New Zealand 19

Motorbike journey through forgotten world highway to Mt Taranaki

Whilst the kids and I were travelling in England for 3 weeks after Ashique had left, he did some travelling of his own in New Zealand. I am still working on him to write a blog post on his own (we are not there yet), so you will just have to take what I got from the question and answer session I had with him about his epic motorbike trip through the Forgotten World Highway along with the stunning pictures he took on his trip. He rode a BMW F 650 and all images are taken by him on his Samsung Galaxy S5.


How did you decide which route to go on?

I googled top 10 motorbike rides in North Island and found ones feasible for a weekend journey from Auckland. Forgotten Highway showed up as No. 1  Considered as one of New Zealand’s most secluded roads, it explores the ever-changing landscape between Taumarunui and Stratford. The journey is 155km long and begins in Stratford which is named after Shakespeare’s birthplace, goes through Whakaahurangi Maori Trail and various other scenic points and ends in Taumarunui. You can see Mount Taranaki and the surrounding Egmont National Park along the way.

Before and start of the journey


Beginning of the journey from St Helier’s Beach


Clothes, First Aid, cereal bars, water, swiss army knife, black tape and the book that inspired my motorcycle passion – Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance


How long did it take you to get there? Tell us more about the journey and what you saw and experienced

It took four hours to get to the start of the Highway from Auckland. I did the route the other way around then how it is normally done – from Taumarunui to Stratford. I rode part of the highway until I got to Whangamomona where I spent the night at Whangamomona Hotel which has its own interesting story to go with it (see below.) The next day I did the rest of the highway before turning back towards Auckland. Along the way I passed through many gorges, saddles, waterfalls, forests, historic towns and snow-capped views of Mt Taraki (Egmont is the English name of this mountain).



One of the four saddles along the highway


The single lane 180m long Moki Tunnel was built in 1936 and is known locally as the Hobbit’s Hole. Random general knowledge – it is home to fossilized giant crabs!


Moki Tunnel

There is a detour along the Moki road which leads to Mt Damper Falls. The is New Zealand’s second highest waterfall (85m) and is amazing to view surrounded by native bush.  There is also Moki forest here which has walking tracks and picnic spots at different places. It is New Zealand’s fastest regenerating native bush. I went to the Tangarakau gorge which has 12 km of unsealed road where I drove through gravel and mud to the beautiful Podocarp forest. I also visited Dawson’s falls which was really lovely.


Dawson Falls


Moki forest



Mt Damper Falls



Tell us about your interesting Hotel experience

I arrived at Whangamomona Hotel, one of the most remote country hotel in New Zealand. It was like being transformed back in time. I received a warm welcome by the hosts. They had a room for me (single $70) which I thought was reasonable. Room was basic, no on-suite, but had all that I needed, very clean. It was the middle of winter, I sat by the fire and enjoyed the ambience. The home brand Pale Ale was refreshing and I ordered the lamb shanks which were tender and the meal was hearty. No phone signal or internet which was great, really felt as if I was in the heart of the forgotten world.

I was struggling between deciding to be spontaneous or reserving a hotel in advance as I wasn’t sure how long I would have biked to,  but I am glad I decided to go with the flow and show up here!  This town has a really interesting history as they have declared themselves a republic and runs ‘elections’ every year. For more details of this story see here.


Next day I went to the interesting town of Stratford. Named after Shakespeare’s birthplace, it homes New Zealand’s only glockenspiel clock tower which performs scenes from Rome and Juliet at different times of the day.


New Zealand’s only glockenspiel clock tower

Other random interesting stops and things I saw during the journey, at least ones I took pictures of. Unfortunately the day I had views of Mt Taranaki,  it was too cloudy and pictures are too fuzzy to post.


Saw the largest pigeon on the way to Damper Falls




Due to no traffic , the road here is covered in lichen!


After driving 950 km in two days I finally got back to Auckland late Sunday evening. Ideally I would have done this journey over 3 days, but had to make do with two which included being on the bike for 12 hours! I wanted to share these experiences with the family but unfortunately not possible to do on a motorbike. Just have to wait till the kids are older and we can do it together as a family in another continent few years down the line. IMG-20150809-WA0017


The Selim Family Raasta

Linked to #Wkendtravelinspirations hosted by Albom Adventures and #MondayEscapes


My Travel Monkey

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  • Kinga says: August 15, 2015 at 8:16 am

    Wow, the landscape seems really impressive! At one point I thought about Hobbits in their valley. 😀

  • Vlad says: August 15, 2015 at 9:00 am

    Fantastic photos! It looks like a wonderful journey, the scenery is simply breathtaking. I bet the kids would love it when they are older. 🙂

  • Brian & Amanda - Eat_Work_Travel says: August 15, 2015 at 12:53 pm

    Wow, what a wonderful experience. It seems like being on the open road combined with that scenery would be so relaxing!

  • Portia says: August 15, 2015 at 5:21 pm

    Moki Forest looks like an amazing place to visit! I’ve always wanted to get my motorcycle license too (thanks to my dad). I’m sure I will one of these days 🙂

  • Ruth - Tanama Tales says: August 16, 2015 at 4:44 am

    So amazing! A lot of these pictures look like they were taken from a fantasy world. The Moki Forest and the waterfall look so luscious. How was the weather during the ride? Seems a wet place.

    • says: August 16, 2015 at 6:43 am

      It was a mixture of both, rained on and off one day and was sunny the other. Lot of the places do look like they are from some fantasy land, especially with the lack of people anywhere!

  • Karen says: August 16, 2015 at 8:18 am

    I was also just talking to my husband about him hopefully writing a post. I like the way you did this, especially since I am really interested in visiting New Zealand so I like the step-by-step, through the journey nature of this story.

    • says: August 16, 2015 at 8:38 pm

      Good luck getting your hubby to write a post! still no luck with mine 🙂 I hope you get to visit NZ, we have lots of posts on it, mostly on North Island. Headed to south in September, looking forward to visiting and writing about our travels there..

  • Stacey Valle says: August 17, 2015 at 2:14 am

    What a drive! The view looks gorgeous! Hopefully all of you (including your children) will go off for a scenic drive like what your husband wishes!

  • Lydia C. Lee says: August 17, 2015 at 6:52 am

    What beautiful photos (or scenery, depending how you look at it). I love the clock tower – who knew???

  • says: August 17, 2015 at 8:17 am

    Fantastic pictures, brought back so many happy memories of my own time travelling in NZ. It really is such a beautiful and friendly country and so easy to travel in. I remember one time the bus took me right to my hostel door. I would love to go back one day #MondayEscapes

  • Eileen says: August 17, 2015 at 9:06 am

    What a great tour by motorbike! I love the gorgeous scenic views and your images are lovely. Have a happy new week!

  • tammyonthemove says: August 17, 2015 at 12:29 pm

    I really have to go to NZ. The photos are gorgeous and that scenery is just breathtaking. Something out of Lord of the Rings. No wonder it was filmed there.

  • Tim says: August 17, 2015 at 3:46 pm

    That is a gorgeous road and I have driven it myself many times. As a teenager I used to work on one of the forms off of that road. The pigeon in your photo is a Wood Pigeon and they are native to NZ. They were a good source of meat for Maori hunters back in the day and could be easily caught as they are pretty docile.

    • says: August 17, 2015 at 9:44 pm

      Thanks for the insider’s knowledge Tim 🙂 That’s cool that you used to work here and be on this road often, it looks so beautiful!

  • eileen g says: August 17, 2015 at 7:25 pm

    the photos are beautiful. but motorbike is definitely not my way to travel. Bicycle, feet, car, even scooter. but motorbikes — no! #wkendtravelinspiration

    • says: August 17, 2015 at 9:43 pm

      I wouldn’t personally ride one either but happy to be the backside passenger 🙂 Won’t be doing it for a while as we have two kids the pack as well!

  • Cathy (MummyTravels) says: August 18, 2015 at 7:24 pm

    What incredible scenery – and I love the idea of discovering giant fossilized crabs as well. Thanks for linking up to #mondayescapes too

  • Kendra says: August 19, 2015 at 4:27 pm

    So cool! I definitely would like to do this myself one day – need to make more headway into getting my motorcycle license, first, though! The road covered in lichen is really neat 🙂

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