2023 Aotearoa – Day 7 – The Forgotten World Highway

The Forgotten World Highway: A Journey Back in Time

Tucked away in the heart of New Zealand’s North Island, the Forgotten World Highway is a hidden gem that offers intrepid travelers a journey back in time. Also known as State Highway 43, this remote and scenic route winds its way through rugged landscapes, forgotten settlements, and historic landmarks, providing a nostalgic and unforgettable road trip experience.

The adventure begins as you leave the bustling city behind and venture into the vast expanse of the Taranaki region. The highway weaves through picturesque farmland, rolling hills, and dense native bush, offering stunning vistas at every turn. The absence of cell phone reception and limited traffic along the route create a sense of isolation, allowing you to immerse yourself fully in the raw beauty of the New Zealand countryside.

As you traverse the Forgotten World Highway, you’ll encounter charming rural towns that seem frozen in time. One of the notable highlights is Whangamomona, a quirky and self-proclaimed republic, where you can have your passport stamped with the town’s official visa. The Whangamomona Hotel, with its collection of memorabilia and friendly locals, adds to the unique and quirky atmosphere of the town.

Along the way, you’ll cross more than 20 single-lane bridges, each offering a nostalgic glimpse of New Zealand’s past. These bridges are a testament to the area’s history and evoke a sense of adventure as you navigate your way through the stunning countryside.

The Forgotten World Highway also passes through the awe-inspiring Tangarakau Gorge, where towering cliffs and dense forests create a dramatic and imposing landscape. The winding road through the gorge adds an element of thrill and anticipation, making it a highlight for those seeking an unforgettable driving experience.

History enthusiasts will delight in the remnants of old settlements and the iconic Republic of Whangamomona Hotel, which stands as a living testament to the region’s pioneering past. The highway follows a route once used by early Maori settlers and European explorers, making it a journey through time that reflects the struggles and triumphs of the past.

For nature lovers, the Forgotten World Highway is an opportunity to spot native wildlife, including native birds like tui and fantails. The stunning natural surroundings also offer numerous walking tracks and trails, allowing travelers to explore and appreciate the region’s untouched beauty.

The journey along the Forgotten World Highway is not just a drive; it’s an unforgettable experience that allows you to disconnect from modern-day distractions and connect with the land, history, and the pioneering spirit of New Zealand. As you meander through this forgotten realm, you’ll find yourself captivated by the breathtaking landscapes and the stories they hold, leaving you with cherished memories of a road trip like no other. Whether you’re seeking adventure, tranquility, or a sense of nostalgia, the Forgotten World Highway beckons, inviting you to embark on a remarkable journey into the heart of New Zealand’s past.