Owhango Lagoon & the Forgotten World Highway – Day 39
A road trip down the Forgotten World Highway
Today we are squeezing two activities into Day 39 of 365 Days: 365 Activities! We are checking out the Owhango Lagoon before going on a road trip down the Forgotten World Highway!
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We were planning on just driving along the Forgotten World Highway which is stunning and we want to drive only halfway through to the Tangarakau Gorge. Specifically the Tangarakau Village or Town or whatever is left there because it is dubbed as Ghost Town in New Zealand.
Today before we do our massive drive on the Forgotten World Highway we’re going to do a drive to Owhango Lagoon. This has been recommended to us by Paul at the Forgotten World Adventures Motel. So Paul asked us to find the two orange arrows. There is one here. And then the other one is over there. Now he said to follow the track up to the lagoon but did he say to go left or to go right, Laura? It was either left or right?
We walk through the forest maybe for just about five to 10 minutes and through the trees we all of a sudden see the reflection of the trees down below us and it’s really trippy cos it’s dark water and it’s just a clear reflection and it looks like the trees are right there under our feet which is strange but no that is the [Owhango] Lagoon! Which is basically split in half by a small boardwalk in the middle and you see the perfect reflection of the forest and the mountains and the sky on the lagoon and really the forest pretty majestic it’s those kind of really untouched forests. You can really tell that there is about 10 people ever hiking there it’s just where they walk their dog and it’s about ten house around. There’s no others going so everything is covered in moss because no one ever steps outside of the footpath which is perfect. We do a bit more of the walk into the forest and there’s like bits of plants growing on bark and things and it’s all pretty amazing. Everything is gorgeous there’s just a few birds to make a little bird of noise and that’s pretty much it. Nothing else. Pretty amazing we keep on hiking you know all the way it’s kind of a loop and we hike on the way back and back to the campervan.
And that is the start of the Forgotten World Highway and we have also been warned by the locals that we should fill up the campervan with gas before we set off because the entire Forgotten World Highway doesn’t have a gas station so yeah, once we’re into the Forgotten World Highway we are on our own.
It’s crazy how much the weather changes so we had a a really amazing sunny day at the Owhango Lagoon this morning then as soon as we start the Forgotten World Highway a mist just comes in and all we see is well the fences beside us on the road side and just white mist and it’s all very like oo ahhh atmospheric. We’re no where near the Ghost Town yet but we can feel the essence of the Ghost Town around us. So along the Forgotten World Highway we stop quite a lot to take a few pictures we even hit a traditional New Zealand traffic jam which is basically a massive flock of sheep running toward you and well you don’t have a choice. Just stop the car because there are more of them than there are of you. There’s like a whole flock on the road just all they look like they’ve just been freshly sheared. We have to just stop the campervan and just watch them all go by take some photos because it’s hilarious. They all pass by and make their way up the road and we continue our journey to the top of the mountains and once we get over that sort of first peak, the sun comes out from nowhere all over again and it’s a totally different day on this other side of the mountain we’ve just been climbing up. You are going to a forgotten world and they named it very well as soon as we start driving civilisation just ends. You know, you see a few fences here and there you see a few sheep here and there but you don’t see any house you don’t see any lights you don’t see any other car. Literally, for the entire time we were driving which was about four hours, we saw two other cars so don’t have an accident in there either because there is no one there going to help you. We then reach a section of gravel road which is 12km long and still baring in mind this is a national state highway and it is a gravel road and not only is it a gravel road, it’s a gravel road full of pot holes. It looks, yeah again, long forgotten. there’s pot hole after pot hole we’re bouncing up and down, rocking from side to side on the Forgotten World national state highway. It’s pretty hilarious. But despite the road being crazy, actually this is all within the Tangarakau Gorge which is a huge obviously a gorge which has huge steep sides of forest and there’s a river on one side of us and the sheer cliff face on the other side covered in all sorts of moss and little waterfalls and it like obviously it looks bloody fantastic.
And then we arrive at the something called the Moki Tunnel, it’s a one way tunnel it’s very narrow and it’s not a tunnel. It’s a cave! It’s a Hobbit hole. So I’m moving with this campervan really really carefully because I really feel that it’s going to be bong bong bong… on both sides of the tunnel. There is a lot of pot holes in it because I guess it’s much harder to maintain the road. No, no part of the road is maintained so there is no excuse. So we’ve been driving through the Forgotten World Highway for the last three hours mostly gravel road was a bit painful and it was very very slow instead of taking an hour it took three. And no we took a turn to Ghost Town it’s about 16km down. There’s a big rusty sign saying Ghost town we kind of think oh well it’s New Zealand it’s safe right? Right?
So we are in Ghost Town bushland camp and accommodation. We are going to… get murdered.
Maybe this is Ghost Town… This car is still less rusted than mine.
Someone’s done the washing. There is a door knocker. The washing machine just stopped it scared me. There’s only about three houses in this whole town so hopefully one of these houses has Simon and Sarah in it. But as we’re driving down I guess we’re easy to spot in our massive campervan, Simon is waving at us. He quickly introduces us to his family which involves five kids, two dogs, two kids as in baby goats and a cat and a wife and then he’s like right, let’s go int he Gaiter which is like a four by four farm vehicle in New Zealand – there called Gaiters. We drive up the mountain and get some really cool views of volcanoes from up there. Ok!
We pass the first gate and then we start speeding through the field mud more mud valley gully all of that just jumping on it goats sheep cows just everything just move away from Simon which is driving like crazy mad man which is like a great way to introduce yourself he’s like come with me I’m going to kill you in my natural roller-coaster. and then he’s turning again taking on an entire mountain and then we arrive on top of the ledge of the mountain and we go up and down and up and down and the ledge is really literally the width of this gaiter like woo wooo woo like Laura is on the back flying left and right and left and right and i can hear her going bown bown bown that’s her bum cheek on the plastic right here.
How’s Laura feeling? That was crazy.
Yeah, so finally we are at the top and ahhhhhhhhhh that is the sound of good views. So we drive all the way back just as crazy as it was on the way up there. Straight away my arse is in tatters I have the biggest bruise on my butt. And I have been sleeping on my neck a bit funny these last couple of nights but that’s just made it worse because no I have whiplash.
They have some cheese for us some beers it’s going to be a good evening. this is what I call life. cheese, alcohol and a cuddly dog. Dinner is ready! And it is like all these settlements in the middle of nowhere they go and catch their own food. The dogs are very friendly. There’s even one that like called Butter or something because it looks like its face is melting like butter! So yeah, we just play with the dogs and they’re very adorable.
Alright, so paul told us to find the two oranges arrow. Oranges arrow? Alright, so Logan asked us to find… Logan? Argh!