Tourist Attractions around Taumarunui
Forgotten World Adventures – Rail Cart Tours
The Stratford to Okahukura railway line is rich in history, legend and natural beauty. Experience the Forgotten World from the comfort of a rail-cart, cleverly adapted to be driven along the tracks of the Forgotten World Railway. There are four self-drive tours to choose from, departing from either Taumarunui or Stratford, during the summer months of October though to April.
Skiing and snowboarding at Whakapapa and Turoa Skifields is available for all abilities in season, with Happy Valley catering to learners and the chairlift taking the more experienced far up the mountain.
When there is no snow the alien scenery of the upper mountain is still stunning. There are also bushwalks down below the snowline where you can see some of New Zealands rare plants and wildlife, including Riflemen and Whiteheads, or maybe even a Kiwi. Or for the extra fit, you can tramp the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. However be sure to take all safety precautions as trampers frequently have to be helicoptered out of this treacherous region.
For an even more spectacular view of Ruapheu and the other mountains take a scenic flight.
Canoeing or kayaking down the Wanganui River is an adventure not to be missed.
There are many companies providing full tours or just canoes for hire and they will collect you from Taumarunui. You can choose a one day trip, or many days and camp overnight at Department of Conservation camps on the banks of the unspoilt Whanganui River. Leave modern life behind for a while as you paddle through deep chasms and valleys filled with untouched native forest.
Or if this sounds like too much work you could take a trip on the Adventurer II, an old fashioned houseboat which travels up and down the Whanganui River just like the boats of a century ago. 239 Rapids to Wanganui, with much less chance of falling out!
“Taumarunui on the Main Trunk Line” as in the words of the old song, is the perfect holiday spot for railway enthusiasts. You can still see how Taumarunui grew around the railway and many locals help preserve this history. A railways museum is open by appointment and you can see Railways memorabilia in the Information Centre along with a minature of the Raurimu Spiral. The actual spiral can be seen about half an hour South on State Highway 4 at Raurimu.
Tarrangower Golf Course is a well respected, 18 hole, all weather course. Taumarunui Golf Club is an extremely active group of men and women who welcome all guests to their course.
Rejuvenate your spirit with a ride through the ancient forests of the Timber Trail. Following old tramlines, this specially designed track winds through the Pureora Forest Park, between Benneydale and Ongarue. Expect to be wowed by the views offered by the eight large suspension bridges along the trail, the splendour of the forest, and the sounds of birdcalls as you meander 83km across the middle of the North Island. There are several local operators where you can hire mountain bikes and get transport between Taumarunui and the trail.
The Mountains to Sea cycle trail is a four to six day ride starting on Mount Ruapehu, covering two national parks and finishing in Wanganui. The trail covers some of the remote area along the Whananui River and includes a section by jetboat on the river.
The 42nd Traverse is a well known trail used by mountain bikers, dirtbikers, quadbikers and trampers. Starting or ending in the small rural town of Owhango about 20 minutes South of Taumarunui, this rough 46 kilometre trail travels through often muddy, sub alpine forest and includes a river crossing.
The Forgotten World Highway
For those who enjoy getting off the beaten track the Forgotten World Highway is a slow, windy but picturesque road from Taumarunui to Stratford in Taranaki. This road is particularly popular with motorcyclists. Near the Taumarunui end you will find the Lavender Farm, which is a glorious spot to stop for a coffee and smell the acres of flowers on a sunny day. About half way is the small town of Whangamomona, where many travellers stop at the historic hotel. If you are there at the right time of year (usually January each year) Whangamomona Republic Day multiplies the population of this village many times over.