Forgotten World Highway/Stratford
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Road less traveled delivers shear delights
It's easy to rush by New Zealand's sleepy sheep-strewn North Island en route to the adrenalin-pumping south, but don't forgot to stop and smell the serenity. Grab some take-away and get ye to the countryside along the Forgotten World Highway. If watching fluff balls munching on an emerald sea doesn't soothe stress away, you need more than a vacation. (I suggest trying it again with a bottle of local Syrah, but bring a designated driver. The Forgotten World Highway has a few winding tricks and a 180-meter tunnel up its sleeve) You can catch the 150-kilometer highway at Stratford or Taumarunui. Request a faux passport at the Whangamomona Hotel. The town sought independence in 1988 and claims to be its own republic. Ask to see the current mayor - a job once held by a poodle and a goat. If driving along the backroads leaves you longing for everlasting woolgathering, stop and ask a local about what it takes to live the life of a sheep herder. Chances are, the hard-work stories will convince you counting sheep is more relaxing from afar.
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