The Forgotten World Highway

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Good evening everyone! S0rry, I’m a day late this week but lets not think too much about that! Tonight’s post is all about our first venture out of the town of New Plymouth to explore the North Island some more.

Our first real experience of New Zealand’s roads was the Forgotten World Highway, the state highway 43, which we joined on our way to Lake Taupo. Having spent the last year travelling Australia’s long straight roads, wide enough to fit two road trains on, the narrow windy lanes of New Zealand were a bit of a shock. The highway itself is only 150 kilometres long, linking Taumarunui to Stratford and passing through the village of Whangamomona, which declared itself a republic in 1989. We broke up the afternoon of driving by pausing at places of interest for photos and a picnic lunch before running into a New Zealand traffic hazard… hundreds of sheep on the road.

Having wound our way along the Forgotten World Highway we arrived in Lake Taupo, where we spent the weekend in a batch (or holiday home) my aunt and uncle had borrowed from their friends in a small lakeside town. The house had a lovely view of the lake, which we spent plenty of time enjoying in the evenings since my uncle had planned plenty for us to do in the days. Our timing was well timed (completely by accident) in order to go white water rafting in the upper section of the Tongariro Gorge, which is normally inaccessible. Twice a year they release water into the river from the dam and our visit that Saturday was one of the two. Jack and I hopped into a raft, whilst my uncle kayaked the river and met us again at the bottom. Unfortunately I don’t have any photos of us rafting but it was so much fun, I loved every minute of it and would have happily gone down for a second time! Having tried our hand at rafting, that afternoon we took my uncle’s kayak out on the lake for a play around before heading home for an early night. The next morning we were taking on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing but more on that next time… Have a great weekend everyone!!

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Devil’s Marbles

Alongside the Stuart Highway, approximately 100 km south of Tennant Creek are the Devil’s Marbles or Karlu Karlu, their traditional Warumungu name. The rocks are believed to be the eggs of the Rainbow Serpent and the site is of great significance to the local people. We pulled over to see the marbles to break up the highway journey and stretch our legs as we wandered around the piles they had formed.








Alice Springs

Alice Springs, very nearly the centre of Australia. In truth we drove past the centre of Australia a few days later on our way to Uluru (as you can see in the bottom two photos). Like so many tourists before us we had decided to base ourselves in Alice for a few days either side of our visit to Uluru. Whilst here we walked to the top of Anzac Hill and another scenic lookout within the botanical gardens to take in the views of the town.





Barrow Creek Hotel

Along the highway from Tennant Creek heading towards Alice Springs sits the Barrow Creek Hotel and Roadhouse. Here travellers stop to refuel both their cars and themselves on their way through the centre of Australia, decorating the walls of the pub with a note to cover the cost of their next drink as they pass through. We left our message on a Swedish bank note, which was pinned to a blank space by the friendly bartender before we continued on our way to Alice Springs.