By Tristan Hooker / Media PA
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 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 20 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 a further 20 minutes 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.