OMAKA LODGE – Experience The Forgotten World

Omaka Lodge is located just 7kms from the northern end of New Zealand’s iconic Forgotten World Highway, so is ideally located to explore and experience the mystery and history of The Forgotten World area. The phrase ‘The Forgotten World’ was first used to describe the remote area between Taumarunui and Stratford that is traversed by the 150km-long State Highway 43. The rugged but beautiful nature of the isolated road, not to mention the ghost towns it passes through, led to it being known as The Forgotten World Highway. As time has marched on, the phrase ‘The Forgotten World’ has evolved to encompasses a broad area in the central North Island’s Ruapehu District that can be experienced by road, rail or river.


The traditional way to experience The Forgotten World is by motor vehicle, and being at the northern end of The Forgotten World Highway means Omaka Lodge is a convenient place to stay – either before commencing your journey south, or at the end of your journey north. Whichever direction you choose to travel the Highway, you’ll find it an unforgettable experience. The road climbs four saddles with spectacular views, and dips down into numerous valleys, mostly bush clad. Along the way you’ll travel through a one-way tunnel, across one-way bridges and on a narrow section of road carved out of a cliff face alongside a river gorge. There are the remains of a number of old settlements en route, including the iconic township of Whangamomona, home to the Whangamomona. Almost halfway along the Forgotten World Highway, Whangamomona is a great place to stop for for a break – read the heritage signboards for an insight to life as it was, or pop into the Whangamomona Hotel for a bite and a drink – lonely planet rated this as one of New Zealand’s top 10 country pubs.

One of the most fascinating ways to experience the Forgotten World is to go on one of the RailCart tours offered by Forgotten World Adventures, located just 8kms from Omaka Lodge. RailCarts are self-drive buggies that allow tourists to travel along the rails of the disused 142km railway line from Taumarunui to Stratford. The line travels through rugged countryside, crossing numerous bridges and passing through a number of tunnels – the longest being 1.5km. Scott & Chris went on a 10-Tunnel tour in 2017 and found it to be a fantastic and unforgettable experience, totally unlike anything they’ve experienced anywhere else in the world

Experiencing The Forgotten World by the Whanganui River has been occurring for well over a century, and is perhaps even more popular today. At 290km long, the Whanganui River is New Zealand’s third-longest river, and was historically navigable by riverboat and paddle-steamers as far as Taumarunui – 230km upstream from the seaside city of Whanganui. Nowadays the river isn’t used as a primary means of transport, but as a means to experience The Forgotten World from the unique perspective offered by canoes and kayaks trips. For a less sedate option, jetboat trips on the Whanganui River are also available – including to New Zealand’s iconic ‘Bridge To Nowhere’, a concrete road bridge that has no roads leading to or from it, and is one of the definitive icons of The Forgotten World. Scott & Chris visited the Bridge To Nowhere by jetboat tour in 2017 and found it a very thought-provoking and interesting experience.

Whether you prefer road, rail or river, all options are within easy reach of Omaka Lodge – to find out more, please select any of the buttons below. At the end of the day, however you chose to explore The Forgotten World, you can return to the relaxing sanctuary of Omaka Lodge, a tranquil oasis amidst New Zealand’s Forgotten World.

Omaka Lodge

If you like what you see we invite you to share us on your social media