowned wool.

  • Homewares & decor

    Lindy Sweet Pea Antiques & Collectables

    We specialise in a range of delightful and exquisite home interiors, silver taxidermy and so much more!

  • Holiday homes

    Taupo Central Apartment - Amazing Accom

    Stylishly designed and furnished self-serviced apartment conveniently located only a 5 min walk from central Taupo but set in a lovely quiet area overlooking a river. Its spaciousness, tasteful decor and great amenities make for an excellent getaway.

    $245 - $395 Book now
  • Theme & leisure parks

    Huka Prawn Park

    New Zealand’s only prawn park offers a fun filled day of entertainment for the family. Pack a picnic and towel and spend the day creating exciting prawn memories to last forever.

    $29 - $29.50
  • Cafes

    Tom & Shorty Cafe

    Tom & Shorty Cafe is an eatery that provides home-made, fresh and tasty eats to the locals of Mangakino.

  • Motels

    Lake Taupo Motor Inn

    Lake Taupo Motor Inn is situated just 400 m from the shores of Lake Taupo. Enjoy breathtaking lake and mountain views from many of our well-appointed apartments and suites.

    $140 - $300 Book now
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