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Our Wilderness New Zealand adventure continues! For our second round of adventures in New Zealand, we’re trying to catch everything we missed the first go round and we definitely missed the “Forgotten World Highway.”
This scenic drive on the North Island is known for being incredibly remote and a little treacherous.
Shout out to Craig Nelson for recommending this adventure to us! Check out the wild road in our latest video:
The Forgotten World Highway
The Forgotten World Highway is a 148 km (91 mile) stretch of road leading from Taumarunui to Stratford on the North Island of New Zealand. It is ranked as one of the worst roads in New Zealand and is the only unsealed (or unpaved) highway in the country.
But we heard of this highway for a different reason—the views!
This remote highway stretches through what can only be described as the background of the new Jurassic Park trilogy. Dense jungle, rivers, and mountains surround you as you navigate the tiny roads.
There are a few things to be aware of as you drive: washouts, potholes, and speeding motorcyclists. The road is very popular with bikers, who tend to whip around corners at full speed! Other than the stress of speeding motorcyclists, the road itself brings a challenge in navigating tiny one-lane portions with no guardrails and drop-offs. Fortunately, you don’t see too much vehicle traffic to clog up these one-lane portions!
So how did the Forgotten World Highway get its name?
Rumor is that it’s due to the unspoiled beauty. Lack of development means the lands here look just as they would’ve hundreds of years ago. The world has forgotten it and the rainforest has thrived.
One of the most iconic portions of the Forgotten World Highway is the Moki Tunnel. The hand-painted sign reads “the Hobbit Hole,” the official nickname of the tunnel.
The 180-meter-long single-lane tunnel is exceedingly narrow but stands 4.8 meters high. We seriously worried that our motorhome wouldn’t make the tunnel until we found a YouTube video showing a similar-sized RV making it through. So we knew (hoped really!) that we could.
The Republic of Whangamomona
After visiting the Republic of Whangamomona I almost have more questions than I have answers. Like how do you really become a republic? What does the government think of these people making up their own country? How many people actually live in this tiny forgotten hamlet?
But for as many questions as I have, I also walked away with a passport stamp and a full belly from the pub.
Off the Beaten Path
We love finding these little hidden gems in every country we visit. As we end our drive south, we are ready to head north and find more new spots to explore!