Forgotten World Highway, aka Highway 43

New Zealand is pretty good at its scenic highways – and the original and some say the best is the Forgotten World Highway.

This 158km road runs from Stratford on the west coast of the North Island to Taumarunui, close to the centre of the North Island.

Why go?

Rolling green countryside, rugged forest and its own Republic!

That’s right the hamlet of Whangamomona declared itself a republic in 1989 in a dispute over which local council district it should belong to. Once a year the town (population 30) holds a Republic Day and the president for many years was a goat. The Whangamomona Pub dishes out good Kiwi grub and there’s brand new and very popular buggy tours that run on the disused rail track. I haven’t done it but if the smiles on the people I saw getting off at Whangamomona are any indication, they look great!

The trip takes around three hours according to the tourist blurb – with lunch and photo stops we were running at around six hours. Oh, and if the weather’s clear you get shots of Mt Egmont/Taranaki and Mt Ruapehu.

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