Forgotten World Highway


Discover the mysterious forgotten world

3 Days 150km


  • Whangamōmona
  • Taharoa Saddle
  • Arts and culture

Explore the route

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New Zealand’s oldest heritage trail, the Forgotten World Highway is remote, mysterious and scenic. 

Travel along the 155 kilometre-long highway and venture through landscapes and the many historical and natural points of interest.

Whether you experience the Forgotten World Highway as a 3 hour scenic drive or stay for a long weekend getaway, you’ll be treated to an adventure like no other.

Day 1: Taumarunui


Tussocky desert, rivers, lakes and volcanic cones


  • Timber Trail
  • Explore Whanganui National Park
  • Forgotten World Adventures

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Begin your journey in Taumarunui. Positioned at the junction of two major rivers, the town is a known for trout fishing, kayaking and jet boating. It's also the launch pad for canoe adventures into Whanganui National Park, including the 5-day Whanganui Journey.

Railways are another theme of this region. For a truly unique experience, travel into the wilderness on a self-drive rail cart with Forgotten World Adventures(opens in new window). Other activities include  Taumarunui Golf Club, visiting friendly alpacas, or riding the Timber Trail - one of the North Island's best cycle rides.

Day 2: Taumarunui to Whangamōmona


A mighty river and forgotten landscapes.


  • Visit a working lavender farm
  • Mount Damper Falls
  • Historic 180-metre Moki Tunnel

Discover more around Whangamōmona

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Not far from Taumarunui, you'll pass Lauren's Lavender Farm - stop here for sweetly scented gifts and a wander through tranquil lavender fields. Or head to Nukunuku Museum - this quirky museum is home to relics from the region's past. 

Further on, take a detour along Moki Forest Road to Mount Damper Falls - an 85m tumble of pristine water. The road continues on through the historic and very narrow Moki Tunnel. From here it's a short drive to Whangamōmona, where you spend the night. This character-filled settlement declared itself a republic in 1989, and you can pick up a passport from the local hotel.

If you’re in town in January, it might just be the Whangamōmona Republic Day, held to celebrate the republic and to vote in the new president (previous presidents have included a goat, a sheep, and a dog).

Day 3: Whangamōmona to Stratford


World-class surfing and a picture-perfect ancestral mountain


  • Taranaki Maunga
  • Bridge to somewhere
  • Stratford's glockenspiel clock tower

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As you continue your journey south, be sure to stop at the Whangamōmona Saddle for spectacular views in every direction. If you have time, the three-hour circular walk that begins here, is well worth the trip.

At Strathmore, there's a 90-minute return trip leading to the 'Bridge to Somewhere' (a response to the famous 'Bridge to Nowhere' from the same period).

Stratford was named after William Shakespeare’s birthplace, and its street names recognise some of the playwright's best-known characters. Stratford's glockenspiel clock tower celebrates the connection with scenes from Romeo and Juliet, performed four times daily.

 View the route below

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