NZ’s Forgotten Highway tour - FHR

Mike and Stephie
May 14, 2021

Travel across wide expanses of rugged countryside and native bush, over 47 bridges and through 20 tunnels by Rail Cart before arriving in New Zealand’s only self-proclaimed republic – Whangamomona. After spending the night, continue through the remaining tunnels on the SOL rail line and 18 more bridge on the way to Stratford.

This tour brings together all the different highlights of the area. You are hosted and guided by passionate locals, all with unique insights into this historic corner of New Zealand. The rail cart experience alone is an amazing and relaxing experience. The fabulous old Whangamomona Pub and remains of the settlement is a great old country experience... The jet boat was not the petrol-head's experience that I expected but a cruise through iconic New Zealand wilderness with a historic bonus.


  • 3 nights twin share accommodation at Republic of Whangamomona,
    151 London Motel and Blue Duck or similar.
  • This trip is limited to 60 seats throughout the season.
  • 142km Rail Cart Journey over 2 days
  • 2 days Jet Boating on the Whanganui River
  • The historic Bridge to Nowhere
  • Lauren's Lavender Farm with lunch included.
  • Shuttle from Stratford to Whanganui
  • Matahiwi Gallery in Whanganui
  • Specified meals: B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Welcome and other dinners - as per final itinerary.


On request (March / April). Cost $3290.00


Check-in for the tour then transfer to the start of the line at Okahukura, where we board your Rail Carts. We spend a full day exploring the Okahukura-Stratford line on the 20 Tunnel tour. Stop along the way to hear stories from your guide of the land, its people, and history. Travel over bridges and through hand-built brick tunnels, including the lines longest tunnel at 1.5km, and journey through the Tangarakau Gorge. Enjoy morning and afternoon tea stops at historic settlements of Matiere and Tangarakau, and a Ploughman’s lunch at Tokirima. Arrive in the Republic of Whangamomona, explore the area, and its charismatic pub, then enjoy our included Welcome Dinner and an overnight stay. Accommodation at Whangamomona Hotel, or similar. L, D

Wake up in the Republic, enjoy your breakfast, then start your adventure with a scenic helicopter flight taking in the spectacular views of the Whanganui National Park. Land in the Mangaparua Valley and take a 2.5km native forest walk down to the iconic Bridge to Nowhere. Continue your National Park walk another 2.5km on to the Whanganui River where you will board your Jet Boat. As you Jet Boat the river, learn stories of the people who lived in this remote part of the world and explore historical and cultural sights including Tamatea’s Cave, Kirikiriroa Marae site and Tarei Po Kiore Whirlpool. Accommodation at 151 London Motel, Whanganui or similar. B

Today you will travel up the Whanganui River Road on a tourist operated mail run. Includes morning tea at Matahiwi Gallery, then on to Pipiriki settlement on the eastern bank of the Whanganui River - from here your two-day jet boat journey up the Whanganui River begins. In addition to the breath-taking landscape of the Whanganui River, highlights today include lunch on the Bridge to Nowhere, the Blue Duck Station in Whakahoro - located on the banks of the Whanganui and Retaruke Rivers and surrounded by Whanganui National Park. The Blue Duck Station is an outdoor enthusiast’s playground. Experience real station life and experience the highest concentrations of whio and kiwi in New Zealand not to mention wetas, native bats and fish. Accommodation at Blue Duck Station, or similar. B, L, D

Continue your jet boat travel to the far upper reaches of the Whanganui River where you will enjoy lunch at Lauren's Lavender Farm for lunch before arriving back in Taumarunui to conclude your Epic Adventures. B, L

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