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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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  • Motels

    Bay Court Lakefront Motel

    Bay Court Lakefront Motel is situated just across the road from the lake, 1 kilometre from town. Twelve spacious, smoke free units - bedroom, lounge, kitchen and bathroom - some with spa bath.

    $120 - $170
  • Rafting

    Whitewater Rafting and Rapids Jet Combo

    Enjoy the thrills of Rapids Jet and then Experience Tongariro Rivers best Grade 3 white water action in New Zealand! You’ll raft over 50 exciting Rapids, travelling 14kms through a beautiful volcanic gorge.

    $308 Book now
  • Mountain biking

    Great lake trail Accommodation & Transport package

    2 nights BnB accommodation and all transport to mountain bike the Great lake trail over 2 days including the boat transfer for Waihaha on day 1 and the K2K and W2K sections on day 2.

    $399 - $499 Book now
  • Medical

    OPSM Taupo

    OPSM have been helping people see and be seen for over 85 years. We don’t just focus on eyes, we see people for who they are — and who they aspire to be.

  • Fishing – Fresh Water

    Raft Fishing - Tongariro River Rafting

    Raft fishing trips can be made to suit every angler's specific needs. Experienced guides are available to help locate and net your first fat Taupo Rainbow Trout. The Tongariro River is world famous for its trout fishing.

    $700 - $750 Book now
  • Gifts & souvenirs

    Collaboration

    Our modern eclectic retail store works with our suppliers to bring the best solutions of design and gifts so that we can work in collaboration with our fab customers!

  • Holiday homes

    A Stone's Throw - Kuratau Holiday Home

    A Stone's Throw is a 3 bedroom 1 bathroom Kuratau holiday home. This home is ideally situated just 1 minutes walk from the shores of Lake Taupo, and with space to sleep 8 it will be the perfect escape for your next family or group holiday.

    $175 - $354 Book now
  • Airport shuttles

    Four B Great Lake Trails Shuttle Services, Taupo

    Shuttle transfers for all sections of the Great lake trails in Taupo including booking the boat transfers for the Waihaha section.

    $30 - $500 Book now
  • Motels

    Chelmswood Motel Taupo

    Chelmswood Motel Taupo is a Tudor style complex consisting of 36 units (24) with their very own Genuine Thermal Mineral pools, located at the southern entrance to Taupo with beautiful views of Lake Taupo.

    $110 - $399 Book now
  • Motels

    Tongariro Junction Motel

    Tongariro Junction in Turangi is adjacent to SH 1 at the gateway to Tongariro National Park, close to the mountains and Lake Taupo. We offer a wide variety of reasonably priced accommodation to suit all needs, from campsites to luxury motel units.

    $135 - $155 Book now
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