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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. Tristan Hooker had this to say about his Republic 20 Tunnel Rail Cart experience...

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.

A view of the Republic of Whangamomona

The Republic 20 Tunnel Rail Cart Tour takes you deep into the heart of the Forgotten World and ends in the famous Republic of Whangamomona.

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 kiwi escape.  If you haven’t yet been on a Forgotten World Adventure, I highly recommend you do so.

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