Ian, farmer, former Waikato Regional Councillor, keen outdoorsman and dedicated entrepreneur, recognised the gem that the rail line was.
The scenery before him was raw and beautiful. Inspired by the Otago Rail Trail, Ian understood the sense of adventure traveling down a railway line creates. His challenge was to find a safe and easy operation that offered the journey of a scenic train ride in the majestic Forgotten World.
Following a comprehensive process of investigation, innovation and design and help from expert engineers the Forgotten World rail carts were created. With a plan in place, including cutting-edge safety systems, the lease was secured from Kiwi Rail.
Forgotten World Adventure was real, giving visitors the exciting opportunity to self-drive along the 142 kms of heritage rail tracks during the summer season of October through to May (with some shorter winter tours available by arrangement), immersed in the remote and stunning New Zealand landscape.
Ian Balme is available to speak to any interested groups on the Forgotten World experience. A fun presentation explaining some of the history of the SOL rail line and the entrepreneurial journey of Forgotten World Adventures. To contact Ian click here.
We are so thankful to all those who voted for us in the People's choice award and so incredibly excited to announce we won for the second year in a row!
Founders Ian and Rachel Balme (far left) after receiving the NZME People's Choice Award
at the recent 2019 New Zealand Tourism Awards.