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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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  • Markets & specialty food

    The Source Bulk Foods Taupo

    Old-fashioned grocery shopping, the modern way. We have an impressive range of bulk wholefoods, healthy snacks and organic goodies, in addition to personal and household products – all without the packaging.

  • Hot pools & health spas

    Wairakei Terraces & Thermal Health Spa

    Bathe in mineral & silica enriched thermal pools strategically located below the Wairakei silica terraces and waterfall, providing a perfect setting for complete rest and relaxation and a ‘feel back in time’ sensation.

    $15 - $25
  • Cafes

    Revive Coffee

    Revive Coffee is the coolest little coffee shop in town.

  • Hotel & Lodge venues

    Omori Lodge

    Omori Lodge is hidden amongst 24 acres of a native New Zealand bush and rolling hills with panoramic views of Lake Taupo and surrounding country.

    $100 - $250
  • Cafes

    Baked With Love

    The dynamic duo of Kim & Scott have hit the ground running, since swapping corporate jobs in busy Auckland to the hospitality industry in Taupo.

  • Fishing – Fresh Water

    Taupo Troutcatcher

    We offer cheap charter boat hire, fishing trips, sightseeing trips and jet ski hire on Lake Taupo. You will fish and catch trout on your own private charter.

    $10,000 Book now
  • Mountain biking

    Taupo Mid Week Electric Mountain Biking & BnB package

    Escape to Taupo for a mid week 2 day Electric mountain bike experience including shuttles and accommodation to enjoy self guided part of "The great Lake Trails" and a guided Geothermal tour of the Huka River trails. 2 Pax.

    $350
  • Event services

    Taupō Pony Parties

    We want to help take the stress and hassle of organizing your childs next birthday party.

  • Sports & outdoors

    Canoe and Kayak Retail Store

    Canoe & Kayak Taupō is your specialist Kayaking and Roof Rack store. Whether you are interested in Guided Kayaking Tours, Kayak Courses or wanting information on various kayaks and accessories to purchase then start your journey here.

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