Golf Cart Renaissance? The Thrill of Low-Speed Rail
Here's a bucket-list trip for the kooky trainspotter in your life.
New Zealand–based tour operator Forgotten World Adventures invites folks to drive "rail carts" along the old Stratford to Okahukura Railway Line, which was originally built between 1901 and 1933, and which runs parallel to the Forgotten World Highway.
The "rail carts," however, are not velvet-draped sleepers from the glamorous heyday of rail travel. They're souped-up golf carts, imported from the U.S. (Georgia, to be exact). Their little steering wheels don't work now—probably a good thing—but you can still can stop and go with the pedals, all the better for enjoying the views, or posing for camera-toting rubberneckers.
This is more than just some carnival ride, too: You can be the engineer of your own cart in the company's two-day "Ultimate" odyssey, which runs the nearly 90-mile line, with a break for an overnight stay at the Whangamomona Hotel (cost: about $400 a person). The trip features dozens of bridges, 28 hand-dug tunnels, two viaducts, and a very high chance of seeing a lot of goats. Certainly, the ride is leisurely: pedal to the medal, the carts only go about 12 miles per hour.