Forgotten World Highway.

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.

Winding along the banks of the Wanganui River. Can you spot truck

Winding along the banks of the Wanganui River. Can you spot the truck

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.

Can you see the road winding through the valleys

Can you see the road winding through the valleys


 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.

Green clean NZ bush

Green clean NZ bush

Now the road spans the river

Now the road spans the river

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.

Whangamomona Hotel

Whangamomona Hotel


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.

Forgotten Hway

A local obeying the rules of the house. See the notice on the door.

A local obeying the rules of the house. See the notice on the door.

Next time we pass this way I would like to spend a night here. It would be interesting.

A rather scary one lane tunnel

A rather scary one lane tunnel


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.

Almost at the end of the drive

Almost at the end of the drive

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!!!!

Categories: Forgotten World Highway, New Zealand, photos, travel | Tags: , , | 15 Comments

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15 thoughts on “Forgotten World Highway.

  1. “Whangamomona” … my new favorite word!
    what a beautiful place … it looks so laid-back, unhurried. And so beautiful!


  2. Wonderful post PP! I often think about the early explorers who had no idea what was around the next hill or across the next stream. How courageous they must have been – it’s hard enough for us even with maps and motors!! Thanks for the reminder and for sharing your beautiful countryside with us.


  3. I wouldn’t be able to resist a road called that either PP. When driving if I see anything that resembles a ‘scenic highway’ I have to follow it, which can be a bit hairy at times. Whangamomona looks like a place I have to try and stay in if only for the fact it is a republic! Some odd folk ‘down under’ 🙂


  4. those hills are pretty forbidding … I think I would be turning back Pauline!


  5. At Whangamomona Hotel I remember because of the beautiful lady I took a photo of.
    This post does no show her but it does show me at the pub and the great rolling hills.


  6. I’m about to follow in your footsteps – we’re planning a trip along this highway in a few weeks. Great to get a preview!


    • Make sure you pick up the information folder from the Isite it has lots of interesting info and leave plenty of time. I would’ve liked to do some of the walking trails but had to be in New Plymouth. We started from Tauramanui at 9-30 and arrived in NP 5-30.


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