Posted by Les Divers on Nov 09, 2017

Ian Balme is a Waikato Farmer with a booming voice and an interesting history of development projects and commercial success.  When he stumbled across the decommissioned Stratford/Okahukura Railway Line 7 years ago he immediately sensed that the unused line and the impressive scenery it travelled through could be utilised in a unique way by creating a scenic train ride in the majestic forgotten world.  Obtaining a 30 year Lease over the line in 2011 was just the first step in creating a viable business.  Rail carts needed to be designed and constructed and refined in a way where all ages could be readily accommodated.  The Rolling Stock had as its pedigree Golf Carts and in designing and developing the conveyances, the comfort and safety of the cart was put before the horse-power – the petrol engines allow a maximum of 24 km per hour (two thirds of the company’s clients are 65 plus). 

Logistics was another challenge.  Although the problem of getting carts back and forth from the end of the line is relatively easy (tours can start from either end) there are still some difficulties in the fringe season.  The tour company provides catering for morning and afternoon teas and lunch; the Whangamomona Hotel has increased its staff from 3 to 18 as a result of the business Forgotten World Adventures has operated.

Those present on Monday evening to enjoy Ian’s sense of humour and enthusiasm for what has been created will certainly remember “Forgotten World” as something to add to the “to do” list.  It is worth a visit to the website

Ian was introduced and thanked by Graham Houston.