Taumarunui is in the King Country region of NZ’s North Island, where glow worms sparkle in the dark of the nearby Waitomo Caves.
Things to do
It’s all about nature and heritage in Taumaruni. Drive or cycle down the Forgotten World Highway, 150 kms in total, where deserted bright green hills greet you from either side of the winding road. You’ll find the Moki tunnel, an old railway tunnel from the 1930s, and Whangamomona, a near-deserted heritage town with no phone coverage, abandoned buildings, one very hospitable hotel and amazing hillside views.
If you’re a cycling buff – or just buff from cycling – head to nearby Pureora Forest Village to embark on the Timber Trail. You’ll travel through forest, past rivers and waterfalls, and get some awesome views from as many as eight suspension bridges. You can see a bit of the trail on a one-day ride or take in the whole thing over a few days.
The Tongariro National Park is the home of three majestic mountains: Mt Ruapehu, Mt Tongariro and Mt Ngaurahoe (Mt Doom in the ‘Lord of the Rings’ movies!). These mountains are worth the hike or chairlift ride with special sights like Crater Lake, a bright blue geothermal lake on Ruapehu. If you want to ski or snowboard, you’re in the right place for that too.
Down by the Whanganui River, you can chill out with a 3km Riverbank Walk or tackle the river on a kayak, canoe or jetboat. You’ll make your way past hills and valleys, towering walls of rock and lush greenery.
Taumarunui’s town centre has cool cafes, a variety of restaurants and the odd shop where you can stock up on outdoorsy gear.
Taumarunui is a two-hour drive from Hamilton. Check out our flights to Hamilton and then hire a car to get the most out of your Taumarunui trip and Forgotten World Highway adventure. Don’t let the name fool you – it’s an experience you’ll remember forever!
Hotels in Taumarunui start at NZ$91 per night. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.