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Awikino and Ohura, Feb. 2009

As usual, we took the long route from Auckland through Clevedon then across to the West coast. (the things we do to avoid State Highway 1!) We travelled down the scenic SH3 past TeKuiti, and on to Awakino on the west coast for our first overnight stop.

Awakino is a small settlement, with a typical traditional NZ hotel called - yip - the 'Awakino Hotel'. ( It is full of locals, is host to the local fishing and hunting clubs, and has an impressive range of wild pigs heads displayed across the bar. Cheap beer and food, friendly staff, a basic but comfortable room, and a good night's sleep. They moved cars so that the motorbikes could be parked in a courtyard just meters from our room.

Next day we continued south, turning just before New Plymouth and on to Stratford. Now was the last opportunity to fill up with fuel before heading on up SH43 (The Forgotten World Highway).

The Forgotten World Highway

is 150km long and joins Stratford in Taranaki to Taumarunui in the Ruapehu district ( There are very few settlements along it now, with the only one of any significance being the Republic of Whangamona (

Why a republic? Well in 1989 regional council boundaries were redrawn, with an emphasis on connected catchments. These revised maps made Whangamomona part of the Manawatu-Wanganui Region. Residents objected, as they wanted to continue being part of the Taranaki Region, and on 1 November 1989, they responded by declaring themselves the “Republic of Whangamomona” at the first Republic Day. Though the move began as a pointed protest, the town continued to hold a celebratory Republic Day once a year, during which a vote for President was held. The presidents have been varied, ranging from a goat to a poodle!


We met our good friends Wayne and Jocelyn at Whangamomona, then continued on towards Taumarunui. A detour took us on to the town of Ohura. Ohura was once a prosperous logging town, with a sideline of also being the nearest town to a prison. But the trees have gone and the prison has recently closed (Oct. 2008) So Ohura is now a ghost town. The general store closed just recently, and the garage which used to employ 15 mechanics now holds a bric-a-brac store. It's very sad.

On to stay on Wayne's farm in Ongarue for the night. Wayne is the only person I know who has a prison in his back yard! It's the old Ongarue prison, bought by Waynes father when he heard it was being dismantled. There's enough stuff in it to stock a small museum!

Next day saw us taking a very long route home, with Wayne, Jocelyn and a couple more of their biker friends coming along for the ride. Very sobering was the news of an accident about five minutes in front of us where a group of bikes near Mangakino were involved in a serious and fatal head-on collision.

Which brings us to our lesson of the day. New Zealand has some fantastic riding, and there are times where you see very little traffic. But don't become complacent - and don't assume there's nothing coming!

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motorcycle_trips/awakino_and_ohura.txt · Last modified: 2010/11/21 11:52 by art
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