Believe it or not – this is considered a highway in New Zealand. The Forgotten World Highway to be precise. Having stayed at Rob’s family’s place for a couple of days in the beautiful Taranaki it was time for me to head on and since I already know the other two routes out of New Plymouth I opted for the scenic route via Highway 43.
And oh, how scenic it was! The 155km adventure starts in Stratford, just behind Mt Taranaki (a volcano) and ends in Taumaranui on the Central Plateau, with Mt Ruapehu (another volcano) just in front of you. The road itself is a windy one, leading through untamed bush, rainforest, over hills covered in sheep and stunning scenery.
Half-way through you arrive in Whangamomona, a tiny collection of houses and a famous Pub. Tales are that after a fight over water between two neighboring districts the village of Whangamomona declared itself a Republic in 1989 – with its own elections and celebrations of Republic Day in January which apparently attracts thousands of visitors. Traveling through Whangamomona you can even get your own passport for the Republic (which also gives you mates rates at the local pub) and you’ll get a stamp just like in other states. Leaving that behind I headed on to Taumaranui and found myself a scenic picnic spot in Piriaka.
I was hoping to see and ski Mt Ruapehu as I traveled further but arriving in Ohakune – a small skiing town similar to Wanaka I soon heard the rumour about a severe weather warning about to hit the mountain. The ski field remains closed today – no skiing for me but instead I’ll head out of the storm up to the coast. Catch you later and keep your fingers crossed I’ll get some sun soon.