We’ve been away on a trip for a few days, and what an exciting time we had. Our Probus Club had arranged an all exclusive trip to Taumarunui and back with Forgotten World Adventures, and we certainly weren’t going to be left behind. We were collected from our home town, traveled far and wide, all meals, accommodation, activities and travel included, then were safely returned home.
All ready for an exciting trip
Although I'm not too keen traveling along the Desert Road, I do love to see the mountains. We had a great view of the classic cone shaped Mt Ngauruhoe, which has been active for at least 2500 years.
Our lunch stop was at the Lakeland Restaurant, on the edge of Lake Taupo. A lovely place and a marvelous view over the lake, and the meals were fabulous. I enjoyed my fish with prawns, and Robin had a tasty steak.
Our lunch was so nice
Well fed and watered, it was back in the bus again for our final part of the trip for the day, arriving at the Forgotten World Motel in Taumarunui, our accommodation for the next two nights. Our room was nice and cozy, I always enjoy a few nights in a motel or hotel as a change from caravan trips.
Our motel at Taumarunui
It was an early start the next morning, when we all met for breakfast in the dining room at 6.30am. Into the bus we went, to get taken to the start of our day’s adventure, where we were allocated our self drive rail carts. We were to travel 82kms along a rail line, through 20 tunnels, stopping at long abandoned towns which once were alive and thriving.
Off we go
The weather was perfect, hot and sunny, and with a guide front and back, we traveled through our first tunnel, the longest on the trip at 1.525km. Half way through we came to a halt, and the guide told about the history of the tunnel. Then we were asked to switch the carts off and we sat in pitch blackness, marveling that all these tunnels were dug by hand so long ago.
Some of the tunnels were quite short, so we could see right through them, while others were longer and curved.
We went over a multitude of small bridges and under road bridges
Stopping for morning tea and lunch at the remains of thriving townships from earlier years. There was an unexpected stop was further down the line where there had been a recent rockfall. Our guides made sure that the rail lines were clear before we continued on.
Our final stop was the historic pub at Whangamomona where we had time for refreshments before being taken by bus back to Taumarunui along the Forgotten World Highway.
This was the most difficult and expensive rail line in New Zealand’s history. The full length of 142km travels over 98 bridges, and through 24 tunnels, using 9000 tons of rail and 260,000 sleepers. It was started in March 1901 and finally completed in November 1932.
The following day was just as exciting when, following another hearty breakfast, we went on a jet boat trip on the Wanganui River.
What a wonderful experience this was – we had already had a jet boat ride previously, but for some of the other passengers it was their first time. Our guide was so knowledgeable about the local history and we had a great ride, including several “Hamilton Turns” where the boat is turned sharply around before coming to a stop. The scenery was spectacular and the abundant birdlife showed that the river was in good health.
The group enjoyed morning tea at the local Lavender Farm, and we started the long trip home. What a great three days we had on our Forgotten World Adventure.