For a taste of genuinely rural New Zealand, follow the Forgotten World Highway between Taumarunui and Stratford (SH43), a rugged 155m road that twists through the hills west of Taumarunui. All but a 12km stretch through the Tangarakau Gorge is sealed, but allow at least three hours for the journey, and be sure to fuel up beforehand as there’s no petrol along the route.

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