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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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  • Maori Cultural Attractions

    Scenic boat tour to the Maori Rock Carvings with Chris Jolly Outdoors

    Chris Jolly Outdoors has been looking after you for 40 years and that continues during COVID-19. Our ability to socially distance you on your 90 minute tour makes us part of your 'top things to do in Taupō'. Spacious and sparkly clean.

    $35 Book now
  • Cafes

    Creel Tackle House & Cafe

    Here at Creel Cafe we are about all things: coffee, divine food, experience, sharing and social space.

  • Cafes

    Ruapehu Lounge Bar

    The historic heart of Chateau Tongariro Hotel, the Ruapehu Lounge brings yesteryear to life with plush velvet, twinkling chandeliers and a crackling log fire.

  • Support services

    Nimon & Sons

    Whether you need a bus or 5-star luxury coach for an event, conference, or tour group, we’re at your service.

  • Golf

    Mangakino Golf Club

    Mangakino Golf Club is a flat undulating 9 hole easy walking course with picturesque views of Lake Maraetai and the surrounding forests.

  • Restaurants

    Valentino's Ristorante Italiano

    We are the only licensed Italian restaurant in Turangi and have been in operation since 1990.

  • Fashion & clothing

    Stirling Sports

    Where all the leading sports brands come to play! Stirling Sports is your home for the latest sportswear clothing, training shoes, sneakers and accessories.

  • Mountain biking

    Huka river trail E bike tour, Taupo

    Enjoy a scenic E mountain bike tour and learn about our breathtaking Huka falls, crystal clear Waikato River, Aratiatia hydro dam & Rapids and finish riding past an incredible geothermal stream in Wairakei. (Some previous MTB experience is good)

    $149 Book now
  • Holiday homes

    The Lake House Mangakino

    Are you looking for a great Kiwi holiday - the Lake House is it. With amazing views from the back deck and plenty of space for your cars, boats and toys. Our bach can comfortably sleep 2 families or 8 people and is the best holiday house by the lake.

    $300 Book now
  • Cycling & Mountain Biking

    Overnight e-Bike Adventures

    Join us for the ultimate private mountain e-biking adventure in the Central North Island and stay in a luxurious remote lodge for the night. You will experience a truly private, wilderness adventure, with your very own on-site accommodation and host.

    $499 Book now
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