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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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  • Golf

    Lake Taupo Hole in One Challenge

    The Hole in One is a fun activity for all ages. Try hitting a golf ball 100 metres over the lake and onto a floating pontoon - it's a challenge. We have the best views over the Lake to the Mountains for taking the ultimate holiday snap. A must do.

    $1 - $25
  • Holiday homes

    Taupō's Treat - Sanctuary in the Heart of Taupō

    Welcome to Taupō's Treat your boutique accommodation, located close to the Taupō town centre and Lake Taupō. Your holiday haven is a studio style cottage with seperate kitchen, bathroom and courtyard. A complimentary welcome breakfast is provided.

    $120 - $200 Book now
  • Venues & accommodation

    Tongariro Lodge conferences

    Immersed in a stunning tranquil setting on the banks of the mighty Tongariro River, Tongariro Lodge offers the perfect venue for conferences, incentives, and corporate getaways.

  • Food & drink

    The Bottle-O

    The Bottle-O is a true independently owned and operated New Zealand retail liquor store and we want to make sure you feel welcome every time you step through our doors.

  • Services

    Scrapbook Cottage

    Your only scrapbooking and card making store based in Taupo.

  • Markets

    The Taupo Market

    The Taupo Market is a vibrant, cheerful, weekly market that is held every Saturday morning, rain or shine.

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