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Mt Urchin, Kaimanawa Forest Park
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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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  • Holiday homes

    Dodds Delight - Kuratau Holiday Home

    Just moments away from sand between your toes - Dodds Delight offers a pet-friendly, light and spacious atmosphere and is an ideal option for a family getaway.

    $175 - $308 Book now
  • Cycling & Mountain Biking

    Bikes on Taupo

    Bikes on Taupo is Taupo's most convenient family focused bike rental business; with bikes starting from $20 for two hours and plenty of trails to keep you busy and having fun. Why not see the beautiful lake and scenery with one of our bikes?

    $20 - $60
  • Hair salons

    Mancraft Barbers

    Mancraft is the new age barbers and skincare for all men. Creating tailor made haircuts and customised skin solutions for the perfect healthy manly look.

  • Cafes

    Revive Coffee

    Revive Coffee is the coolest little coffee shop in town.

  • Holiday homes

    Rhode House - Taupo Holiday Home

    Rhode House is a 4 bedroom 4 bathroom Taupo holiday home with peaceful lake views and WiFi. This well appointed holiday home is an excellent family option, just a 5 minute walk to the waters edge, and a 5 minute drive into the town centre.

    $250 - $555 Book now
  • Activities & teambuilding

    Crafty Trout Brewery conference

    Crafty Trout Brewing Co. uses Lake Taupo’s mineral waters formed through volcanic fire and glacial ice along with New Zealand’s finest malts, hops and yeast.

  • Bus & coach transport

    Backyard Tours - Custom Transport Tours

    Nau mai Hāere mai - Welcome to our backyard. Visitor's journey is ensured whilst enjoying views and scenic historical sights in and around Turangi, Lake Taupō and the Tongariro National Park. Choice of activities or café styles can be added too.

    $70 - $90 Book now
  • Holiday homes

    Serenity @ 6

    If you’re looking for serenity, look no further. The living area leads out to a beautiful covered entertaining area with an inviting spa-pool that can be used all year round.

    $300 - $650 Book now
  • Holiday homes

    The Point Luxury Lodge - Amazing Accom

    The Point Luxury Lodge offers an exclusive holiday experience in a very private and safe, gated community. An excellent getaway from the hustle and bustle, perched directly above the beautiful Whakamoenga Point on the shores of Lake Taupo.

    $995 - $1,600 Book now
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