The Forgotten World Highway is a trip down one of the country's iconic themed roads, this one named after its rugged, rural remoteness, and is NZ's oldest heritage trail! The small community of Whangamomona has even declared itself an 'independent republic' after being shifted (politically) from the region of Taranaki into Manawatu-Whanganui. Independence Day is celebrated in January, when the President is also elected. Although it is a State Highway (SH 43), one section in the middle remains unsealed.
Taumarunui to Whangamomona (87 km)
This first section follows the Whanganui River downstream. There is a left turn at a junction after 39 km (to stay on SH 43), but otherwise navigation is straightforward. Just 14 km from Taumarunui, you will pass Lauren's Lavendar Cafe, a great fragrant place for a snack stop!
The riding on this section is mostly sealed road without much traffic, but you will also pass through the 220m Moki Tunnel. It is mostly undulating but with a few larger climbs and occasional views back to the central plateau and Mount Ruapehu. Once you reach Whangamomona, you will likely be more than ready for a cold beer in the historic town pub, where you can hear more of the perks of this small 'Republic'.
Whangamomona to Stratford (65 km)
Day two begins with a climb up to a saddle and the boundary with Taranaiki and more great views in all directions. You will pass various small rural settlements before finally reaching Stratford on State Highway 3. Some riders may want to consider riding all the way into New Plymouth, in which case there are nice back road options available prior to reaching the highway,