How could anyone ever forget, once seen, the lush “Jurassic Park” feel of the dense bush as we wound our way through velvet valleys of green before cresting views perched on tiny roads that required nerves of steel, but that rewarded the brave warrior with views that just do not happen every day.
My children in the car instead of asking, “Are we there yet?” the cry of anguish I can hear from most parents now as I write, actually they were chattering about ancient dinosaurs hiding in the mist and in valleys far away. A place that feels magical.
People scoffed at my planned road trip with my three children in June 2017. They asked, “Why are you driving out there, it’s so far away.” Note, that all of the doubters were Aucklanders so used to everything within reach of fingertips, so this road trip took a little thought from our hosts Debb and Kerry, the keepers of the most stunning farmstead called “Forgotten World Farm Stays” located in Tahora, our final destination.
First though, an evening in New Plymouth to find a city perched on the edge of black sand beaches with stunning views and a city that boasted everything that Auckland has but in a smaller version combining peace and calm with the buzz of a city... some great eating spots and an Irish Bar with great music, I just loved the feel of it.
So... to relax for the evening in a beautiful New Plymouth 1920’s bungalow after an evening of exploration was just the ticket! But first a stop for some supplies and a peek at Mount Taranaki.
A pleasant couple of hours on a journey with knowledgeable hosts from there on to a world that is such a privilege to see as we made our way to The Republic of Whangamomona - obtaining passports for the children, Jake wanted to know if there were guards and guns on the border, but we felt ok knowing that the previous year the president was a goat!
A different world – it made me realise how difficult life would have been when the first surveyor out there in March 1893, Joshua Morgan aged 35, was working in the Tāngarākau Gorge when he became ill, probably with peritonitis. Two of his chainmen walked to get medical help from the nearest doctor, 50 kilometres away – but they were too late, and there was little a doctor could have done. Morgan was buried, where he died, on the banks of the river. His grave is now a sobering stop for travellers on the remote, winding ‘Forgotten World Highway’.
My eldest boy Jake felt a little spooked when he realised Joshua died on the day and month of Jake’s birthday and that they have both had peritonitis - only Jake was luckier to have his life to live.
After a few bowls of lashings of red sauce with a few chips (don’t kids just love tomato ketchup!), it was a few turns and twists before we made it to the most stunning of farms - Forgotten World Farm Stays in Tahora.
Tahora – Well what can I say?
A place where time stands still. Not a cell phone buzzing or an iPad vibrating or a laptop in sight. Just a moment of peace in time, where the traffic consists of steers munching and staring at you from their own little paddock to the turkeys chatting loudly to each other in the distance.
A place of memory, of how things used to be and still are.
A place for friends, warmth, food and good wine.
A place to make the perfect Irish coffee and laugh the night away with a guitar and local music.
A place where the keepers of the land know who they are and who you are.
A place that if you have forgotten who you are – they will remind you once again.
The Forgotten World Highway is not lost, it just chooses to remain in another time; the best time.
Thank you to my hosts Debb and Kerry.
Sharon Stewart visited Tahora in June 2017.
Love My New Zealand are in the process of putting together a drive experience using our electric cars, the Teslas, providing luxury, convenience and the ultimate in sustainable tourism combining concierge and self-drive experiences.
The experience begins with your private concierge driver who guides and looks after you and the vehicle for the first twenty four hours. Guests then enjoy a self-drive experience after taking in The Forgotten World Highway with a night at Forgotten World Farm Stays before moving on to experience our delights set up in Taupo, Rotorua, Tauranga then back to Auckland or off to Queenstown!
For more information, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org