That name conjures up so many images that when I saw it on the map as an alternative route to New Plymouth my gypsy gene kicked in and decided it would be far more interesting than going along the main highway.
This is a 150 kilometre journey of discovery. It winds along the Wanganui River following valleys, then up, over and across the New Zealand back country. The scenery is spectacular.
I spotted fields of lavender, a splash of purple rolling across the hills. Even though it was an overcast day I had to stop for a photograph.
Laurens Lavender Farm (click here for more photos and information) is a family owned business and Lauren is totally dedicated to her beautiful surroundings. The scent of lavender wafted from the small shop and I found an ideal gift to buy for my New Plymouth friends.
This was a delightful start to our journey.
Forgotten is its name, but this route is really a journey of remembrance. Along its length there are constant reminders of settlers who tried to scratch out a living in the wild, isolated hill country. Imagine coming here in the 1800’s and being faced with thick New Zealand bush, steep hills and isolation. The pioneers were a strong breed of people but many tried and failed to combat the ever encroaching bush, the harsh climate and the isolation.
We walk into the native bush, along the banks of the river to find the grave of Joshua Morgan a respected early surveyor who died in 1893 at the age of 35. This memorial also remembers the many other pioneers who helped shape this area.
In 1895 Whangamomona was a bustling frontier town with up to 300 residents. After the great flood of 1924 the town went into decline and now has a population of only 30 residents. But the heritage listed Whangamomona Hotel declared itself a Republic in 1989 as a protest to changing boundaries. Tourists pour into the small town every second year to be part of Republic Day celebrations and see the new mayor elected. The walls inside this iconic hotel are covered with photos and news paper clippings telling the history. (Click here for more information and photos). The dining room was doing a roaring trade with a bus load of pensioners out for a day trip from New Plymouth. We managed to find a table in the corner and ordered a pie and cuppa and watched the drawing of the raffles and frivolity going on among the day trippers.
Next time we pass this way I would like to spend a night here. It would be interesting.
We are almost at the end of our road trip along the Forgotten World Highway. There were many side trips we could’ve explored but time did not permit us to linger too long, so I hope we have the opportunity to do this drive again.
Kiwi’s, as New Zealanders are affectionately called, are renowned for their ability to be creative and fix things and as the saying goes
” A Kiwi can fix any thing with a piece of number 8 wire.” Take a close look at the gate!!!!