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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Taranaki, Hawke's Bay & Wellington Provincial Districts]

Roads and Railways

Roads and Railways.

As the country has been cleared of bush to make room for agriculture and dairying, the internal means of communication have steadily advanced into the wilderness. Though Taranaki has not yet any direct railway connection with Auckland, there is hope that this will be supplied within a comparatively short period of time. Meanwhile the district is relatively better provided with roads and railways than Auckland. The chief means of communication is the railway from Wellington, which traverses the district between Patea and New Plymouth—a distance of sixty-six miles. Through trains run every day, except Sunday, between New Plymouth and Wellington, and vice versa, a distance of 251 miles. The railway from Stratford to Whangamomona, now (June, 1906) open as far as Douglas Road, eleven miles from Stratford, will eventually be extended to connect with the North Island main trunk railway at Ongarue station.

The main North Road runs from New Plymouth, passing through the towns of Waitara and Urenui; and is formed as a cartroad to Mokau, the northern boundary of the district. All the streams are bridged with the exception of the Mokau river, on which there is a good ferry. From Mokau there is a dray-road right through to Te Kuiti, on the Auckland railway system. About midway between New Plymouth and Waitara, the Mountain Road diverges, and runs almost due south, and chiefly along the railway, for a distance of forty miles, connecting with the main South Road at the town of Hawera. This is at present the principal road in the district, tapping, as it does, large numbers of district roads, and passing through the towns of Inglewood, Midhirst, Stratford, Eltham, Normanby, and Hawera.

Summit Cutting, Huiroa: 1905.Furkert, photo.

Summit Cutting, Huiroa: 1905.
Furkert, photo.

The Ohura Road branches from the Mountain Road at Stratford. It is formed and open for traffic as page 39 a dray road for fifty-six miles from Stratford, and for horse traffic to sixty-four and a-half miles. A coach runs in summer time every Monday and Thursday (returning on the following days) between Stratford and Whangamoana village, a distance of forty-one miles; and when it eventually connects with Auckland it will open up a large area of fertile country.

The main South Road from New Plymouth follows the trend of the coast to the south, and was at one time the coach road to Wellington. It passes through the villages of Omata, Oakura, Okato, Rahotu, Otakeho, Manutahi South and Kakaramea, and the towns of Opunake, Manaia, Hawera, and Patea.

The Junction Road runs southeast from New Plymouth, and crosses the Mountain Road and railway at Inglewood thirteen miles out; it is metalled for thirty-six miles and a-quarter, and formed as a dray road for forty-five miles and three-quarters, where it connects with the Ohura road at a distance of thirty miles from Stratford. This road crosses a number of district roads; hence its name.

The Opunake Road runs from Stratford to Opunake, twenty-six miles, skirting the southern base of Mount Egmont. It is formed and metalled for twelve miles from Stratford; the remainder is open for horse traffic only. Wheel traffic turns down to Manaia Road to Kaponga, and thence along the Eltham-Opunake Road to the latter place. The route is metalled throughout.

The Eltham Road runs from Eltham to Opunake, twenty-five miles, connecting with the Opunake Road at Punehu, seven miles from Opunake. This is formed and metalled throughout.

There are other main roads, such as the Rawhitiroa Road, leaving the Mountain Road near Eltham; and the Otaraoa, Moki and Okoe roads.