At the beginning we stopped at Strathmore saddle a great vantage point to view four mountains, the most spectacular was the 2518m tall Mt Egmont/Taranaki, a snow capped mountain set amongst a beautiful green landscape wow
! The rest of the Forgotten World Highway led us to the highest waterfall on the North Island (Mt Damper Falls), through tunnels, quaint little villages (that used to be thriving communities established to house railway & road workers), Maori settlements, gorges, forests, vineyards and we experienced the most fantastic panoramic views of the mountains and national parks. We also had quite a few close encounters with sheep and cows in the road and at one point had to stop for about 500 of them being moved from one field to another by a farmer, we have never seen so many sheep in one place before!
We spent the night up in the hills, just off road and I think only 2 or 3 cars went past the whole night - probably why it is now known as the forgotten highway, as no one uses it anymore! It was quite strange to think we were sleeping in the middle of nowhere, out in the wilderness but to be honest once the camper van curtains are shut you could be anywhere. We had great sunny weather for both days, the start of spring was upon us yeah!
This drive has to be one of the highlights of our trip in NZ and it didn't cost us a penny!
This country really does have every terrain you can think of for a traveller to explore, the more we drive the more fantastic things we discover about New Zealand. Volcanoes, mountains, lakes, sand dunes, beaches, lush rainforests, geothermal activity, masses of green fields (and sheep) and this is just the North Island! Starting in the town of Stratford (a small town whose street names are all characters from Shakespeare plays), the Forgotten World Highway is a self-drive discovery tour of New Zealand history and landscapes. It's a 155km drive from Stratford to Taumarunui and has 30 significant sites you can explore at your own pace. It can take around 3 hours but we opted for a slow 2-day journey, we weren't really in a rush to get to the next town - we haven't found them to be very camper van friendly.