So how does the idea of road trip full of surprises that you didn’t have to organise yourself sound?
Great? Well, have we got the trip for you!
A trip to remember
Built on bridle paths formed in the late 19th century, the Forgotten World Highway is remote, mysterious and one of the most scenic drives in New Zealand, winding over four mountain saddles, alongside the spectacular Tangarakau Gorge and passing through the 180-metre-long, single lane, Moki tunnel.
New Zealand’s lost highway
How can you not be intrigued by a road called the Forgotten World Highway?
It’s New Zealand’s oldest heritage trail and has some of the most unspoiled bush to be seen on any New Zealand roadside, as well as the sheer walls of the Tarangakau Gorge, the peaks of Taranaki, Ruapehu, Ngāuruhoe and Tongariro floating intermittently into view, the lovely Mount Dampier falls, and the feats of engineering that are the Bridge to Nowhere and its twin, the Bridge to Somewhere, both stories in themselves.
The Forgotten World Highway
There is so much to do along the 149km Forgotten World Highway between Stratford and Taumarunui: you’ll have had to choice to have walked, biked, dined, drunk, jet-boated, helicoptered, railed, tunnelled, inhaled, poked about and generally filled every minute of this unforgettable escape to somewhere truly memorable.
And the Forgotten World Adventures rail cart ride along the disused railway from Taumarunui will be, without doubt, the icing on your rich Forgotten World Highway road trip.
The Forgotten World Highway links Stratford in Taranaki and Taumarunui in the King Country and stretches the central plateau. Mostly the road follows the old Stratford – Ōkahukura rail link, and at times the beautiful Whanganui River and spectacular Tangarākau Gorge.
Republic of Whangamomona
The road and the old rail line come together at the self-declared Republic of Whangamomona, the town with a name as tricky as its recent history and the heart of the Forgotten World.
It’s been 100 years since the railway reached the small town. The government had been hopeful that large-scale coal mining would make the line viable. It didn’t. The last passenger train stopped here in 1983, with the freight service ending in 2009.
The heartbeat of the town is the Whangamomona Hotel. The “most remote country hotel in New Zealand” and the kind of pub that you walk into and instantly feel at home.
We’ll organise your perfect trip!
Whether you are celebrating a birthday, a getaway, a pre-wedding do, a corporate event, a fun workplace adventure or you would like your own exclusive group adventure, we are here to help you with all aspects of your tour, including rail carts, jet boats, helicopters, hiking, accommodation, transfers and meals.
Catch a train from Auckland or we can organise transport from Taumarunui, Stratford or the majestic Chateau Tongariro, set amongst the tussock of Tongariro National Park. The choice is yours.
The team at Bucket List Travel are experts in designing customised escapes.
Forgotten World Adventures
Choose a half day, full day or two-day tour; whatever your time allows.
When farmer Ian Balme declared he was going to start running golf carts on the unused railway line between Stratford and Taumarunui, they scoffed. Nine years later, that travel attraction – Forgotten World Adventures – includes tours by rail cart, jet boating on the upper reaches of the mighty Whanganui River, pushbiking, canoeing and helicopter flights that attract thousands of mostly Kiwi tourists each year.
We can organise the lot for you. The only restriction is the time you have to escape and enjoy.
One suggested Itinerary
20 tunnel tour
- From Auckland, catch the Northern Explorer train through the central North Island to Taumarunui.
- From Taumarunui, a shuttle will take you to the start of the line at Okahukura. Board your rail cart and set off on carts trundling along at a leisurely 20km/h, curling through deep valleys and burrowing through creased hills. Through 20 tunnels over 82km, you’ll lose yourself in the changing views of rolling hills, remote farmland and native bush.
- Stop along the way to hear stories from your guide of the land, its people and history.
- Travel over bridges and through and-built brick tunnels, including the line’s longest tunnel at 1.5km, and journey through the Tangarakau Gorge.
- Enjoy morning and afternoon tea stops at historic settlements of Matiere and Tangarakau, and lunch at Tokirima.
- Arrive late afternoon at the Republic of Whangamomona, explore the town and its charismatic pub. Your overnight stay in the iconic 100-year-old Whangamomona Hotel will be a night to remember. We can also organise other accommodation options to suit the size of your group.
- Then a return transfer takes you by bus along the Forgotten World Highway, back to Taumarunui. If the time of year is right, grab lunch and immerse yourself at Lauren’s Lavender Farm adjacent to the Wanganui River.
- We can then organise transport back to the Central Plateau to spend a night at the Chateau Tongariro.
- From the Chateau, we can organise transfers back to National Park train station to meet the Northern Explorer, arriving in Auckland early evening.