IN sOmE wAYs TImE hAd sTOOd sTILL IN ThIs pART OF ThE COUNTRY
As our journey continued we went through a few more damp, dark tunnels and also bridges crossing the stunning yet eerie Whanganui River. Native bush surrounded us and often Maree had to get out to cut down overhanging branches, dig out vigourous weeds and flick stones off the track.
After about seven hours we arrived in Whangamomona. This small town is on the Forgotten World Highway and its most striking feature is its hotel, which is for sale. Proprietors Geoff and Penny Taylor have owned the pub for five years and now want to return home to the South Island. They told me that the good points about living in an isolated area of the New Zealand are the same as the bad points – no Broadband, no cell phone coverage and miles from the hustle and bustle of city life.
The hotel was fairly empty when we were there, but it was a rainy day. I enjoyed my aforementioned Pinot Gris and the Upholsterer/Mechanic had a beer. Just as we were leaving one of the locals “Pork” stopped in with his three sons, Jed, Max and Gus. They were happy to pose for a photo. The boys all had special “Frog's Blood” soft drinks prepared by Geoff. They stood on bar stools and leaned over the bar watching Geoff make their frightening concoctions and I got the sense that in some ways time had stood still in this part of the country. In Auckland or Wellington, parents dressed in Hugo Boss might be ordering lattes in posh cafes, while their immaculately presented children sip on fluffies. I just can't see that ever happening in Whangamomona and I think that is a good thing.
The iconic Whangamomona Hotel
Proprietors Geoff and Penny Taylor
“My Three Sons” – Pork with Jed, Max and Gus