The Forgotten World Highway
Taumarunui to New Plymouth
- Riding the Trail
- Services & Accommodation
- Trail surface
- Best time to ride
- Getting there
- Related links
- Picture Gallery
The Forgotten World Highway starts at Taumarunui, a railway town in the Central North Island. The cycle route traverses the quietest State Highway in New Zealand, with approximately 200 cars on average using the main section per day.
After following the graceful Whanganui River for several kilometres, the route heads over hilly farmland for 30 km before climbing over Paparata Saddle. It then drops down into the beautiful Tangarakau Gorge, which is cloaked with native forest. This is followed by 15 km of gravel road, but it is relatively smooth and road bike tyres will easily cope.
Beyond the gorge there is a moderate climb to the Hobbit Hole tunnel and over Tahora Saddle followed by a long and gentle downhill ride to the settlement of Whangamomona. This town not only celebrates its rich history, but also celebrates its claim to be an independent republic once a year.
Heading south from the ‘republic’, the route turns off the State Highway and heads west on Junction Road. The first 16km of Junction Road is gravel, and requires wide road tyres or mountain bike tyres. It is scheduled to be sealed before 2020. Junction Road passes through several original settlements, including Purangi, where accommodation is available in the original schoolhouse. The road is narrow, quiet, and scenic. This is Kiwi country and you will need to watch out for goats, sheep and cattle wandering along the verge.
The route continues over Tarata Saddle, through another picturesque tunnel, and down to an historic suspension bridge across the Waitara River. The ride leaves the very best for last as the route becomes a shared path through Bell Block and around the coast where you will enjoy some spectacular views as you head into New Plymouth.
This cycling route is remote. There are only a few businesses providing accommodation along the route and no places to shop for food. Cyclists must plan in advance and go well prepared.
70% sealed road / 25% gravel road / 5% sealed path
All year round, but the best riding conditions are in summer and autumn (late November to early May)
Buses and the Overlander train go to Taumarunui. Buses go from New Plymouth to Palmerston North and Wellington. You can also drive to both ends of the trail.