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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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  • Tongariro Alpine Crossing

    Mountain shuttle

    We offer a one way Tongariro Alpine Crossing shuttle service hourly from the Tongariro shuttle car park at the finish point of the hike to the starting point Mangatepopo.

    $25 - $35 Book now
  • Sports & outdoors

    Trev Terry Marine

    Trev Terry Marine, your one stop shop for all your boating and marine needs.

  • Study/Education

    NZ Student Travel

    We organise, plan and operate small group bus tours for student groups. Whatever your needs for your group travel within New Zealand we can offer complete logistics and full operation of your tour.

    $1,000 - $4,000
  • Bungy

    AJ Hackett Bungy Taupo

    New Zealand's highest cliff-top Bungy Jump - located 47 metres (154 feet) above the Waikato River, check out the stunning views before taking the plunge into or towards the crystal clear waters below.

    $185 Book now
  • Takeaways & bakeries

    Chelsea Bakery

    Traditional New Zealand bakery and takeaway shop.

  • Cafes

    Victoria's Cafe Kitchen Bar

    Great coffee, fresh food made with love, funky eclectic interior & friendly atmosphere… life is good.

  • Sports & outdoors

    Taupo Rod & Tackle

    We specialize in all trout fishing equipment, fly fishing, spinning, trolling, harling and jigging. We have Taupō's best selection of flies and lures, and we know which ones are working!

  • Motels

    52 on Rifle Motel

    52 on Rifle Motel prides itself on delivering friendly, quality, affordable Taupo accommodation. We offer self-contained units, we're only a short walk to the town centre, and with a café across the road, this Taupo accommodation has many convenience

    $126 - $350 Book now
  • Holiday homes

    The Mooring

    The Mooring is an upmarket 3 bedroom, 3 bathroom holiday apartment within a secure complex complete with heated swimming pool, BBQ area and guest parking. Enjoy the outlook of the tranquil Waikato River and stunning views to the Marina and Lake Taupo

    $295 - $585 Book now
  • Wedding services

    Rocks & Diamonds

    Rocks & Diamonds is a full service jewellery provider that specialises in handmade designs, remodelling, repair and maintenance.

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