When farmer and keen outdoorsman Ian Balme first revealed his ambition to turn a decommissioned railway line in the Central North Island into a tourist attraction, no one could have guessed how right he was to invest in such a gamble. 12 years on from its launch in 2012, that attraction, Forgotten World Adventures, now welcomes around 7000 visitors a year and employs 40 staff in peak season.
Current owners, Grant Ross and Laura Wackett, took over the business after relocating their young family from France to New Zealand in March 2022, a move which brought with it a much desired professional challenge for them both, and on the personal side, fulfilling the dream to give their two boys, Harrison and Cameron, a traditional Kiwi upbringing.
Grant, Laura and the Forgotten World Adventures whānau, hold a shared vision; to make their business New Zealand's most loved Kiwi adventure tourism experience, providing never to be forgotten experiences for all. As well as creating jobs locally, we are pleased to say the business continues to increase visitor numbers to a regional area that wasn't previously considered a tourist destination. We are proud to contribute to the economic growth of the area and to support local businesses and producers. We are also extremely fortunate to be partnering with some truly wonderful heritage attractions and operators in the King Country, including our friends at the Whangamōmona Hotel, Blue Duck Station, Lauren's Lavender Farm, Bradley's Garden, Omaka Lodge and Posh Pioneers. Thank you all for being such an important part of our story and success so far. We couldn't do what we do without your hard work, dedication and support.
We believe the Forgotten World has an incredible amount to offer travellers and adventurers of all ages and abilities; so many stories to tell, both old and new.
We hope this inspires you to escape your world and join us in ours.
Laura & Grant (Owners)
Our General Manager, Kara Matheson, and/or owner, Grant Ross, are available to speak to any interested groups on the Forgotten World Adventure experience. A fun presentation explaining some of the history of the SOL rail line and the entrepreneurial journey of Forgotten World Adventures. To contact Kara click here.