Saturday, April 11, 2009
The Forgotten World Highway
On Friday I got up early and headed to a remote area of beauty in NZ Bush. The Forgotten World Highway is one of the 101 Places and Things to do in NZ (book published by the Automobile Association Club of NZ--AA). The center of the highway is a small quirky village/town of Whangamomona. It is the only "Republic" in NZ. The town's folk(population 40) when the governmental councils were trying to shift the jurisdiction from Taranaki district to the Manawatu (meaning they would have to play for a rival rugby team) dumped both councils and became a republic with presidential elections--Billy the Goat, Tai the poodle, etc. The current president is the town mechanic and only road worker in the 100km area. He keeps everything vehicle running and the roads cleared of rock slides and ditches draining for emergency vehicles and tourists. He has a long graying beard down to mid chest and rotund belly--would make a great Santa.
In the center of town is the Whangamomona Hotel and Pub built in the 20's. This little town is SOOO much like Rabbit Hash Kentucky!! They should become sister cities. Maybe I will suggest it!
I made it to the Bridge to Somewhere (I had previously been to te Bridge to Nowhere) although I missed the turn and drove about an hour down the wrong gravel road. Yes most of the roads are gravel--even a long segment of the Highway! The mountains, gorges, vistas, rivers and farmland are spectacular. Everyone should see the Forgotten World Highway.