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Unknown to many, The Forgotten World Highway is actually New Zealand's oldest touring route. Explore New Zealand's rich pioneering background and cultural aspects both present and past as you journey between Stratford and Taumarunui in the North Island. The remote and mysterious highway winds its way through 155km of beautiful, productive farmland and unique scenery. Experience the warm country hospitality and farming culture, learn the history and soak up the sights. From the dramatic volcanic cone of Taranaki to the Central Volcanic Plateau, this adventure showcases a slice of quintessential New Zealand.
Rolling Hills Rich in History
The Forgotten World Highway follows old Maori trade routes and tracks beaten into the countryside by the tough, pioneering farmers who cut out their secluded lifestyles here. From Taku Settlement to the once busy railway construction town of Tangarakau, the settlements dotted along the Forgotten World Highway truly are truly historic - having enjoyed their heyday in times long gone by. One of the only significant settlements along the road is the once bustling Whangamomona, its population peaking in the early 1900's. This tiny country town has a fascinating history - in November of 1989, it declared itself to be the ‘Republic of Whangamomona’ after rejecting new regional council boundaries. These revised boundaries made Whangamomona part of the Manawatu – Whanganui region, but residents strongly objected - they wanted to continue being part of Taranaki. In protest, they declared the town an independent republic, electing a series of eccentric presidents (both human and animal), and got on with doing things exactly the way they wanted. Whangamomona locals celebrate their colourful history every two years on Republic Day, held in January.
Magical Scenery and Sights
Unforgettable scenery awaits travellers of the Forgotten World Highway. The grand volcanic giants of Taranaki and the Central Plateau mark either end of the highway and in between is a host of unmissable sights. The untamed forests and emerald hills along the road are tranquil and unspoilt, and multiple high points allow for huge vistas across the countryside. Along the road four high saddles are traversed, each with outstanding. Tangarakau Gorge is stunning, and look for the light at the end of the darkness in the 180m Moki Tunnel.
Meet Locals, Their Farms and Gardens
Privileged visitors can share the pleasure of the wonderful Cairnhill Farm and Garden, complete with kiwi hospitality and local stories from owners Colin and June Lees. Their immaculate farm is a great example of high standard kiwi farming and their gardens are simply charming. Afterwards, visit Rae and Bruce at 'Bushlands' in Tangarakau for a slice of heaven amongst beautiful countryside.
The charms of the Forgotten World Highway can be enjoyed with a small group tour with MoaTrek. Our Christmas in Taranaki 5-day tour encompasses driving along this unique road, complete with stops at the beautiful Cairnhill Farm and Garden as well as lunch at Bushlands in Tangarakau. Contact us now, or find out more on our website.