Emerald Lakes Mt Tongariro - Ruapehu Region (courtesy of Destination Great Lake Taupo)  Destination Great Lake Taupo

Forgotten World Highway

The Forgotten World Highway, New Zealand’s first heritage trail, is a combination of absorbing New Zealand history and scenery. Winding and climbing from the Taranaki district to the Ruapehu region (or vice-versa), the route takes in spectacular mountain and bush scenery, as well as a collection of tiny settlements and points of historic interest.


Starting in the endearing Taranaki town of Stratford the Forgotten World Highway allows you to explore historic Douglas Village before venturing on up Strathmore Saddle. One of four saddles on this route, Strathmore provides excellent views of the region's four peaks: Mt Taranaki, Mt Tongariro, Mt Ruapehu and Mt Ngaruahoe.

Whanganui & Manawatu

As the route ventures further east, don't miss the 'republic' of Whangamomona - an isolated town that declared itself a republic in 1988 in retaliation to new council boundaries. Nearby you'll find bush walks, historic sites and the famous Bridge to Somewhere.

Ruapehu Region

The rest of the journey is rich in interesting detours to historic, scenic & cultural sites. Take your time through this magical region before continuing to the route's end point at Taumarunui. Located at the junction of the Whanganui River - New Zealand’s largest navigable waterway – and the Ongarue River, Taumarunui is great for fishing, boating and swimming.


 Port Taranaki with Mt Taranaki and sunset in the background.  Josh Woskett



 Canoeing the Whanganui River, New Zealand.  Wanganui Inc


 Skiing on Whakapapa  Destination Great Lake Taupo


Route Map

Coming soon...


Route Facts

  • Approx. 155km long
  • One way
  • Start: Stratford or Taumarunui
  • End: Taumarunui or Stratford
  • History, scenery, culture, nature, walks

 Other Touring Routes