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Forgotten World Adventures – Off the Beaten Track, Everything Close

By Tristan Hooker/MediaPA14753465 1136847256383794 5568955857468051828 o

It might be called the Forgotten World but it’s actually pretty hard to miss and it’s certainly hard to forget once you’ve been there. 

Forgotten World Adventures is a unique tourist venture which takes it guests on RailCart tours along the decommissioned railway line through the ‘Forgotten World'.  Manager Paul Chaplow says the company agrees with Tourism New Zealand’s campaign, to encourage visitors into regional areas, rather than simply following traditional tourist routes.

“We are both an ‘off the beaten track’ experience and close to key tourist areas like Waitomo, Taupo and Ruapehu,” says Paul, “so with an extra hours drive, visitors can experience some unique activities and scenery. “The Forgotten World is such a beautiful part of New Zealand, with a rich history and a chance to experience unique New Zealand nature.  It’s so easy to get to that it would be a shame for visitors to miss it.”

Forgotten World Adventures is located within the central North Island regions of the Ruapehu District and the Manawatu-Whanganui Region.  The company’s base is in Taumarunui and the tours - in which guests self-drive in motorised RailCarts or Pedal-Powered RailBikes, accompanied by a guide – run on the railway line in the vicinity of the Forgotten World Highway between Taumarunui in the King Country and Stratford in Taranaki.

They also offer heli-jet and jetboat tours on and above the Whanganui River, with views of historic sites such as the Bridge to Nowhere in the Whanganui National Park.

Forgotten World Adventures offers a range of packages from half -day to multi-day tours.

Forgotten World Adventures, in the Central North Island, is Perfect for a Day Trip

By Tristan Hooker/MediaPA 

While the Tongariro Alpine Crossing is on many tourists’ to-do list while in the mid North Island, the weather isn’t always suitable and the crossing requires a certain amount of commitment and fitness.

If the weather has thwarted your plans, or if you’ve already done the crossing and still have time on your hands, Paul Chaplow of Forgotten World Adventures recommends heading to Taumarunui for the day to experience one of the rail tours on offer at Forgotten World Adventures.

“Taumarunui is an easy journey for people staying at the Chateau Tongariro or travelling from other destinations like Waitomo, Rotorua, Taupo, Ohakune or National Park Village,” says Mr Chaplow. “It’s a good opportunity for people to experience one of our shorter outings, to get a taste of what our longer tours are like.”

Forgotten World Adventures offers guests a unique opportunity to see a beautiful and historic area of New Zealand, using self-driven motorised RailCarts and pedal-powered RailBikes on the decommissioned railway line running 142km from Taumarunui to Stratford. Tours range from the three and a half hour ‘Five Tunnel’ Tour to multi-day tours including jet boat and helicopter options. All tours include local guides with excellent knowledge of the area and its history.

Paul Chaplow recommends the Five Tunnel Tour for people who want to fit a half day experience into their other scheduled activities. The starting point for the tours, Taumarunui, is less than a 50 minute drive from the Chateau Tongariro, 1 hour 20 minutes from Taupo and 2 hours from Rotorua, making it an achievable day trip for those holidaying in the region.

On the Five Tunnel Tour, guests pass through five of the 24 tunnels on the line before stopping for a cuppa and home-baked snacks in the small rural town of Matiere. They then return on the rail line back through the tunnels, to the start point at Okahukura, which is the terminal of the Stratford to Okahukura line.

“The Five Tunnel Tour takes you along the first 16km of the Forgotten World Railway, which is a lovely part of the line and gives you a taste of everything you’d see on the longer tours - farm, native bush, the longest tunnel, including the only brick-lined tunnels on the line” says Mr Chaplow.

For more information about the Five Tunnel Tour, contact the friendly staff at Forgotten World Adventures.

Forgotten World Adventures Offers Longest Jet Boat Ride in the Southern Hemisphere.

By Tristan Hooker/MediaPA15304521_1179022728832913_7555453072920982425_o

The Forgotten World jet boat tours are now well underway and are proving to be a very popular addition to the unique tours offered by Forgotten World Adventures.

Forgotten World Adventures, whose headquarters are in Taumarunui, run Rail Cart and Rail Bike tours on the decommissioned railway line alongside the Forgotten World Highway, between Taumarunui and Stratford.

The tours offer an insight into the history of the line, the towns along the way and the people who have worked on the line and resided in the area.

Since 2010, Forgotten World Adventures has been offering guided tours using specially adapted motor-powered Rail Carts and pedal-powered Rail Bikes.

This summer, Forgotten World Adventures have taken their tours to a new level with the introduction of a jet boat and a helicopter, allowing customers a new viewpoint, seeing the Forgotten World from the Whanganui River and from the air.

During a two-day, three-part journey, guests can ride the rails through 20 tunnels, learning about the history of the region on the way to the Republic of Whangamomona.

The second day brings a spectacular helicopter flight over the Whanganui National Park to the Bridge to Nowhere, then onto a jet boat to be thrilled and educated during the longest commercial jet boat tour in the Southern Hemisphere.

“The feedback from guests has been great,” says Paul Chaplow, Manager of Forgotten World Adventures.  “People have been blown away by the jet boat ride and the experience of being flown in over the Mangapurua Valley, hearing the history of the Bridge to Nowhere and about the returned servicemen who toiled for 20 years and walked off with nothing.

“It’s a big piece of engineering and when you hover over it in the helicopter you get to appreciate the incredible lengths those men went to.”

Forgotten World Adventures has a number of guided tour options available, with something for every budget, desire and fitness level.

 

First Customers Complete the Longest Railbike Journey in the World with Forgotten World Adventures

By Tristan Hooker/MediaPAdownload 8

“Even a little rain and a small landslide didn’t spoil our trip,” said Steph on TripAdvisor in her review of the Forgotten World Adventures 142km Rail Bike Tour, describing it as the “Ultimate Rail Bike Challenge.”

Rail Bike Tours along the Forgotten World Railway are an exclusive experience developed by Forgotten World Adventures, based in Taumarunui.  

In 2011, former Waikato Regional Councillor Ian Balme saw an opportunity to utilise the decommissioned Forgotten World rail line between Taumarunui and Stratford, leasing the line from Kiwi Rail and turning it into a unique opportunity for locals and tourists to experience the history and beauty of the Forgotten World via motor-powered Rail Carts or pedal-powered Rail Bikes.

“If you are reasonably fit this trip is a must for those who enjoy a challenge,” said Steph.  “We did the 142 km rail bike journey over two days.  Great food, great company and awesome fun!  Be prepared for all weathers, you will experience it!  It’s quite cool when you go through the tunnels, very warm if it is sunny, especially on the up hills.   A camera is a must, for those action selfies! Sunblock, sunglasses, waterproofs and non-slip trainer type footwear.”

Paul Chaplow, manager of Forgotten World Adventures, says the Rail Bike options are becoming more popular, especially as summer kicks in.  It’s ideal for those looking for something a little more active to do on their holiday.

“People enjoy a challenge,” says Mr Chaplow, “and the Rail Bikes provide the type of challenge that makes you feel a sense of accomplishment when you get to the end.

“Although it’s railway gradient, due to the rugged terrain, which is why we have so many amazing tunnels on this line, there are sections of uphill travel so pedalling on a Rail Bike requires a certain amount of effort - but for every uphill there’s a downhill and going downhill on a RailBike is a little bit like being on a roller coaster!

“For those who prefer to relax they can do the same route in one of our motorised Rail Carts.”

For more information about Rail Bike and Rail Cart tours on the Forgotten World Railway Line, contact Forgotten World Adventures on 0800 724 522 78 or visit their website.

 

Forgotten World Adventures Jetboat Blessed by local iwi

By Tristan Hooker/MediaPA11

Forgotten World Adventures has introduced jet boat tours and on Thursday last week, representatives of local iwi were in attendance to bless the new boat.

“It was very important and very much appreciated for the local iwi to do that for us, and for us to have the blessing of that region,” said Paul Chaplow, General Manager of Forgotten World Adventures.  “There’s a lot of spiritual significance to the Whanganui River and we wanted to give the boat and the business the best possible start.”

Forgotten World Adventures has been enjoying exponential growth each year of the five years they’ve been operating from their base in Taumarunui.

Their motor-powered and pedal-powered rail carts are a unique tourist attraction, utilising the decommissioned railway from Taumarunui to Stratford, running alongside the Forgotten World Highway.

A number of tour options are available at varied lengths from a few hours to two days, covering portions of the rail line, travelling through historic tunnels and over bridges, while learning about the history of the area from local guides.

Paul Chaplow says the addition of the jetboat allows customers to experience the area more fully, as the river is a significant part of the history of the region.

“The rail line and the river run, quite literally, parallel to each other.  It’s great for our customers to have the opportunity experience both of those things and learn the complete history.”

“We have a number of options now where you can do a rail journey and a river journey, using the rail cart and the jet boat,” says Paul.

“The one we’re most excited about is the one we call the Expedition, which is a 20 tunnel journey down to the republic of Whangamomona, staying the night in the Whangamomona Hotel for bed and breakfast.  In the morning a helicopter swoops in, picks the guests up and flies them into the middle of the Whanganui National Park where they then do a 45 minute walk to the Bridge to Nowhere and hear the story of the settlers who tried to make a go of the Mangapurua Valley.  Then walk on down to the jet boat and journey back up the river, making a number of stops along the way to hear the stories the guide will tell of the river, finishing back at the start point at Taumarunui.”

The three Iwi who have given their blessing to the jet boat are Ngati Maniapoto, represented by David Turu, Tamahaki/Hauaroa (Whanganui River Iwi), represented by Hokioterangi Ngataierua Tinirau and Tuwharetoa, who couldn’t make it on the day but sent their apologies.

 

Forgotten World Adventures Celebrates a Taranaki/Ruapehu Railway Milestone

By Tristan Hooker/MediaPA
forgotten-world-adventures

This week marks 84 years since the last spike was driven into the Stratford-Okahukura Line, the now decommissioned railway line running 144km through the back country of the Taranaki/Ruapehu region.

Once a busy transport route, the line was officially closed for service in 2009 but has been given new life, with New Zealand’s most unique and exciting tourism venture, Forgotten World Adventures.

In 2012, Forgotten World Adventures (FWA) reached an agreement with KiwiRail to secure a 30-year lease of the Stratford-Okahukura Line.  FWA now has a number of tour options available, using specially modified motorised Rail Carts and pedalled Rail Bikes on guided tours of varying lengths, through the historic tunnels and bridges along the line.

“When you think about how much work went into surveying this land, digging the tunnels and building the railway line and bridges, I’m glad that we have been able to continue its use,” says Paul Chaplow, General Manager of Forgotten World Adventures.

“The hand-built tracks have lasted 115 years (since construction began) and we’re proud to be able to bring the railway back to life and educate people about this fascinating part of New Zealand’s history.”

The Stratford-Okahukura Line was authorised in 1900 and the first sod was turned on 28 March 1901.  For nearly 32 years, men laboured, digging tunnels with shovels and wheelbarrows through this harsh and isolated region. 

On 7 November 1932, the last spike was driven at Heao by the Prime Minister, the Right Hon. Gordon Coates.

After being well-patronised for many years, scheduled passenger trains halted in January 1983.  The line was finally closed to all passenger trains after one final trip to Whangamomona's "Republic Day" celebrations in January 2007.

Forgotten World Adventures now offer a number of tour options along the line, from short day-trips to multi day trips, to suit all ages and fitness levels, with the opportunity this season to combine jet boat and helicopter packages.

Compulsory Relaxation on Forgotten World Adventures 20-Tunnel Tour

Review by Tristan Hooker/MediaPAdownload

With a top speed of 22km per hour, the genius of Forgotten World Adventures’ Rail Carts is that you are forced to slow down, unwind and let the sights, sounds and history of the Forgotten World soak in.

 

The 20-tunnel tour, one of FWA’s most popular tours, is an all-day excursion through 20 historic tunnels along a section of the old railway line, running from Taumarunui to Whangamomona. 

 

On the day of our tour, my companion and I chose a two-seater, motorised Rail Cart, which is in effect a golf cart, cleverly converted with railway-capable wheels.  I was the driver of our cart and found it very easy to operate.  Simply push the accelerator pedal (marked GO) to go forward and the brake pedal (STOP) to stop.  If we had needed to reverse, there was a switch to change to reverse position.  However, no reversing was required during our leisurely 80km journey from King Country to Taranaki.

 

If we had been feeling more energetic we could have chosen the pedal-powered option, the Rail Bike.  However we were very happy with our comfortable choice, especially since there was a wee bit of rain and our wonderfully attentive guide helped us roll down the plastic sides and put blankets over our knees.

 

The folks at FWA have done an outstanding job of maintaining the railway line and placing information posts along the route, complete with historical photographs showing the thriving communities which used to live along the line.  With the help of descriptions from our guide, we could almost hear the noise of the crowds in the photos, starkly contrasting with the quiet, rolling hillsides of our journey.

 

On this unique and unforgettable tour, I made new friends, learned about the history of the area and felt enlightened and relaxed.

 

I feel like I’ve joined a special group of people who have experienced this unique and enriching tour.  If you haven’t yet been on a Forgotten World Adventure, I highly recommend you do so.

Forgotten World Adventures Aims to Attract More International Tourists to Taranaki/Ruapehu region

By Tristan Hooker/MediaPA

 
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Ian Balme, Managing Director of his pioneering tour business Forgotten World Adventures, has captured a large portion of the domestic tourist market in the five years it, has been in operation.

 

The next step, says Mr Balme, is to attract more international tourists.

 

“Internationals are what we’re ultimately targeting but it takes quite a bit of time to build that international profile and that credibility,” says Mr Balme.

 

Last year, in its fourth year of operation, Forgotten World Adventures’s clientele was made up of approximately 85 percent domestic tourists, with that section being predominantly baby boomers and retirees. 

 

“The tours enable those that are less physically able (aged 65+) to have a unique, memorable adventure and experience an area that they wouldn’t normally have access to,” says Mr Balme.

 

“The international demand this year is significantly stronger, so I expect by the end of this season we’ll be sitting somewhere near 25 percent internationals.”

 

Forgotten World Adventures has become an iconic apart of one of New Zealand’s most beautiful and mysterious areas.  Utilizing the decommissioned railway line between Okahukura, Whangamomona and Stratford, Forgotten World Adventures uses self-driven Rail Carts and Rail Bikes to explore the historic towns, bridges and tunnels of the area.

 

“It was a bolt out of the blue idea that has morphed into what’s turned out to be a pretty exciting business,” says Mr Balme.

 

Mr Balme says part of the attraction for international tourists is that Forgotten World Adventures hires local guides who know the area well and provide a unique perspective and local knowledge.

 

“We’ve developed an incredibly good team of people. We’ve employed virtually all locals and they bring a special flavour to what we offer. Our clients love the guides.” 

 

“What I have learned is what an amazing part of the country the Forgotten World/Whanganui area is and there’s still a huge amount of untapped potential there,” says Mr Balme.

 

“So it has far exceeded everybody’s expectations. Who would’ve thought?” 

 

TARANAKI TOURISM OPERATOR, FORGOTTEN WORLD ADVENTURES, INVITES YOU TO EXPERIENCE THE FIVE TUNNEL TOUR

By Tristan Hooker/MediaPAdownload 6

In the part of New Zealand known as the Forgotten World, deep within the mysterious valleys and tunnels of Taranaki, Forgotten World Adventures opens the door for visitors to experience this fascinating area in a unique way.

Forgotten World Adventures offers self-driven tours on decommissioned railway lines along the Forgotten World Highway.  A variety of different tours are available, with your choice of motorised rail carts or pedal-powered rail bikes.  Some options include a jet-boat ride.

One adventurous option, the Five Tunnel Tour, is a 32 kilometre tour from the Taumarunui end of the line, self-pedalling two-person rail bikes.

“The Five Tunnel Tour is a new tour we introduced this winter,” says Paul Chaplow, General Manager of Forgotten World Adventures.  “We’ve now decided to run it year-round.  It’s proving to be a popular tour and we’re getting great feedback about it.”

The Five Tunnel Tour takes pedallers 20km over historic bridges, through hill country and native bush.  The five tunnels include three hand built brick tunnels and the longest tunnel, stretching 1.5km. 

After travelling one way, guests have their energy replenished with hot soup, a bun, a slice and a hot drink before being turned around on purpose-built turntables for the journey back to the starting point.  Vegetarian meal options are available if instructed in advance.

In a recent review on TripAdvisor, reviewer Diana M said the Forgotten World Adventures Five Tunnel Tour exceeded her expectations. 

“Rob, our guide and host was brilliant! Exceptionally knowledgeable and courteous - but aren't all Kiwis well mannered?” said Diana M, adding, “Kudos to Ian Balme, the man who had the inspiration, and founder of Forgotten World Adventures.”

The Five Tunnel Tour check-in time is 9:45am for a 10:00 departure.  Guests are returned to Taumarunui by 2:30pm.

 


FORGOTTEN WORLD ADVENTURES CELEBRATES THE POWERCO TARANAKI GARDEN SPECTACULAR WITH A SPECTACULAR GIVEAWAY

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By Tristan Hooker/MediaPA

Be sure to put aside some time this spring to attend two of Taranaki’s highlights:  The Powerco Taranaki Garden Spectacular, New Zealand’s longest running garden festival, will be running for ten days in late spring. 

 While you’re in the region famed for its namesake mountain, take a self-driven rail tour to see Taranaki’s stunning scenery with one of New Zealand’s most distinctive tourist attractions, Forgotten World Adventures.  

 The Powerco Taranaki Garden Spectacular runs from 28 October to 6 November 2016 and celebrates the Taranaki region’s most remarkable gardens.

This year, as an extra special treat, Forgotten World Adventures has introduced a tour, called Te Wera Railcart Adventure Tour, to compliment the Powerco Taranaki Garden Spectacular.

“We have put Te Wera together specifically during the Taranaki Garden Spectacular,” says Paul Chaplow, General Manager of Forgotten World Adventures,  “and we are excited to be offering a prize of two tickets for this tour during the festival.”

For a chance to win, like the Forgotten World Adventures Facebook page and tag a friend to join you on Te Wera Railcart Adventure Tour during the festival. The prize is for two people and is valued at $290.  Entries close Monday 12 September at 5:00pm.

Forgotten World Adventures offers a variety of fascinating tours, running throughout the year, along the decommissioned railway line of Taranaki’s famous Forgotten World Highway.

Self-driving in specially modified rail carts, guests depart from Stratford, Whangamomona or Taumarunui for one-day or two-day tours through the hidden valleys of the Forgotten World.

 


EXPLORE THE HIDDEN BEAUTY OF NEW ZEALAND BY RAIL WITH FORGOTTEN WORLD ADVENTURES

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By cart or by bike, the award-winning Forgotten World Adventures (FWA) is one of the best ways to discover the beauty of rural New Zealand.

 

“It’s like travelling back in time to a forgotten world,” says Paul Chaplow, General Manager of Forgotten World Adventures.

 

FWA was founded by Ian Balme, farmer and former Waikato Regional Councillor, when he recognized the hidden potential that the rail line has.

 

Since 2011, FWA have been offering those with an adventurous spirit, a chance to see our beautiful country in a self-driven rail car or rail bike, driving down a decommissioned railway line through tunnels and over bridges to small townships that seem untouched by modern life.

 

“Local guides bring the history and stories of the line, the people and communities that lived in the area alive,” adds Paul.  Following ancient Maori pathways and built on colonial bridle paths formed late in the 19th century, the FWA tours are like taking a step into the past.

 

FWA gives visitors an exciting opportunity to self-drive along the 142 kms of heritage rail tracks during the summer season of October through to May, with some shorter winter tours available by arrangement. “Meals, shuttles and guides are included in the tour price. Customers on most tours along with the rail also get to experience the spectacular forgotten world highway,” says Paul.

 

 “We also offer the opportunity to experience the Whanganui River by jet boat on some of the tours,” adds Paul

 

Paul Chaplow, General Manager of Forgotten World Adventures, has an abundance of experience in the tourism sector. He is a Tourism Business Advisor with Qualmark, Contractor with the Tourism Industry Association and he also has 7 years’ experience running a world class sea kayaking business in Canada

 

“We are distinguished from other rail cart operations by our sheer size,” says Paul.

FWA are over four times longer than the length of all other New Zealand operations combined (142km) and have a fleet size more than 2.5 times greater.

 

“Another differentiation are the tunnels, there are 24 of them totalling 10km in length if you placed them back to back. None of the other operations have any,” comments Paul.

 

FWA have seen great business growth from 2500 customers in the first year to 6300 in the 4th year. “And we are on track for 7500 plus in our 5th season,” adds Paul.

Forgotten World Adventures Jetboat Blessed by Whanganui, Taumarunui and Taranaki iwi

By Tristan Hooker/MediaPA

 

Forgotten World Adventures has introduced jet boat tours and on Thursday last week, representatives of local iwi were in attendance to bless the new boat.

 

“It was very important and very much appreciated for the local iwi to do that for us, and for us to have the blessing of that region,” said Paul Chaplow, General Manager of Forgotten World Adventures.  “There’s a lot of spiritual significance to the Whanganui River and we wanted to give the boat and the business the best possible start.”

 

Forgotten World Adventures has been enjoying exponential growth each year of the five years they’ve been operating from their base in Taumarunui.

 

Their motor-powered and pedal-powered rail carts are a unique tourist attraction, utilising the decommissioned railway from Taumarunui to Stratford, running alongside the Forgotten World Highway.

 

A number of tour options are available at varied lengths from a few hours to two days, covering portions of the rail line, travelling through historic tunnels and over bridges, while learning about the history of the area from local guides.

 

Paul Chaplow says the addition of the jetboat allows customers to experience the area more fully, as the river is a significant part of the history of the region.

 

“The rail line and the river run, quite literally, parallel to each other.  It’s great for our customers to have the opportunity experience both of those things and learn the complete history.”

 

“We have a number of options now where you can do a rail journey and a river journey, using the rail cart and the jet boat,” says Paul.

 

“The one we’re most excited about is the one we call the Expedition, which is a 20 tunnel journey down to the republic of Whangamomona, staying the night in the Whangamomona Hotel for bed and breakfast.  In the morning a helicopter swoops in, picks the guests up and flies them into the middle of the Whanganui National Park where they then do a short, half hour walk to the Bridge to Nowhere and hear the story of the settlers who tried to make a go of the Mangapurua Valley.  Then walk on down to the jet boat and journey back up the river, making a number of stops along the way to hear the stories the guide will tell of the river, finishing back at the start point at Taumarunui.”

 

The three Iwi who have given their blessing to the jet boat are Ngati Maniapoto, represented by David Turu, Tamahaki/Hauaroa (Whanganui River Iwi), represented by Hokioterangi Ngataierua Tinirau and Tuwharetoa, who couldn’t make it on the day but sent their apologies.

 

Contact Forgotten World Adventures:

 

Phone: 0800 RAIL CART (7245 2278)

 

Email: paul@fwa.co.nz

 

Website: www.forgottenworldadventures.co.nz

 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ForgottenWorldAdventures.co.nz/

 

 

 

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Phone: 0274 587 724

 

Email: phillip@mediapa.co.nz

 

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