Forgotten World Highway – Whangamōmona, New Zealand - Atlas Obscura

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Forgotten World Highway

Whangamōmona, New Zealand

This remote highway took over 50 years to build.  


This road leaves Stratford in Taranaki and winds 92 miles (149 kilometers) to Taumarunui in the King Country, passing through some of the most remote parts of New Zealand. Officially designated as Highway 43, it’s the only highway to still have an unsealed section.

The road is often narrow, following along the contours of the land. It passes over three saddles, gorges, and through a rough-hewn tunnel.

Halfway along the road, visitors will come across a haven. The tiny town of Whangamomona proclaimed itself to be a republic in 1988. Complete with presidents, passports, and a republic day, it’s filled with rural charm. In the center of the town is the Whangamomona Hotel, which is also well worth a visit. 

Know Before You Go

Taking a drive along this road is a great experience, but it pays to be prepared. Make sure you have a full tank as there are no petrol stations along the route. The road has also been ranked as one of the most dangerous in the country, so make sure you have plenty of time and drive slowly.

Finally, some of the road remains unsealed, so check your tire conditions. The road is also a popular route for cyclists and motorcycles. 

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