New Zealand State Highway 43

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New Zealand State Highway 43, also called the Forgotten World Highway, is a road that runs 148 km from Stratford in Taranaki to Taumarunui in the King Country. It contains the only unsealed portion of the New Zealand state highway network.

State Highway 43 NZ.svg

State Highway 43
Forgotten World Highway
Route information
Maintained by NZ Transport Agency
Length148 km (92 mi)
Major junctions
West end SH 3 at Stratford
East end SH 4 at Taumarunui
Whangamomona, Ohura
Highway system
SH 41SH 44
Moki Tunnel on SH43

Route description[edit]

The road passes through small towns such as Toko, Douglas, Te Wera, Pohukura, Strathmore, Whangamomona, Marco, Koruatahi, Tahora, Tatu, and 10 km off the highway is Ohura. In the 1920s the Stratford–Okahukura Line was built. Many of the ghost towns are from the railway days.

Driving the highway takes up to 3 hours, as it passes through rugged countryside. It climbs three saddles: the Strathmore Saddle, Whangamomona Saddle, and Tahora Saddle. 14 km past Whangamomona is the Moki Tunnel, also known as Hobbit's Hole. Near one end of the Moki Tunnel is the turn off for the Mount Damper Falls, the fourth-highest in the North Island, and past the other end is the Tangarakau Gorge, with walls just under 200 ft high.

12 km (7.5 mi) of the road through Tarangakau Gorge is unsealed. This makes State Highway 43 the only state highway that currently has an unsealed section. There is also an unsealed section in the middle of State Highway 38, but that portion is not designated a state highway. A 2017 report stated that sealing the Tangarakau Gorge road would cost approximately $7m.[1]

Route changes[edit]

State Highway 43 used to end on SH 40 at Ohura, before SH 40 was revoked in 1991 and SH 43 rerouted to Taumarunui via Aukopae along River Road.


State Highway 43 has been ranked as one of the 10 worst roads in New Zealand by the Police.[2] The slippery gravel surface in the Tangarakau Gorge is the main cause of the highway's bad safety record. This section is not scheduled to be sealed, however, because of the low traffic volume. Some local residents have protested the condition of the unsealed road; in 2016 homemade signs proclaimed the road "closed".[3]


The road runs through the Republic of Whangamomona, a locality that declared itself a republic in 1989 after a revision in district boundaries forced it out of Taranaki.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "State Highway 43 Investigation" (PDF). Taranaki Regional Council.
  2. ^ "SH43 among worst 10 roads for crashes". Taranaki Daily News. Fairfax NZ News. 27 March 2013. Retrieved 19 May 2013.
  3. ^ "Why residents 'closed' this State Highway with a home-made sign". Taranaki Daily Times. Fairfax NZ News. 27 October 2016. Retrieved 25 March 2018.

External links[edit]