Guest speaker at the September Rebus meeting was Ian Balme, director of Forgotten World Adventures.
Interesting, informative and entertaining, Ian gave his business background which included farming, project development, and local council, going on to describe the concept and activities of Forgotten World Adventures.
The business sees visitor numbers between 6-7000 annually of which 80 percent represents the domestic market.
Based around the Taranaki region, Taumarunui is the usual depart/return destination with townships of Whangamomona, Douglas and Stratford in the mix. Visitors select travel routes by RailCar, RailBike, JetBoat, helicopter or a combination.
Ian explained that the RailCart has been adapted for self-drive travel along an abandoned railway line through deep valleys and tunnels to townships long forgotten, and the RailBike designed for comfort and ease requiring moderate fitness, but no previous cycling experience.
The JetBoat is custom-built and allows one to “feel the wind in your hair” while learning of the history of the majestic Whanganui River.
Combo trips incorporate five, ten or 20 tunnels and takes between four hours or four days.
Interspersed with amusing anecdotes, Ian gave facts and figures of the business and commented on the positive aspects it has delivered to the region. Of note is the maintenance of the 142km of rail line, benefit to accommodation venues because of visitor numbers, a noticeable rise in real estate operations, availability of scholarships, donations to schools and playgroups, and maintenance of native bush centres along the rail line.
Particular pride is attached to the collating and updating of historical records as well as the presentation of artwork/signage along the trails. Visit the comprehensive visual website for Forgotten World Adventures at www.fwa.co.nz.
n Want to know more about Mangawhai Combined Rebus Club? Meet every third Thursday of the month in the Senior Citizens’ Hall, Fagan Place, Mangawhai Heads at 2pm. Visitors welcome. Contact Gaylene Lawrence 431 5617 or Beve Smith 431 5777 for more details.