A Republic, Forgotten Highways &
1200 Little Spotted Kiwi
Escape to Kapiti Island and wake to the sound of hundreds of rare song birds before striking
out for historic Whanganui, the magnificence of Taranaki before loosing
yourself on the Forgotten Highway en route to NZ's only Republic.
A Republic, Forgotten Highways & 1200 Little Spotted Kiwi
Day 1 Arrive Wellington and collect your rental car.
Proceed directly to your central city hotel
Free time to explore Wellington, christened by Lonely Planet as
the World’s Coolest Capital.
Overnight Wellington ( Breakfast included )
Day 2 Depart Wellington early to Paraparaumu to join your ferry
departure. On arrival you will be welcomed by one of Kapiti’s
expert guides and provided with an introduction to the next day
and a half. You can expect to see some of New Zealand’s most
beautiful and endangered birds up close and personal as you
share the space with the locals. Dinner is served prior to departing
on your guided walk through the bush to engage with the Little
Spotted Kiwi that live there. While no uarantees are given, with
over 1200 kiwis on the island the opportunity to see them in the
wild is very high.
Overnight Kapiti Island (Dinner, Bed & Breakfast - DBB)
Day 3 Wake up to the sound of birdsong and then make your way to
breakfast. The rest of the morning is free to enjoy the the island.
Lunch is provided prior to departing to the mainland.
1530 Depart Paraparaumu Beach to Wanganui. Estimate arrival in
Wanganui at 17h30.
Overnight Whanganui (B&B).
Day 4 Whanganui is a river city rich in Maori and European history. The
river was once the main route into the central North Island. The
city, with its historic precinct, is full of character buildings including
the old WRC (Whanganui Rowing Club) building, the first
architecturally built rowing club in NZ. This morning you will depart
on a river boat excursion on one of the original boatwhich plied the
middle reaches of the Wanganui. Launched in Nov 1904, the
MV Wairua was fully restored as a tourist vessel in Mar 2006.
Today you will travel up the Whanganui River to the settlement of
Upokongaro where a stop will be made for you to stroll around the
village and visit old St Mary's church. There is time to have lunch at
one of the two cafes (cost not included).
Total travel time is 3.5Hours including the 1 hour stop for lunch.
Return to Whanganui at approx 2:30pm
Heading west from Whanganui, interesting townships pop up
regularly. Keep an eye out for small museums and quirky art
At Hawera it's time to make a choice. You can follow the ‘Surf
Highway’ around Cape Egmont and have a beach view all the way.
Or you can take the inland route via Stratford and enjoy the green
serenity of farmland. This is the shorter route.
Either way, the dramatic volcanic cone of Mt Taranaki will
dominate the landscape for much of your journey. The forested
lower slopes of the mountain are laced with walking tracks.
The city of New Plymouth is known for its beautiful parks and
gardens. It also has a strong arts focus, so check out the current
The total driving time is up to 2h30m however due to all the
distractions along the way we suggest you take your time and stop
to take in the scenery.
Overnight New Plymouth (B&B)
Day 5 Today your time is free to explore New Plymouth. Start the day
with a walk along the waterfront promenade and treat yourself
afterwards to coffee at Elixir or Ozone Coffee Roasters. The Len Ly
Centre in the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, a work of art in itself, is
the only institute in NZ dedicated to a single artist.
After lunch head out to Dawson’s Falls or pop into the DOC office
and select one of the short walks on Mt Taranaki.
Overnight New Plymouth (B&B)
Day 6 Depart New Plymouth towards Stratford to the enigmatically
named Forgotten World Highway. This seriously under rated
scenic drive takes you through the backroads of eastern Taranaki
through to Taumarunui. It is a designated heritage trail full of
places of historic importance. You will make a short “departure”
from NZ along this highway as you enter the Republic of
Whangamomona, self declared on 1Nov 1989 after a boundary
dispute. Make sure you get your official passport stamp at the
only pub in the "Republic."
Continue on to Taumarunui.
As you near the end of the drive at Aukopae you will find Lauren’s
Lavender Farm. This is a “must stop” location for some lunch or
refreshments, depending on the time you pass by. The rows of
lavender are breath taking as are the products found in the shop.
After strolling through the lavender rows, you can make your way
down to the Whanganui River which is still as busy today as in
the early days.
Overnight Taumarunui (DB&B.)
Day 7 Early morning departure with Forgotten World Adventures on their
shuttle to the start of the rail line at Okahukura. Here you’ll board your
Rail Cart and set off on your journey through the Forgotten World.
Immerse yourself in the changing views of rolling hills, remote farmland
and native bush, and experience wildlife close to the tracks, as you travel
through tunnels and over bridges on this unique excursion.
Stop at Tokirima Station and enjoy a Ploughman’s lunch between your
adventures before taking the shuttle to the Ohinepane Landing on the
To say the next art of your adventure is just an informative Jet Boat journey
on the Whanganui River undersells what will likely be the highlight of your day.
You will thunder along at high speed and take in the awe-inspiring scenery
until you reach Cherry Grove's Taumaranui office.
If you want a slightly later start to your morning, it is possible to take this trip
in the reverse direction and start with the Jet boat at 1030 and finish with the
Overnight Taumarunui (B&B).
Day 8 Depart Taumarunui north along the winding but scenic SH4 to
Te Kuiti where you will find the bronze statue of their most
famous son, Sir Colin Meads. The statue by Aucklander Natalie
Stamila who also created the Sir Michael Jones Statue at Eden
Park, stands 2.5m tall and has incredible detail such as “the way I
laced my boots,” which was much appreciated by “Pinetree” himself.
Continue through Te Kuiti to the turnoff to the stunningly new
glow worm experience at the Footwhistle Cave complex. This is a
very personalised tour underground to view the glow worms.
Continue on to Kihikihi and the turnoff to Pukeatua and your
guesthouse for this evening beside the Sanctuary Mountain eco
park at Maungatautari.
Overnight Maungatautari, Pukeatua – B&B
Day 9 This morning after breakfast drive the short distance to meet your
guide at the entrance of Sanctuary Mountain, the fully fenced,
predator free eco island of Maungatautari. Local iwi and farmers
have brought this land back to how it might have looked in pre
European times, stocked full of now rare birds such as the Takahe
and the Brown Kiwi as well as the lowland parrot, the Kaka. There
are tuatara and giant cave wetas if you’re brave enough to take an
evening walk with a ranger who will point these out to you.
After lunch take a walk through the bush along the banks the
Waikato River near Lake Arapuni and visit the Arapuni Hydro
Electric Station, the oldest in NZ currently generating electricity
having been You can cross the river on a suspension
bridge just up from the station.
Overnight Pukeatua B&B
Day 10 Depart Pukeatua after breakfast and continue to Auckland Airport
via Hamilton and a visit to the incredible Hamilton Gardens.
Continue to Auckland to return your car before checking in for
your flight home.