|The next day we set off for New Plymouth via the Surf Coast Highway which didnt turn out to be very coastal at all! It was pouring with rain which was a shame as we only got a very quick glimpse of the wonderful and huge Mount Taranaki Volcano, situated within the Egmont National Park.
As New Plymouth turned out to be just like another big town we decided to carry on. This is when we stumbled across The Forgotten World Hwy. Starting in Stratford, which is home to NZ's first glockenspiel, and is supposed to look like the Stratford Upon Avon....it doesn't! and continuing on to Taumarunui we set off on the very windy but beautiful highway.
The road started off winding its way over and around rolling farmlands full of cows and sheep and seemed to have lots of hills which were too small to be mountains but a lot bigger than normal hills. It then continued to wind its way along the valley and turned into gorgeous lush rainforests before we arrived in Whangamomona. This village became an Independant Republic after disagreements with local councils...alledgedly! We stopped at probably the best passport office in the world at the Whangamomona Hotel and made good our entry with a pint of beer! We didnt get to see the President of the Republic as he was out feeding the sheep!
We then continued on our way to Te Kuiti and the Waitomo Caves.