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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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  • Miscellaneous madness

    Formula Challenge Racing

    At Formula Challenge, we pride ourselves at being able to deliver New Zealand's best motorsport experiences. With 25 years of experience behind us, Formula Challenge is the ultimate experience for motosport.

    $390 - $690 Book now
  • Sports & outdoors

    Gordon's Outdoor Equipment Taupo

    Gordon's Outdoor Equipment specialise in providing you with all the quality equipment you need for your outdoor adventure. Whether it be skiing, snowboarding, tramping, camping, nordic walking or just walking the dog, we would love to help you!

  • Boat cruises

    Chris Jolly Outdoors Taurikura Maori Cultural Scenic Cruise Experience

    Hear the songs and stories of ancient Tuwharetoa, participate in interactive Maori performances and traditional games, learn to work the poi and even get your own moko tattoo on this special Lake Taupo Maori culture scenic cruise.

    $45 - $55 Book now
  • Health & beauty

    Cremebrulee Hair & Beauty

    Indulge in our gorgeous chandelier lit, contemporary French style hair and beauty salon in Taupo, New Zealand.

  • Markets & specialty food

    Constables Corner

    A locally owned family business offering a wide range of cakes and catering for any occasion. We hand-make all our products, from catering to cakes.

  • Restaurants

    Kissa-Kai Japanese Cafe and Restaurant

    Kissa Kai is a licensed Japanese cafe and restaurant who brings you the delicious authentic Japanese delights.

  • Gardens

    Off Road Segway Experience

    Go from Beginner to Pro, starting out with learning how to ride and control your segway, before circling and weaving in and out of the trees, up and down slopes. A great option for families and groups. Upgrades to Thermal Safari, subject to avail

    $75
  • Luxury Lodge

    Lake Taupo Lodge

    Lake Taupo Lodge offers 5 star luxury accommodation with dinner by arrangement. The focus is on gracious living and the six guest suites are luxurious examples of world class accommodation.

    $495 - $695 Book now
  • Cycling & mountain biking

    W2K section of the Great Lake Trails

    The W2K section of the Great Lake Trails provides great views across Lake Taupo and back down towards Kinloch, one of the most beautiful lakeside villages in the country.

  • Boat cruises

    Kindred Spirit - Maori Carvings Sailing Tour

    Escape the hectic of life and experience the beauty of the lake and the Māori Rock Carvings on Lake Taupō's largest charter yacht Kindred Spirit with superior comfort

    $39 - $59
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