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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

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