Somewhere between the hinterlands of the National Park and Whanganui there is an old road known as the Forgotten World Highway. A third of the road is gravel and windy. And for all those souls feeling extra adventurous, there was no mobile coverage!
But I’m not so sure that it is very forgotten these days. The highway is officially designated as State Highway 43, and there was enough traffic going on to tell me that people do know about this road. For tourism purposes at least.
The highway starts at Taumarunui and ends at Stratford en route to Whanganui. My highlights from this drive was the charming Whangamomona Hotel and the Moki Tunnel.
Whangamomona declared itself a republic as part of some protest back in 1989. Now they have fully embraced this quirky bit of history by having Republic Days every year, electing presidents, and issuing stamps from the pub at the hotel. Unfortunately we were in too much of a rush to get to Wellington on time so we didn’t stop. It looked like such an awesome spot to have a beer.
Moki Tunnel is a single lane tunnel about 180m long. It was a really cool experience driving through this little hole carved out from the mountain. With NZ being Middle Earth country and everything, it felt like the tunnel was built by the dwarves of Moria. We sped up as we heard Gandalf hurry us on… “Fly you fools!” and narrowly avoided Balrog’s fire breath.