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Title: By Forest Ways in New Zealand
Author: Roberts, F. A.
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                   BY FOREST WAYS IN NEW ZEALAND

[Illustration: BERRIES OF SUPPLE JACK        _Frontispiece_.]



                          BY FOREST WAYS
                          IN NEW ZEALAND

                                BY
                           F. A. ROBERTS

[Illustration]

                       HEATH, CRANTON, LTD.
                     FLEET LANE, LONDON, E.C.



                             CONTENTS


  CHAPTER                                                 PAGE

        I WELLINGTON                                         9

       II STEWART ISLAND                                    20

      III OVERLAND TO MILFORD SOUND                         29

       IV THE COLD LAKES OF OTAGO                           47

        V THE NEW ZEALAND EDINBURGH                         58

       VI AMONG THE SOUTHERN ALPS                           64

      VII CHRISTCHURCH                                      79

     VIII FROM CHRISTCHURCH TO THE WEST COAST               86

       IX THREE WEEKS IN WESTLAND                          102

        X THROUGH THE BULLER VALLEY                        119

       XI THE COPLAND PASS                                 128

      XII THE WESTLAND GLACIERS                            143

     XIII THE WAITOMO CAVES                                167

      XIV NEW ZEALAND'S WONDERLAND                         178

       XV AUCKLAND                                         194



                       LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


  COLOURED BERRIES OF SUPPLE JACK               _Frontispiece_

                                                _To face page_

  A SANDY COVE--STEWART ISLAND                              22

  CLINTON RIVER--TE ANAU LAKE                               30

  LAKE WAKATIPU                                             47

  OTAGO HARBOUR                                             59

  ROAD BETWEEN FAIRLIE AND THE HERMITAGE                    66

  MOUNT COOK LILIES                                         72

  RIVER AVON AT CHRISTCHURCH IN WINTER                      81

  THE WESTLAND FOREST                                      101

  FRANZ JOSEF AND ALMER GLACIERS, FROM CAPE DEFIANCE       110

  MOUNTS SEFTON AND FOOTSTOOL, FROM COPLAND PASS           132

  GLACIER HOTEL, WAIHO GORGE                               143

  ICE PINNACLES, ALMER GLACIER                             149

  MOUNT MOLTKE AND VICTORIA GLACIER, FROM CHANCELLOR RIDGE 159

  SOUTHERN ALPS, FROM MOUTH OF WAIHO RIVER                 164

  LAKE ROTORUA                                             179

  MAORI ANCESTRAL FIGURE                                   197



By Forest Ways in New Zealand



CHAPTER I

WELLINGTON


The ship which brought me to New Zealand called first at
Wellington, the capital city, with a population, as I afterwards
heard, of ninety thousand.

Ships steam up a narrow, rocky channel into the harbour, which
widens out into an area of fifty square miles, with deep water
right up to the town, and wharves adjoining the chief streets. All
round the harbour are hills, most of them now cleared of trees
and grass-grown; but in 1840, when Wellington was founded as a
Colony under the British Crown, it was a tiny settlement of huts
ringed about by miles of untouched forests; and you realize with
never-failing wonder how great a change has been wrought in a very
short space of time. The town is built along the water front and up
the hills behind, and is spreading every day higher up the hills
and round the pleasant bays with which the rocky coast is indented.

To the stranger the noteworthy fact about these houses is the fact
that they are of wood, and as nearly all have red roofs, when you
see them perched upon the green hillsides, you wonder if you have
come to some big toy town. Later you find that only the residential
houses are invariably of wood; most of the public buildings--Post
Office, banks, Town Hall and shipping offices--are of solid, grey
concrete on steel frames; and both wood and steel are designed to
resist the earthquake shocks which often visit the city, though not
as a rule with great severity.

To a visitor from England all is strange and yet surprisingly
the same as things left behind at home. Here is a big city with
excellent shops, at which every imaginable need can be satisfied.
You can buy clothes of every description--pretty dresses and hats
or useful boots; there are jewellers and photographers; sellers of
books, music or pianos; a depôt for Liberty's art needlework; and
outside one of the florists' shops was a notice "Tree-ferns packed
and despatched to all parts of the world."

Tramcars run through streets paved with wooden blocks. On all sides
are men, women and children, dressed--many of them--in the latest
fashions from London or Paris; and it is no foreign country that
you have reached; for the shops have English names and familiar
advertisements of Bournville Chocolate or Pears' Soap, and all
these people are your own fellow-countrymen.

More than that, they are all possible friends, as I found before I
had been two hours in Wellington. I asked some question of a lady
in one of the tramcars, and after a little conversation she took me
to a restaurant for "morning tea." Here, in a large and airy room,
where all the small tables were decorated with vases of flowers
on spotless white tablecloths, we were served with date-scones
and sandwiches by girls tastefully dressed in green and white.
The same day, my friend of the morning entertained me in her own
home with afternoon tea and dinner. All this kindness was shown me
because I was, as she explained, "a visitor from Home," and it
was a pleasure to make me welcome in the new country. All through
New Zealand I met with the same open-hearted friendliness and
hospitality.

The shops, like those in other colonial towns, differ from English
ones in having outside verandahs--roofs of corrugated iron on iron
posts; the verandahs make the shop interior a little dark, but
afford most useful screens either from sun or rain. The town is
known as "Windy Wellington"; and it is said that you can anywhere
recognize a Wellington man by the way in which he holds on his
hat at street corners; the wind blows away microbes and keeps
the inhabitants healthy, but is very wearing both to clothes and
temper, and it is never wise to allude to it.

Neither is a strong wind always blowing. I have been in Wellington
on calm days of glorious, sunny weather, when the town lay bathed
in golden light, the blue harbour reflected the blue sky, and
all the surrounding hills were blue, with peaks behind paling to
grey in the distance. From the top of any of the hills that crowd
closely together in narrow ridges behind Wellington, you look down
on the town and on the irregular promontory on which it stands. On
one side of the promontory is the harbour--a thread of blue water
running out to the open ocean; and on a clear day, you look beyond
the harbour to the coast of South Island with the snowy peaks of
mountains near the coast. On the western side of the promontory,
you can see over the thirty-three miles of Cook Strait to the
nearest point of South Island, where blue headland and island,
separated by purple shadows, rise confusedly from the sea.

At your feet, sheep feed on the short, sweet grass; and here and
there in the gullies are still trees and ferns, reminders of days
gone by.

The Dominion Parliament meets at Wellington in a wooden building
that was until recently Government House; and the House of
Representatives sits in the old ballroom, to which visitors are
admitted by ticket. I went twice to hear the debate.

The Speaker's Chair is a small throne cushioned in crimson velvet,
set under a carved canopy of polished brown wood; on the right sat
Mr. Massey and the members of the Government; on the left, Sir
Joseph Ward and the Opposition. There are galleries at either end,
one for reporters, the other for strangers and members of the Upper
House; and round the room was set a row of chairs for members'
wives. The Mace was on a table in front of the Speaker's Chair.

The whole building is far too small, and will soon be replaced by
a larger and grander house, of which the foundations have already
been laid close to the present one.

Near the Houses of Parliament is the Museum, a small wooden
building, in which there is very little room adequately to display
all the treasures, and some have to be packed away and not shown at
all.

The chief treasure is a Maori house--not a house for living in,
but one in which the Maoris used to hold councils--a native Town
Hall. It is a long, narrow house of one room, with a high-pitched,
sloping roof, and it had originally one door and one window, both
side by side at one of the narrow ends. Ranged against the two
long walls are grotesque, carved, wooden figures of ancestors of
the tribe of Maoris by whom the house was made--these figures are
carved out of blocks of dull, red wood, and are three to four
feet high; pieces of glittering blue and green shell are fastened
in for eyes, and all the figures are ornamented very effectively
with circular patterns in chip carving; there are sixteen figures
on either side, and other figures again at both ends. The wall
space between each figure should be filled in with reeds set close
together, and crossed by narrow strips of wood fastened by thin
bands of flax; in this house at Wellington, the reeds have all been
replaced by wood, fluted, and painted a pale yellow; the ancestral
figures too have been raised some way above the floor. Originally
the walls were only the same height as the figures, and the roof
sloped from the ridge-pole to the carved heads. The Maoris used to
squat on the ground at their assemblies, so they did not need great
height in their council halls.

Besides the entire Maori house, this museum has other specimens of
Maori carving; such as a wooden verandah; and, set up on a high
post, a tiny wooden room, slightly ornamented with carving; this
latter the Maoris used as a food-store. Here too, I saw Maori
clothing: aprons for men and women, all made of flax, woven tightly
at the top and the ends left long and loose; there were long cloaks
of flax, decorated with thrums of flax tied at intervals over the
outer surface; sleeping mats too, neatly woven of flax.

Among the natural history exhibits the greatest curiosity is the
"moa," an extinct New Zealand bird, who had no wings, but used to
stalk over the country on enormous legs. No complete specimen of
this bird has ever been found, but many eggs have been dug up, and
sufficient bones and feathers for naturalists to reconstruct a
life-sized model. There the bird stands, like a huge grey emu; as I
stood by the side of it, my head reached the middle of the bird's
thigh. There are several eggs on view--large white eggs, the size
of cocoanuts; and some feathers, soft grey fluffy ones, like those
of the emu, with whose feathers the model is covered. Present-day
New Zealand birds are to be seen, with fish and beautiful shells
from the South Seas. There are a few unexpected curios; such as a
scrap of red and gold brocade from a cloak worn by Charles I; also
certificates from Langley, Buckinghamshire, stating that two people
named Powell, were in 1690 "buried in woollen, according to law."

Wellington has pretty public gardens, extending over many acres
up the hillside and down to a well-wooded ravine, and everywhere
native trees and ferns flourish. Below the hill is a broad stretch
of level ground, where you find flower-beds gaily planted with
English asters, zinnias and sweet peas, and shady pergolas with
climbing roses.

There are Zoological Gardens too, spread over another hill on the
opposite side of the town: the cages for birds and animals are
set among trees--high dark pines, with undergrowth of lighter
green--and the animals are rather hard to find as you trudge up and
down the steep paths. A brown bear was in a cage, with the usual
pole for him to climb: there were a fine African lion and lioness,
sea-lions in a pond, monkeys, lemurs, squirrels and opossums;
a good selection of many-coloured parrots and cockatoos from
Australia, and most gawdy macaws from Malay.

I was most interested in a native "kiwi," which I persuaded the
head-keeper to find for me. The kiwi lives in the bush and only
walks abroad by night, so that when he is in captivity he retires
during the day to the darkest, innermost recesses of his cage. The
keeper found him and pulled him along by his beak--a bird the size
of a large hen but on longer legs; it has a very long slender beak,
and fluffy, grey feathers, and resembles its giant relation, the
extinct moa, in having no wings.

In addition to gardens close to the town, Wellington has lately
acquired several thousand acres of forest land round a sandy bay
across the harbour. Here you find tall "rimus" and "totaras," green
ferns and mosses, and many lovely tree-ferns--the variety with
white undersides to their fronds, which in old days the Maoris
used, like children in a fairytale, to mark out trails.

In springtime, the hills behind the town and the high cliffs
along the shore are dazzling with golden broom and gorse; and on
sandhills, where it has been planted to bind the sand, the yellow
tree-lupin grows as freely as a buttercup.

Wellington has a large boys' school and fine University buildings.
The University is affiliated to the Colleges of the other large
towns, and women are admitted to degrees on equal terms with men.

There is always a steady air of bustle and business about
Wellington; it is an important port--big ships come and go, with
cargoes to be discharged and taken; and the fact that it is the
seat of the Government makes it a necessity for the Governor and
his suite to live here for several months of the year, and also
brings New Zealanders from all parts of the Dominion.



CHAPTER II

STEWART ISLAND


Stewart Island lies south of the two main islands of New Zealand,
separated by Foveaux Strait, a channel only thirty miles wide; but
usually the sea there is rough, and the passage from South Island
to Stewart Island in a small steam tug an unpleasant one. Stewart
Island is about forty miles long from north to south, and has a
coastline of between five and six hundred miles. In addition to
Stewart Island proper there are numerous small islands, named and
unnamed, scattered round the coast and away still further south.
Stewart Island has two mountains, one two thousand, the other three
thousand feet. The whole island is more or less hilly, and almost
entirely covered with native bush.

There is one township called Oban, and a number of houses and
cottages scattered about throughout the island. The steamer leaves
the Bluff, the port of Invercargill, twice a week for Stewart
Island, and takes passengers and mails to Oban's tiny wharf on
Half-Moon Bay. There are several "accommodation houses" for
tourists in Oban, all packed with people during the holiday season.
The one in which I stayed soon after Christmas was so full that
some of the visitors had to be housed in a small cottage in the
garden, others in a canvas tent, and one in a bathroom. There were
over forty visitors, and the one small drawing-room was so crowded
that we were glad to pack ourselves carefully on a cushioned seat
running all round the room.

The weather is very often wet on Stewart Island: it rained every
day during the eight days I spent there, and though I walked out in
all weathers, it was a pity to see the island so frequently through
torrents of rain.

The usual plan for visitors is to make up a party of twenty or
thirty from one of the hotels, hire a boat, take lunch, and boil
the billy in one of the charming bays which abound all round the
island. The day after I arrived was bright and sunny, just the day
for such an expedition, and a large party of us started gaily in
a motor sailing-cutter on a trip to Glory Bay and Ulva Island. The
sea was calm, with sufficient wind blowing for us to dispense with
the motor engine and trust only to the sails--a much pleasanter way
of travelling than by motor. We had a delightful two hours' run to
Glory Bay, where we anchored, and were all landed in a small rowing
boat on a beach covered thickly with grey pebbles, large and small.
Here we found a convenient fireplace fixed up--two iron supports
firmly fastened in piles of stones, a stout branch of a tree laid
across the uprights, and on the branch iron hooks dangling--all
provided by Government, to prevent any danger of damage to the bush
by careless picnic parties. On the hooks three billies were hung, a
fire of sticks was lighted underneath, and when the water boiled,
tea was sprinkled into each billy. In a few minutes the tea was
ready, and we had cups of it ladled out to us with an enamelled
mug, and sat down on the beach to an excellent picnic lunch of meat
sandwiches, jam sandwiches, and tea. The trees and ferns came right
down to the beach, and we looked across the quiet bay through a
framework of greenery to a wooded island with the open sea beyond.

[Illustration: A SANDY COVE--STEWART ISLAND.    _To face page 22_]

To-day I made acquaintance for the first time with the New Zealand
"rata," one of the finest of the forest trees, attaining a height
of fifty to a hundred feet. The rata is a species of myrtle, and
was covered just now with crimson myrtle flowers, which in the
sunlight turned a vivid scarlet, so that in patches the bush seemed
to be on fire.

After lunch we explored the bay in the rowing boat, took snapshots,
then again boarded the cutter, and sailed away for Ulva Island.
This is an island several miles in extent, densely covered with
bush; we landed, and walked for two miles along a very narrow,
mossy track. The bush is very thick here, and shady: tall trees
with ferns and mosses grow everywhere, while on the ground and
over the tree-trunks and among the green moss are little fragile,
white flowers. Even more noticeable than the trees are the
tree-ferns--hundreds of them--with drooping, feathery green fronds
crowning the slender, brown stems, which vary in height from six
feet to forty. They grow in remarkable perfection and abundance on
Stewart Island itself and on the islets round.

Our bush-track ended on a sandy beach. We then walked along a
well-made path for a short quarter of a mile to a post office
and store, kept by a solitary man who is the only inhabitant of
the island, and who apparently lives there very contentedly; he
collects the letters from the settlers on the neighbouring islands,
and sells grocery, thread, stationery and other useful articles. We
had been told that this was the most southerly post office in the
world, but learnt later that in the Auckland Islands there is one
many miles nearer the South Pole. Before we returned to the boat it
began to rain, and rained steadily all the way back to Oban--real
rain, which came down in sheets, and made it impossible to see
anything of the scenery.

This expedition was the only one during my stay on Stewart Island,
for after that, the sea was too rough for the boats to venture out.
So stormy was it that twice within the week the steamer from the
Bluff could not cross, and as the cable was not in working order,
we were completely isolated.

A great part of Stewart Island belongs to the Government of New
Zealand, and the bush is carefully protected, and heavy fines are
imposed on anyone who wilfully damages it by fire or in any other
way. For the benefit of tourists Government has spent some hundreds
of pounds on making tracks in all parts of the island: in places
simply a roughly beaten path, in others a "corduroy" track, formed
of stems of tree-ferns laid side by side. The walks along these
tracks are enchanting, either through dense bush, or skirting
the edge of the forest, with charming views through green ferns
and crimson rata to islands near and far, and the ever-distant
ocean. Often the tracks lead down to some sheltered bay with steep
tree-clad cliffs, whose bases are washed continually by the blue
Pacific. Above one of these beaches stands the most southerly cable
station in the world--an upright post, boarded four-square, through
which the overland wire vanishes, to re-appear at the opposite
station on the Bluff.

There are a number of native birds on Stewart Island. Chief
among these are the "bell-bird" and the "tui." The bell-bird
has a clear, musical call of its own, and can also imitate other
birds. The "tui," is often called the "parson-bird," on account
of two pretty white feathers which hang down under his chin like
old-fashioned Geneva bands; the rest of his plumage is a dark
glossy green; he is about the size of an English rook, bigger than
the bell-bird, and like the bell-bird, sings well and musically.
There are plenty of little birds; the robin, whose breast is yellow
instead of red; tits, wax-eyes, wrens, and others, who dress in
sober colours, and chirp to one another in pleasant, quiet notes.
Round the coast you see penguins perched on the rocks. The smaller
islands are favourite breeding-places for mutton-birds--grey birds
about as big as quails--which are much esteemed by the Maoris as a
delicacy: they are caught by the Maoris in quantities before the
birds can fly, and after they have been plucked and smoked, they
are preserved for future use in bags made of long ribbon seaweed.

Very good fish are to be caught near Stewart Island, as indeed
all round the New Zealand coasts; blue cod is one of the most
delicate, eaten either fresh or smoked, and the Stewart Island
oyster-beds are famous from one end of the Dominion to the other.

The people who live on Stewart Island have the reputation of being
rather lazy. Most of them are English, some of them are Maori
half-castes. Part of the land has been cleared and is used for
sheep runs, while some of the inhabitants are employed in cutting
down timber. The chief business of the place is looking after the
tourists who go in hundreds during the holiday months, and have a
splendid holiday with boating, fishing, bathing and picnicing, or
simply enjoying the mild climate and the lovely scenery.

Oban itself is a small township with a post-office; two small
stores, where you can buy post-cards, caps, boots, pencils or
grocery; and a baker's shop, with a baker who takes great pride in
his home-made bread, and had never heard of German yeast. Of public
houses there are none, as Stewart Island favours local prohibition,
and no intoxicating liquors may be sold. There is an "Athenaeum" or
reading-room, an Anglican Church, a Presbyterian Church, and some
small meeting-houses for religious purposes.

The Athenaeum is used as a public hall for dances and concerts. One
night a large party of us went to a concert there and heard songs
and recitations. The chief item on the programme was the "haka,"
or ancient Maori war dance, which was performed by four half-caste
Maori youths. There was no gliding movement, but much stamping
of feet, gesticulating and shouting, all in unison: it is a most
exhausting dance, and though it was most heartily encored, very
little of the performance was given a second time.

As the weather was so bad, we were very much thrown on our own
resources for amusement inside the boarding-house. Some sang or
recited, or played on piano or violin, and one of the men proved a
most dexterous and amusing conjurer. One night about fifty visitors
joined in progressive euchre--a game which is much played in New
Zealand, and another night we had a games party.

All through we contrived to be merry, in spite of the rain.



CHAPTER III

OVERLAND TO MILFORD SOUND


The walk along the Milford Track from Lake Te Anau to Milford Sound
has been described by a New Zealand writer as "the finest walk in
the world." It is a walk of thirty-three miles, through scenery of
ever-changing variety and beauty, and is now undertaken annually by
hundreds of tourists during the summer months.

Milford Track is in the South Island, among the lakes and fiords
of Otago, and goes through an uninhabited and unexplored country
of dense forest and inaccessible mountain. Tourists go by train to
Lumsden, a small lowland township, and then on by motor coaches.
These run for forty miles on a rough and stony road, almost
impassable after heavy rain by reason of the mud and swollen
creeks. At first it is rather an uninteresting drive, with flat
"tussock" country on either side, and in the distance low hills;
but gradually the scenery becomes wilder, the low hills give place
to mountains bearing patches of never-melting snow, and the great
lakes behind which they rise are surrounded by miles of untouched
forest. The road here dwindles to vague ruts leading through the
foothills of the more distant mountains, and tourists are taken
for another twelve miles in wagonettes drawn by horses, to an
accommodation house beside Lake Te Anau, where they spend the night.

Next day comes a further journey of thirty-three miles on a
small steamer to the other end of the lake, and here in a little
forest clearing is another solitary house and Post Office--Glade
House--the starting-point for the walk.

I had gone with a friend, and we found eleven others all anxious to
walk to Milford Sound, so we were a party of thirteen--five women
and eight men--one happy family for the time being, all intent on
enjoying everything as it came. Whatever luggage we took had to
be carried on our backs, so we packed as few things as possible
in stout canvas "swags" provided by Government for intending
pedestrians, were rowed across a river in high flood, and plunged
at once into the heart of the bush.

[Illustration: CLINTON RIVER--TE ANAU LAKE.    _To face page 30_]

It was a delightful sunny day in midsummer. Before we began our
walk there had been five days of incessant rain--every leaf dripped
with moisture, and all about us was the noise of hurrying waterfall
or river. The Clinton River, whose course we followed, was a wide
torrent, rushing angrily over great boulders, or pausing for a
while in deep quiet pools of clear green water. Numberless small
streams flow from the mountains to join the Clinton, and many of
them cross the track; sometimes they are bridged by a moss-grown,
slippery tree-trunk; in other places they turn the track itself
into a stream. There is no way round these creeks--you must simply
wade through them; for my own part I did not wade through many, as
one of the men of our party carried me on his back over all the
worst of them. After the first two miles, this same kind friend
insisted on taking my swag as well as his own, and I found that
though I invariably began the day's tramp with swag on my back, I
was not often allowed to carry it far.

The track is a narrow path, and green with the daintiest mosses,
lovely to see and soft to tread upon. In places there is a good
deal of native grass, and not infrequently grass from England
too--cocksfoot or Yorkshire fog--and fallen beech leaves make a
pleasant rustle as your feet brush through them. I had seen New
Zealand bush in Stewart Island, and very pretty it is, but it
cannot compare in grandeur or variety with the forests of Otago.

In New Zealand, the plants are still to be seen in the societies
in which they have naturally grouped themselves through many
generations of plant life--one group of plants in the river
valleys, other groups by the sea coast or on Alpine heights; and
wherever you go, you find fresh trees, ferns or mosses to admire,
and always there is yet a chance of finding a plant that no one has
seen before.

For several miles of the Milford track the prevailing tree is
the black beech, one of the handsomest of the forest trees, with
tall dark trunk and head of spreading branches, crowded with
tiny, glossy, green leaves. Below the beeches grow other trees,
at first somewhat thinly, but crowding more closely together the
more deeply we penetrate into the forest. Among the trees are
elegant tree-ferns in colonies of a hundred or more; through trees
and fern-fronds gleams the sunlight; and beyond the overarching
branches you catch fascinating glimpses of high mountains, their
rugged summits sharply outlined against bright blue sky. Only the
summits of the mountains for a few hundred feet are bare; steeply
as they rise, in fact almost perpendicularly from the valley, they
are yet clothed with trees in all shades of green, relieved here
and there by great patches of rata blossom--the "red glory of the
gorges"--and it is a constant wonder how the trees contrive to
cling at all, much more how they can grow and flourish in such
difficult circumstances.

Close to the track are fuchsias, which in New Zealand develop into
big trees, and have pink ever-peeling bark, leathery grey-green
leaves and flowers of dull purple. By the fuchsias grow veronicas,
as tall as the fuchsias, now, at the end of January, in the full
beauty of their abundant flower spikes, white or mauve; and
with these are many trees of the compositæ family--olearias or
senecios--all bearing bunches of white daisy-flowers. Many trees
of the forest undergrowth have inconspicuous green or whitish
flowers, and many-shaped leaves of glossy green--such are the
broadleaf and the so-called fig and holly, growing side by side
with the lancewood, whose leaves are saw-edged, grey-green swords.
Everywhere too you find creepers and lianes--the tough black stems
of the "supple-jack," and the trailing brambles of the "bush
lawyer." The lawyer is a creeper which has hooked thorns on every
little stem and leaf, and attaches itself relentlessly either to
hair or clothes, like a dishonest solicitor, from whose clutches
escape is difficult.

After a ten-mile walk we reached our stopping-place for the
night--Pompolona Huts--two huts of corrugated iron, boarded
throughout on the inside. One is for the men to sleep in; the other
is divided into three rooms--ladies' bunk-room, dining-room and
pantry. The dining-room is also the kitchen, and has a huge open
fireplace and a "colonial oven" for baking bread, and over the fire
is fixed an iron bar from which dangle hooks and pots. The food
provided for us was the tinned meat and fruit usual in all camp
life in New Zealand, with the addition of potatoes and hot boiled
pudding.

The following morning we left Pompolona for McKinnon's Pass--the
hardest bit of walking along the track. In fine weather the walk
to Milford is easy enough, but going over the pass you are always
liable to get caught in a blinding blizzard. Even in the valleys
there is sometimes danger: a river or creek may rise several feet
in a few hours, an insecure bridge may be loosened and washed away,
or an unbridged stream suddenly become too high to ford.

After leaving Pompolona Huts, the path goes through country less
thickly wooded, with occasionally wide open spaces, and little
tarns of placid brown water. The ribbon-wood was in perfection in
these open glades, bearing great trusses of delicate white flowers
with a faint sweet perfume; they reminded us of cherry blossom,
though the petals are more fragile, and the ribbon-wood actually
belongs to the mallow family. The bark of the ribbon-wood is
stripped off by the Maoris, and an inner layer, which looks like
fine white lacework, is used in strips for making ornamental
baskets. Little native flowers grow in the open: pale-mauve
campanulas; tiny white daisies, and small yellow buttercups; a
small, white cranesbill; and other little white things; and high
in the sunlight stand masses of hardy, wiry bracken. Soon we are
back in the forest, climbing gradually upwards under the trees.
Throughout this walk one is continually amazed by the absence of
bare, brown tree-stems; nearly every tree is covered all over with
moss; trunks and branches fairly drip with it, as frost-laden trees
do with icicles--moss of extraordinary beauty; some of it hanging
in slender, swaying sprays, over a foot long; some short, with
thick stems and feathery tufts--all of it in varying shades of
green or brown. Among the mosses nestle fungi in strange diversity
of shape and colour--white, pink, green or orange. Ferns, too,
adorn the tree trunks, and often pale-green lichens, which from a
short distance look like bunches of palest flowers.

There is a curious scarcity of birds. Stoats and weasels brought
over from England and introduced into the bush in the hope
that they would kill some of the superfluous English rabbits,
have destroyed many native birds and their eggs, and it is now
impossible to get rid of the stoats and weasels. The rare "kiwi"
the wingless relation of the extinct "moa," lives still in these
forests and is sometimes seen at night; I only saw it alive in the
Wellington Zoological Gardens. We saw a number of "wekas"--Maori
hens--brown birds about the size of a small pheasant, with very
short tails and only rudimentary wings; they are not able to fly,
but they walk very quickly through the fern. They had no fear of
us, but walked across the path in front of us, or stood watching in
the shade, and at night they prowled round the huts, looking for
scraps and making weird calls to one another. We saw a few pigeons
fluttering among the tree-tops, and some tits and tiny native wrens
hopping from branch to branch; and by Te Anau were brown fantails,
native cuckoos and a few small green-and-yellow parrakeets; and
sometimes we heard the bell-bird's musical note, or the night owl
hooting "more pork." English birds are now to be found in most
parts of New Zealand--skylarks, sparrows, thrushes, blackbirds,
starlings and goldfinches. I saw none of them on the way to Milford.

Butterflies are rare, though we did see a fair number of native
ones, with dainty many-coloured wings, mottled in red, brown or
yellow; and the lack of bird notes was in some degree made up for
by the lively chirping of a black-and-yellow cricket. Very few
insects were to be seen as we walked, but whenever we stopped,
sandflies, tiny black flies whose bite is as bad as a mosquito's,
came swarming round--eager for our blood.

Our only other enemies were the "biddabids"--the New Zealand
substitute for an English burr. They are low-growing plants, the
flower stalk a few inches high, and each flower stalk produces a
dense brown head of seed, each little seed vessel furnished with
four fine hooked claws. After brushing carelessly against a patch
of these plants, stockings, skirt or jersey are found embroidered
thickly with "biddies," and very difficult it is to rid oneself of
them.

Towards the top of McKinnon's Pass, the mossy path becomes a stony
track, winding on and up among Alpine flowers--white gentians and
ourisias growing side by side with tall white or yellow mountain
daisies. Then the track leads through brown tufts of snow grass,
while almost at the summit you again find tarns of quiet brown
water, in whose depths snowy mountains are reflected.

Here we breathed invigorating mountain air, and had a clear view
of the mountains which before we had only partially seen through a
fretwork of green. The top of the pass is more than three thousand
feet above sea level--a narrow, rocky saddle blocking the head of
the Clinton Cañon, and on the opposite side giving access to the
valley of the Arthur River. Around the saddle are rugged peaks,
rising to a height of five to seven thousand feet; some bare,
others piled thickly with snow: and as we watched, avalanches
came thundering down from one of the glaciers into the valley
beneath. We could see the whole of the Clinton Cañon up which we
had walked--a narrow valley, only half a mile wide, shut in by
precipitous walls of four to seven thousand feet. Their rugged
summits were all rock and snow; below they were clothed with dense
forests reaching down to the valley, where the river wound in and
out among the dark trees like a thread of light green ribbon.

Looking down the Arthur valley, which is much wider than the
Clinton, we again looked over miles of forest backed by other rocky
heights.

Below the pass, nine miles from Pompolona, are the Quinton Huts,
our next resting place.

Near these are the Sutherland Falls, said to be the highest
waterfall in the world, falling in three gigantic leaps from a
height of nearly two thousand feet. They come roaring down over the
steep hillside--a mighty volume of water ever thundering on brown
rock fringed with luxuriant forest growth, and scattering showers
of spray over the trees and over the grassy knoll on which you
stand to watch them. They were only discovered in 1880, by a man
named Sutherland, a settler from Scotland in the early days, who
had a fancy for exploring.

At Quinton's we met another large party on their way back, and that
night the huts were overcrowded: we were eleven ladies, with only
nine bunks, so two slept in the dining-room. Next morning we all
contrived to dress in perfect good temper; no one dreamed of making
a trouble about anything, and it might have been excusable, as
there was comfortable floor space for two, not for eleven; we had
one small washstand, a small, square mirror hung on the wall for
our only looking-glass, and a bench to serve as table and chair.

There is no telephone in working order beyond Pompolona Huts, and
the arrival of so many visitors at Quinton's was unexpected.

The flour stored there had become damp, and could not be used in a
hurry for baking by the men in charge, so at breakfast we ran short
of bread: the ladies had as much as they wanted, but the men made
up with biscuits and ginger nuts, and said sweetly that they liked
them for a change.

The last day's stage is a walk of fourteen miles, on through the
forest, beside the green Arthur river, and for five miles of the
way skirting the edge of a lovely lake.

The river is twice crossed by long bridges: one a suspension bridge
made of three flat planks, with strands of wire for protection on
both sides; the other of "corduroy" planking--the planks all unhewn
logs--supported in midstream on an enormous boulder.

The forest scenery grows greener and the ferns and mosses more
abundant as you draw nearer the coast. Giant pines replace the
beech trees. You now see thick clumps of mositure-loving "crape"
ferns, whose long transparent fronds curl over at their tips like
the heraldic Prince of Wales's feathers. The track is edged by
frail bracken of palest green; ferns like filmy green lace drape
the trees. Of such marvellous luxuriance is all the forest growth
that trees and creepers and perching plants are inextricably
interwoven, and often you cannot tell to which stem or trunk any
branch belongs.

Ever since we left Glade House we had seen waterfalls, large and
small, hundreds of them pouring down the mountains, culminating
in the magnificent Sutherland Falls. Still as we walked we saw
more waterfalls, none so high as the Sutherland Falls, but many
exceedingly beautiful--some mere glittering threads of feathery
white; others, which fell close beside the track, were falls
both wide and high, crashing through the trees and breaking into
seething white foam on huge grey boulders, resting at last in deep,
green pools.

That day we had lunch in a tumble-down hut, where we found tea,
a fireplace and enamelled tin mugs. We boiled the billy on the
fireplace and then drank our tea out of the mugs, which one of the
men thoughtfully rinsed in a lake close at hand: they were not
clean, but nectar in golden goblets could not have tasted more
delicious.

At the end of the track there is yet another hut, and usually a
man in charge of it, who summons a motor launch from the head of
Milford Sound, by letting off a charge of dynamite.

We met this man on the track taking a lady to Quinton Huts, and
received full instructions as to where a small rowing-boat was to
be found: so some of the party went on ahead, found the boat, and
rowed across the sound to summon Mr. Sutherland and his launch,
while the rest of us had afternoon tea and a rest.

The launch came and conveyed us safely to our journey's end--a
lonely accommodation house with a Post Office, at the edge of
forest and ocean. The house is a one-storied building of wood,
with corrugated iron roof and a verandah: there is a garden,
with vegetables, currants and raspberries. Grass grows right up
to the house. Sheep feed on the grass, and stroll even into the
bathroom, which has a door without a lock. The house is comfortably
furnished, and considering its distance from anywhere, surprisingly
well supplied with food and other necessaries. It is even possible
to buy shoes here.

The following morning we chartered the launch and were taken down
the Sound and out on the Pacific Ocean.

Milford Sound is ten miles long. At its narrowest it is only a
quarter of a mile wide, but where it joins the ocean about two
miles. The whole sound is a deep narrow channel, formed originally
by glacial action. Mountains rise straight out of the water,
covered thickly with bush for some four thousand feet, until the
trees stop abruptly on reaching the line of winter snow: you here
see a wonderful contrast--green leaf and crimson rata-flower on the
brown rock.

Here again are waterfalls. One falls sheer in a narrow unbroken
column for five hundred feet; another falls in two great leaps; the
higher of the two leaps curves far out from the rock and was turned
by the sunshine into a golden halo.

On one side of the Sound is Mitre Peak, over five thousand feet,
with bare pointed summit: opposite stands the Lion, his massive
rounded crest slanting down to a narrow ridge among the forest;
and behind the Lion, far away, beyond a narrow tree-girt cove, is
a yet higher peak, snow-laden above the green. As we sailed out to
sea, we saw black cormorants watching for their prey; gulls--white
with brown bars on their wings--came flying round the boat; and,
scrambling out of the water and up the rocks at the side in most
ungainly fashion, were small and terrified black-and-white penguins.

In winter time, when for many miles the overland track lies buried
in snow, a small steamer plies up the Sound once a month with
provisions and letters for the inhabitants of the one lonely
house, and sometimes a Government boat goes to Milford and other
Sounds to visit lighthouses and a few scattered settlers.

There is said to be one old man who lives quite alone in a hut on
one of the West Coast Sounds, and to whom the Government steamer
regularly takes his old age pension changed into food and clothing;
the Captain always gives orders to the men who take food for "Maori
Bill" to go provided with a spade and a Prayer Book as well, in
case the poor old man should be dead.

We could only spend two nights at Milford before beginning the walk
back to Glade House, which we reached two days later, one happy
family, as we had set out.

[Illustration: LAKE WAKATIPU.        _To face page 47._]



CHAPTER IV

THE COLD LAKES OF OTAGO


One of the favourite holiday excursions in the South Island is to
the Cold Lakes of Otago.

In England it is hardly necessary to explain that lakes are cold,
but in New Zealand you never know--you find a pool of hot sulphur
water under the Southern Alps, and hot creeks and lakes in the
thermal district of North Island.

The largest of the Otago lakes is Wakatipu--a lake like a beautiful
blue serpent. It is fifty miles long and varies in width from one
mile to three and a half, as it winds in and out among stately
mountains. Situated on one of the curves is Queenstown, a regal
little city by the great lake, happily remote from the world and
its bustle. It has no railway, and you reach it either by motor
car, or more often by steamer--a delightful trip of twenty-five
miles from the southern end of the lake.

I meant to spend one week at Queenstown, but the place and its
surroundings are so beautiful, and I met such a number of pleasant
people there, that in the end I stayed for three weeks, and left
with many regrets. There are several good hotels. The one at which
I stayed was separated from the lake only by a broad road. From
the windows of the hotel I looked out upon tall drooping willows,
fringing the blue water; and sometimes at sunset saw a wonderful
display of crimson and gold behind grim purple mountains towards
the head of the lake. The lake is stocked with trout; enormous
specimens came right up to the landing stage to be fed; these
particular fish are pets of the town and may on no account be
killed.

From Queenstown tourists are driven to the Skipper's Gorge. It is
a drive of sixteen miles through a strange country of bleak and
rugged hills, which are bare of all vegetation but scanty, coarse
grass and occasional low-growing shrubs; and on the hillsides gaunt
grey rocks stand up, like pillars or ruined castles. Sheep can
find pasturage on the hills, and as you drive up, you see in the
valleys scattered homesteads on the stations, or the school of
some tiny township. The district is thinly populated now, but in
the sixties and the days of the Otago gold-rush, mines abounded in
every little river-bed: a fair amount of gold is still found by
sluicing and dredging.

Life is lonely and hard in these far back places, either on station
or gold-claim; and sometimes you hear sad tales of men and women,
whom the loneliness drives to drink or suicide.

The Skipper's Drive is a marvel of engineering. The road is cut out
of the sides of the hills and the narrow thread winds round them,
with often on the one hand a precipice over a hundred feet deep,
and no protection beyond a low stone coping or a few inches of
rough soil. The drivers are always skilful, and horses bred among
the mountains can be trusted to keep their feet, so there is little
need for alarm.

Some of these remote valleys have wide and deep rivers and not many
bridges. When the river-bank is high on both sides, wire ropes are
stretched across and a very simple wooden cage hung on the ropes,
and anyone wishing to cross sits on the floor of the cage with his
legs dangling over the river-bed and pulls himself to the opposite
side. At the Skipper's Gorge we found a cage of this kind, and I
was able to enjoy crossing a river in such an unusual way. On a
calm day there is no difficulty, but it must be dangerous in a high
wind.

The most delightful tracks round Queenstown are either for walking
or riding. Whichever way you go--up one of the hills or along a
track near Lake Wakatipu, you are always surrounded by wonderful
scenery.

From the top of Ben Lomond, at a height of between five and six
thousand feet, you look down upon the lake, in colour a bright
blue, toning to purple at the sides; rising steeply from the water,
and sloping away from it to bare jagged peaks are mountains of five
and six thousand feet; while far away, encircling the lake-head,
are yet higher peaks, and to east and north, piled one behind
the other, peaks and ever more peaks, purple and grey or whitely
crowned with snow.

Riding near the lake, you see everything more intimately. There
are pines and weeping willows by road or track, gum-trees and
poplars in garden and paddock; on the hillside are the tall,
fresh, green fronds and the withered, brown ones of the bracken,
making an undergrowth for elegant cabbage-trees, sturdy fuchsias
and currants, and trailing bush lawyers. Below, in the still, blue
water is an exact reflection of each outline of the purple hills
above.

A steamer goes on certain days each week from Queenstown to the
northern end of the lake. Beyond, after a twelve mile drive, you
reach two hotels and some scattered sheep-runs, on the very edge of
cultivation. Here are wide river-valleys and tiny lakes, towering
mountains and snowy glaciers; and the hills are clothed with
magnificent beech forests, through which few people have as yet
attempted to penetrate.

I finally left Lake Wakatipu and Queenstown by motor coach. A drive
of forty-eight miles took me to Lake Wanaka.

It was a sunny summer day, and all was gay; the hills were blue
and the valleys green. As the car zig-zagged up the Crown Range,
we looked down on the blue surface of Wakatipu shimmering in the
sunlight, and on the windings of the Molyneux River twisting among
the hills in ribbons of blue--a blue more vivid and intense than
that of the shining sky overhead.

At Wanaka is a tiny township, named Pembroke. Here I stayed at a
one-storied wooden hotel of many detached passages and cubicles,
all standing in an old-fashioned English garden. This garden had
wide herbaceous borders crowded with flowers; tall, drooping
willows and excellent vegetables; and among the flower-beds were
apple trees, and many plum trees laden with more ripe plums than
the proprietor or his guests could possibly eat. There was even a
giant mulberry tree, heavily laden with fruit.

From Pembroke, visitors go in an oil launch, capable of holding
sixty passengers, on an excursion of forty miles up the lake and
picnic at the head of it.

I do not think the reflections on Wanaka are quite so marvellous
as on Wakatipu, but the lake as a whole is equally beautiful, and
the general plan is the same in both--a long narrow lake among high
mountain-peaks.

The mountains which surround Wakatipu are bare of any but small
low-growing trees, and on that account you see and enjoy their
outlines more perfectly; but on the other hand, the tall, dense
forest-growth, which fills many of the mountain gullies and fringes
the shore of Wanaka, gives to the landscape an added richness.

As at Wakatipu, the mountains which surround Wanaka are only the
foreground for other and higher peaks, stretching ever to the west,
purple or streaked with snow.

There are small islands in the lake. At one of these we
disembarked, and climbed up a steep track among the scrub. At the
top we found, nestling under a rocky crag, a charming lakelet of
three acres, at a level of four hundred feet above the main lake.
Round the irregular, rocky shore of the tiny lake grow trees--ratas
and other smaller ones--leaning over the water; and in the lake are
minute islands with little stunted trees--all as though planned by
some Japanese artist You stand at the edge of the Japanese garden,
and look through its fringing trees and out upon the big blue lake
to steep, bare hills beyond.

Pembroke is a centre from which to go deerstalking. I saw no deer,
but later in Christchurch I saw fine antlers which some sportsman
had bagged.

Coaches and motor cars connect Pembroke with Clyde and the railway
of Central Otago.

I chose to go by motor thinking it would be quicker, but alas! the
road is rough, and the car broke down; and I had to be picked up by
the horse coach, which obligingly ran on the same day.

Clyde is on the edge of the fruit-growing district. At the hotel,
I soon made friends with an elderly gentleman who took me to
see peaches and apricots growing as standards; and the owner of
the trees let me pick as many peaches as I could eat--and very
delicious they were!

Next day Clyde had a fruit and flower show in the town hall, and
the farmers round all came to exhibit their produce and to see
what others were doing. It was a little show, but held much promise
of great things in the future.

The peaches were excellent and so were the plums and apples, there
were very few apricots, but good, ripe figs and blackberries: the
presence of any blackberries at all in the show was perplexing, as
throughout New Zealand the English blackberry bramble has grown and
spread far too vigorously, and is now considered a "noxious weed,"
which must be destroyed whenever possible. In the vegetable section
were good clean tomatoes, pumpkins, potatoes, beans and carrots.
For plants in pots the competition was slight, and a fuchsia and
two small heliotropes all won prizes. There were two stiff bouquets
and a few table decorations, and on a raised platform, freehand
drawings from the primary schools, and several good specimens of
embroidery and plain needlework.

The main purpose of the show was to encourage apple growing for
export; different kinds were exhibited which are being tested for
their flavour and keeping properties, and demonstrations were given
in the best way of packing.

The soil round Clyde is white and sandy, and looks barren and
hopeless, but I was told that it is really so rich in plant foods,
that, given sufficient water, it will grow anything.

The railway from Clyde runs through a queer, wild country of
rock and scattered stones; where the only vegetation consists
in rare tufts of tussock grass and frequent dabs of pale green
moss, which make you think the ground must be turning mouldy from
lack of use. There is very little level ground and not much scope
for a railroad: the train simply forces its way along, creeping
through tunnels, and clinging hardily to the hillsides above steep
precipices yawning below.

People do come now and then to meet the train at some wayside
station, but there is little traffic in such a desolate land.

Later we ran through deep gorges, whose steep sides have patches
of dark bush above the rushing Taieri River. The gorges widen out
into the broad Taieri Plain, with its farms and woollen factory;
and towards evening the train steamed into Dunedin's smart railway
station.



CHAPTER V

THE NEW ZEALAND EDINBURGH


The town of Dunedin is Scotch in name and origin and in the number
of its inhabitants who are of Scotch descent, and is renowned for
the enterprise of its settlers and the solid worth of its buildings
and institutions. It was founded, in 1848, by Scotch Presbyterians;
and though there is now an Anglican Bishop of Dunedin, and
Ministers of various denominations, Presbyterianism is yet the
dominant form of Christianity. Like other New Zealand settlements,
the new Scotch colony consisted in its early days of a few small
huts at the edge of the forest. A part of one of these huts, made
of "wattle and daub," has been preserved, and is to be seen in
the "Early Settlers' Hall." Here, too, are portraits of the "old
identities," and pictures of the small sailing vessels in which
they crossed the ocean, and of Prince's Street, the one street of
the embryo town. Such grim, determined faces those early settlers
had, and it must have needed all their courage to face life in a
strange land among possibly unfriendly natives, with no roads, an
almost complete absence of eatable fruits or vegetables, no fresh
meat except fish and birds; and in a country covered either with
impenetrable forest or rough tussock grass. Now all round Dunedin
the forests have been cleared, and the low hills, which rose on
either side of Otago Harbour from the Heads to the town wharves,
are sown with British grass, and the land is divided up into sheep
runs and dairy farms.

[Illustration: OTAGO HARBOUR.       _To face page 59._]

Dunedin itself is a city set on a hill facing the harbour. Half-way
up the hill, adding greatly to the health and beauty of the place,
is the Town Belt--a broad band of native bush, left uncut between
the business part of the town and residential suburbs, to keep for
all time a forest way into the open country beyond. From some point
above this belt of trees, you may look down upon the present city
with the spires and towers of Churches, University and other fine
buildings; upon the narrow harbour and the long neck of undulating
hilly country, which on the south divides it from the open ocean.
On the north are hills and valleys, with a sprinkling of houses and
thick groves of trees; and as you walk or ride towards the west,
you see a wide green plain stretching inland to distant hills; and
immediately below, on the edge of the plain, rise the chimneys of
the Mosgiel woollen factory, whose rugs are famous the world over.

Between Prince's Street and the harbour lay in the beginning
some furlongs of uninhabitable swamp-land, soon reclaimed by the
zeal of the early colonists. These intrepid settlers cut off the
top of the small hill on which the chief Presbyterian Church now
stands, and with the material thus obtained they filled in the
marsh and procured a good foundation for many of their public
buildings--railway station, Post Office, University, banks, and the
offices of the shipping companies.

The railway station is a very pretty one--the finest in the
Dominion--of grey stone, with projecting turrets and tall slender
clock-tower, faced with stone and red brick; the trains run into
it by way of a dangerous level crossing over a wide street between
town and harbour. The Post Office is, like others in colonial
towns, a large building, with separate departments for everything:
stamps in one room, money orders in another, private letter-boxes
in another part, and here the telegraph and cable department is in
a distinct block in another street; private letter-boxes are found
in New Zealand even in small post offices, deliveries are not very
frequent, and people often find it more convenient to fetch their
own letters. A New Zealand post office is planned with scrupulous
regard to efficiency, and is straightforward enough when you have
learnt your way about it, but at first each fresh one is, like the
different tramway systems, exceedingly puzzling.

Dunedin publishes three daily newspapers and three weekly ones--a
fair number for a town of sixty thousand people--but in New Zealand
all towns of any size publish one or more daily papers, and nearly
every small country township has a local paper once or twice a
week. The weekly papers here and in other large towns have capital
illustrations and give news of the world and of New Zealand
generally; the daily papers have the latest cables from London and
all parts of the world, and for other news are chiefly concerned
with the happenings in their own particular town and province;
so that in Dunedin you hear very little of what is going on in
Auckland.

Dunedin has large public gardens laid out with green lawns and
many-coloured flower-beds; in the gardens are greenhouses too, with
orchids, palms, high pink begonias and trailing red fuchsias; among
groups of dark trees flows the Water of Leith, and on a shady lake
swim black swans and Paradise ducks; the latter are native birds of
particularly gay and attractive plumage.

In these gardens, as well as in all other public gardens in the
Dominion, there is a bandstand where a band plays frequently, and
here in the summer the citizens hold garden fêtes. I went with
friends to one such fête on a sunny afternoon in March. It was held
with the object of obtaining money for the further beautifying of
the town by planting waste spaces with trees and flowers. Many
hundreds of spectators stood round a large platform, erected for
the display of the competitions; there were "poster" competitions
for the children, gymnastic exhibitions by different schools,
decorated bicycles and go-carts, and children danced with coloured
ribbons round a maypole. On the lawns were putting and bowling
contests for grownups. Tea was served in big tents, and all who
could spent the afternoon either in helping or in being entertained.

Dunedin and Otago generally have the reputation of being the most
friendly and hospitable parts of the Dominion: personally I found
Dunedin people entirely kind; they took me on trust and made me
welcome in the happiest way, and I felt as though I had known them
all my life.



CHAPTER VI

AMONG THE SOUTHERN ALPS


My first experience of tourist travelling in New Zealand was a
trip to the Southern Alps, with a stay among the mountains of only
six days. It was a very short visit, but long enough for something
of the fascination of the mountains to take hold of me and bring
me back later for several months. From Christchurch the traveller
sees, a hundred miles away, on the western side of the Canterbury
Plain, the whole range of the Southern Alps, a wonderful rampart of
snowy peaks; and it was with eager curiosity that I set out on the
journey thither.

Not many years ago the mountains were almost inaccessible and it
was necessary to ride the greater part of the way. Now a railway
winds up among the southern foothills, and during seven months
of the year an excellent service of motor cars runs regularly
three days a week between Fairlie, the railroad terminus, and
the mountain hostel, ninety-six miles further. Fairlie is a small
township, with two hotels, Post Office, a bank and a few shops in
its main street. Round about the township are grassy hills with
many "cabbage trees," their bare brown stems surrounded by one or
more tufts of narrow green streamers, which wave lightly in the
breeze: the cabbage tree is a species of lily, and in the early
summer has long panicles crowded with creamy white blossoms among
the green leaves. It grows on hill, plain or swamp, and always on
good soil.

Tourists spend the night at Fairlie, and start in the car next
morning punctually at eight o'clock.

This district has all been taken up by settlers for farms and sheep
runs. We drove past "paddocks," as all fields are called in New
Zealand, white with English ox-eye daisies or dazzlingly yellow
with great bushes of broom, and saw homesteads sheltered by clumps
of oaks, poplars, willows or pines.

The road climbs steadily uphill to the top of Burke's Pass, more
than two thousand feet above sea level, and for the rest of the
way goes through "tussock" country, a land of hill and plain
covered as far as eye could see with tufts of brown grass. On a
rainy day such a landscape, stretching on interminably in one
uniform tint of brown has a very desolate appearance, but when the
sun shines the brown hills gleam yellow in the distance and develop
beautiful purple shadows in their hollows, and big white clouds
floating above them make purple shadows too: then, beyond the
rounded hills stand blue mountains, rugged and mysterious, their
summits streaked with snow. In the heart of the hills you come
unexpectedly upon a lovely blue-green lake, six miles long, fed by
glacier streams, a blue mountain torrent rushing out of it. Thirty
miles further on we reached yet another lake--Lake Pukaki--twice
the size of the first, and green rather than blue. Behind this
lake, though still forty miles away, we saw Mount Cook, half hidden
by clouds. Mount Cook, or as the Maoris called it, "Aorangi, the
Sky Piercer," is 12,349 feet in height, the Monarch of the Southern
Alps, and the loftiest mountain in New Zealand. The Maoris gave
names to many of the high peaks in both islands, but knew them only
from afar; they regarded them with reverent awe and had no wish to
invade their solitudes. The honour of being the first to reach the
summit of Mount Cook rests with three New Zealanders, who climbed
it successfully on Christmas Day, 1894.

[Illustration: ROAD BETWEEN FAIRLIE AND THE HERMITAGE. _To face page 66._]

The tussock country is devoted to sheep runs, varying in size from
one thousand to twenty thousand acres; the runs used to be as large
as sixty thousand acres, but all the larger runs have now been
split up by Government with a view to closer settlement. Merinos
and crossbreds thrive very well, but as from three to five acres
are needed to support one sheep, the runs need to be a fair size.
Between the tufts of tussock grow some finer grasses, and English
white clover and sorrel are gradually spreading; the tussock grass
is often burnt in patches, so that the sheep may have the fresh
shoots which spring up from its roots. Wire fences divide the
runs, and at intervals are posted collie dogs, with a barrel for
kennel, to keep a watchful eye on their masters' sheep; houses are
very rare, ten miles or more apart, the older ones surrounded by
flourishing trees.

The road is kept in repair by men who go about with carts and long
shovels and collect stones from the bank or any convenient pit by
the roadside. There are stones everywhere, large and small, carried
down from the mountains in the far-away days when all the valleys
were filled with enormous glaciers. The road-menders are paid nine
shillings a day, wet or fine; in wet weather they do no work, but
as they have no fixed homes and sleep where they can, it is not a
life to be envied. Every few miles along the road are posts with
hooks--generally old horseshoes--and on the hooks, as the car
went by, the driver hung the mail bags, and as a rule, a man on
horseback came trotting up to fetch them. The telephone wire runs
close to the road the whole way, and the tourist cars are provided
with spare wires, which can be attached in case of need.

On leaving Lake Pukaki, the road skirts the hillside above a valley
some four miles wide, where on the right the Tasman River flows
through a level swamp. In front, ever growing nearer, are the High
Alps, range behind range, at first green or brown, then grey and
purple, with glaciers gleaming whitely among the shadows.

Our destination, in December, 1912, was the Old Hermitage, and this
we safely reached punctually at 5 p.m.

The Old Hermitage was a small hotel managed by the New Zealand
Government Tourist Department. It was a comfortable, one-storied
building, made of "cob"--a mixture of clay and grass--boarded
inside, and with an outer casing made of corrugated iron. It was
the first house built in New Zealand for the accommodation of
climbers and has been a delight to many visitors; during the last
few years it has proved far too small, and in 1912 a big hotel was
being built on a better site, a mile away from the old one.

The old house stands in a hollow at the very foot of the mountains,
with the verandah facing Sefton's snowy peak. On either side of
it are other mountains cleft by deep gullies, and to the sides of
gullies and mountains cling hardy Alpine shrubs, while above the
vegetation come shingle slopes and naked brown rock, and higher
still, at about 5,000 feet, the unmelting snow.

Most of the tourists who stop at the Hermitage for longer than
one night wish to go for some excursion up one of the glaciers or
mountains. The particular expedition that newcomers generally take
is one to the Hooker Glacier with a night spent in an Alpine hut.
At the Hermitage everything is provided by Government--guides,
horses, alpenstocks or ice-axes, puttees, and even climbing boots.
The Government boots are well made and kept in many sizes for hire,
but the more comfortable plan is to take strong boots and have
nails put in them.

The head guide decided that I, like other "new chums," should go
with a party of ladies to the Hooker, so off we set, carrying
alpenstocks, and feeling very important; the head guide himself
came with us, taking in his rucksack any clothes we needed as
well as food. Our road lay up the valley, over ancient moraines
covered with scanty tussock grass, low-growing brooms, heaths and
dainty Alpine flowers. The New Zealand Alpine flowers are usually
white--helichrysums, daisies or heaths; though sometimes the
daisies are yellow, and there are mauve campanulas, and the white
violets have streaks of mauve. To-day we saw, growing in profusion,
clumps of yellow spear-grass, its leaves half an inch wide with
points like needles, and bearing long spikes of dull yellow
flowers--a plant known as "Spaniards" and very handsome, but best
admired at a respectful distance.

All the centre of this valley is filled with ice many feet thick,
piled high with boulders large and small, and powdered over
everywhere with grey dust; the Mueller Glacier which comes down
from Mount Sefton brings with it an amazing amount of débris,
and its terminal face is hardly visible; all is a weird scene of
unrelieved desolation--one vast rubbish heap--and only on looking
very closely where a glint of white or green shows through the
silt, can you feel assured that the foundation of it is ice and
not solid rock. We crossed the Hooker River by two suspension
bridges--wooden planks hung on chains, which sway alarmingly in
the wind, while the torrent brawls noisily many feet below, and
walked along a narrow track up the Hooker Valley.

Here we found ourselves among the Mount Cook lilies in full flower,
by the river and up the hill sides, and at our feet in sheets
of white among the stones--a perfect natural rock-garden. These
so-called lilies are a species of ranunculus (Ranunculus Lyallii),
they have smooth green stalks two feet high, and the flowers are
in clusters, five to nine flowers on each stem, the individual
flowers two inches across, pure white petals round bright yellow
centres; the leaves stand below the flower heads, every leafstalk
bearing a green cup--it is a large and perfect cup, and can be
used to drink from, and after rain you find water waiting for the
thirsty traveller. Other Alpine plants were here too--big white
daisies with fleshy green leaves, yellow mountain celandines, many
small-leaved native shrubs, and intruding patches of red English
sorrel. Under a huge boulder, surrounded by lilies, we had our
lunch of sandwiches and tea, and it was here that I first learnt
the excellence of tea made in a "billy." The billy is a tin pail,
large or small, and takes the place of both kettle and teapot, as
when the water boils tea is sprinkled into it, the lid is left on
for a few minutes and the tea is poured straight from the billy
into the cups.

[Illustration: MOUNT COOK LILIES.    _To face page 72._]

After a rough scramble among stones and over noisy streams hurrying
to join the glacier below, early in the afternoon we reached
the Hooker Hut, set in a level space against the mountain side.
In front of the hut are the peaks of the Mount Cook Range--bare
brown rock below, but always snow on their summits. At the foot
of a steep cliff flows the Hooker Glacier, and at the head of the
glacier towers Mount Cook, a mighty, snow-clad giant. The hut
itself is, like most of the New Zealand Alpine huts, a serviceable
building of corrugated iron on a framework of wood, lined with
thick linoleum. This one is divided into two rooms with six bunks
in each; one room for the ladies' bedroom, and the other to serve
as living room and men's bedroom. The living room has a table, two
large chests, benches and a kerosene oil-stove.

The only living creatures we saw by the hut were the mountain
parrots--"keas" as they are called in imitation of their cry which
often resembles the word "ke-a" shrieked slowly and harshly; they
have many calls and sometimes remind one of a whining puppy,
sometimes of a crying baby, and on a wet day a kea will sit on a
rock and croak until the dismal monotony of his cry compels you
to speak severely and shy stones at him. They have black, curved
parrot beaks and sage-green plumage, and when they fly, disclose
pretty red backs, and a patch of red feathers on either wing. They
are most friendly, inquisitive birds, and came up to the door of
the hut and took the greatest interest in our doings.

Our guide gave us a good dinner of hot soup, cold mutton, boiled
tomatoes, canned apricots and tea. Soon after dinner we turned in.
The bunks have wooden sides with strong canvas nailed across. On
the canvas is laid a soft down mattress, and with the addition of
a pillow and many grey blankets you have a very comfortable bed.
Keas seem to need very little sleep; they roosted on the roof of
the hut, and apparently overbalanced when asleep and went slipping
down the iron over our heads. Finally they gave it up, and began
calling to one another long before it was light. The only other
sounds were of occasional avalanches slipping down the mountain
sides. We got up at 5 a.m., and by 7 o'clock started for the
glacier, along a very rough track over the moraine, then across
patches of dirty snow. At last we were on the glacier and walked
over the snow a couple of miles towards Mount Cook, getting good
distant views of mountains and glaciers. So early in the season the
glacier is covered with last winter's snow, only here and there are
there crevasses wide and deep enough to show the beautiful green
ice tints. Our feet sank into the snow at every step; and after a
luncheon of sardine sandwiches and iced pineapple, which we ate
sitting on our alpenstocks in the middle of the glacier, we were
glad to turn and regain the track.

When next I stayed at the Hermitage, fifteen months later, the new
hotel had just been opened, and was crowded with tourists coming
and going. The time was early autumn and the weather perfect, with
cold nights and days of glorious sunshine, and I was able to see
far more of the mountains than had been possible before.

On the river flats, except for white gentians and mauve or white
campanulas, most of the flowers were over; but in their place
glowed berries of red, yellow, white, blue or black; and near the
snow line was the New Zealand edelweiss, with quaint grey flower
and leaf. After the hot summer the glaciers were very much broken,
with the surface snow melted and the ice foundation traversed by
many crevasses of ten to a hundred feet; and walking on the narrow
ice ridges between the crevasses needed a steady head and well
nailed boots.

The largest glacier in New Zealand is the Tasman Glacier, which
is eighteen miles long, and at its widest two and a half miles
across. It flows parallel with the main Divide of the Alps,
receiving several tributary glaciers in its course, until it ends
abruptly in a high wall of stones and dirty grey ice, five miles
from the Hermitage. To reach the head of the glacier is a two
days' expedition. On the first day you ride for fourteen miles on
horseback along a narrow track, which for part of the way is a mere
scratch on the side of the mountain high above the glacier bed.
After one night in a hut you then, if the weather is fine, go on
the next day for a ten mile tramp over the solid ice.

Right at the head of the Tasman, on a little plateau two or three
hundred feet above the glacier, has been built a narrow stone
platform on which stands a tiny hut. It is almost on the snow line,
and the only vegetation is the wiry snow grass and a few intrepid
gentians and lilies, which find shelter against great boulders. No
keas venture so high, only a stray gull had flown up from the river
valleys.

Standing outside the hut I saw, under perfect conditions, one of
the grandest mountain views to be found in New Zealand or any other
country. Facing me was a mighty wall of mountains--all the highest
peaks of the Southern Alps, giants of nine to twelve thousand feet,
with snowy summits and great snowfields and buttresses of naked
rock. On the extreme right, a dome of pure white snow, over nine
thousand feet high; and, encircling its base, the beginning of the
Tasman glacier, a great expanse of snow ever feeding the great
ice river, whose course could be seen for twelve miles, sweeping
majestically underneath the mountains, until, beyond Mount Cook,
it was hidden by a spur of the range on which I stood. Mount Cook
fitly dominated the scene, a thousand feet higher than any other
mountain, with its summit a long toothed ridge of snow-clad peaks.
I watched while the sun set and all the glacier lay in shadow: soon
the snows of the lower slopes of the mountains became a cold, dead
white, while their summits flushed with deep rose-colour against
pure blue sky.



CHAPTER VII

CHRISTCHURCH


Christchurch ranks next to Auckland as the second largest city
in the Dominion, and in its general plan and social atmosphere
is the most English of New Zealand towns. It was founded in 1850
by members of the "Canterbury Association," with the Archbishop
of Canterbury at their head, as a settlement in connection with
the Church of England, and was named after Christchurch College,
Oxford. The exclusive character of the colony was soon found to be
impracticable--all colonists were made welcome, and at the present
time, Christchurch is sometimes spoken of as the happy home of
cranks.

When the first colonists, the "Canterbury Pilgrims," as they were
called, reached New Zealand, they landed ten miles from the city of
to-day, at a port which they named Lyttleton, and the first rough
huts were built at the entrance to a long and sheltered harbour
running inland between wooded hills. Lyttleton is still the port
of Christchurch, and is connected with it by a railway tunnelling
through the hills. Christchurch itself stands on the edge of the
Canterbury Plain, with the Port Hills on the south, the ocean on
the east, and unlimited space for growth on the north and west.

In the centre of the city is the Cathedral, a fine building of grey
stone with a noticeable spire, standing in an open grassy square.
Round this square are set shops, hotels and the Post Office. From
the Cathedral Square many roads radiate, and electric trams run in
all directions--out into the country, or down to the sea shore,
five miles away. The streets are straight and at right angles, and
bear the names of English Cathedral cities--Hereford, Gloucester,
Durham or Salisbury--but High Street runs diagonally through the
squares; and the river Avon, bridged by many picturesque bridges of
stone or wood, winds through the town, preventing any possibility
of crowding or primness.

[Illustration: RIVER AVON AT CHRISTCHURCH IN WINTER.  _To face page 81_]

All the streets are wide, and the river banks are green with grass
and rushes. In the streets and along the riverside grow English
oaks, sycamores, poplars or birches, and, more striking than all,
hundreds of weeping willows which here grow to a great height,
their supple branches drooping gracefully into the water. I have
never seen English woodland trees so beautiful in an English autumn
as the same trees are in Christchurch, where the leaves remain on
the trees later than at Home, and each leaf turns a vivid yellow--a
very pageant of gold in the clear bright sunlight under a cloudless
sky.

On one side of the town, the Avon flows through five hundred acres
of park-land, part of which is highly cultivated and planted with
flowers and trees from all parts of the world--a lovely garden
with trim lawns and shady, gravelled paths. The greater part of
the reserve is kept as a recreation ground for football, golf and
tennis; and has also broad, tree-shaded avenues, down which you
may canter on horseback, and see beyond the trees the blue rounded
summits of the Port Hills, and many miles away to the west, the
snowy peaks of the Southern Alps.

In addition to the Cathedral, Christchurch has many other churches
and very fine public buildings. Most of them are built of grey
stone, and all stand in prominent places, where they can easily be
found and admired. The Supreme Court of Law is on a grassy knoll
above the river; the Municipal Buildings and the Public Library
among groups of trees on the riverside; and close to the public
gardens are the Museum, the University buildings of Canterbury
College, and another group of buildings known as Christ's
College--a big school for boys, founded on the model of an English
Public School.

Christchurch Museum, like the one at Wellington, has a fine Maori
house with its series of carved ancestral figures; and here the
walls are of reed left intact as the Maoris made them, and the
house has on the outside a very ornamental display of painting
in a bold freehand pattern, coloured red, white and blue. There
are rare and beautiful examples of Maori cloaks; one of flax,
with the feathers from pigeons' necks woven in closely, so that
you see a rich blue and green feather garment; another was made
of strips of dog-skin woven in with the flax; another had white
dogs' tails, and yet another had feathers of the native kiwi, a
soft grey, like those of the emu or the extinct moa. There are many
curiosities from the islands of the Pacific; a large and fragile
canoe made of thick reeds fastened together with reed thongs from
the Chatham Islands; and from some island further north a most
gruesome curio--a record of a cannibal feast--a log of wood bound
with flax to a smaller piece, and between the two a neat bundle
of human bones. In an annexe built specially to receive it is the
skeleton of a great whale, eighty-seven feet long, washed ashore on
the west coast a few years ago. One pathetic and modern treasure
is a memento of Captain Scott's expedition--a small silken New
Zealand flag, a combination of the Union Jack and the Southern
Cross--worked for Dr. Wilson by a Christchurch lady. The flag was
stitched to his shirt and went with him to the South Pole and was
brought back by the relief party.

Christchurch has an Art Gallery with a small permanent collection
of paintings, and in it exhibitions are held of Arts and
Crafts--pictures, wood-carving, bookbinding or embroidery--to
encourage local talent; also a theatre, music halls and
picture-palaces, and halls for dances and lectures. In one big
hall was held, while I was staying in Christchurch, a series of
the "Dominion Literary and Musical Competitions." They lasted for
several weeks; and men, women and children from all parts of the
Dominion, "from Auckland to the Bluff," came to compete in singing,
instrumental music, recitations and impromptu speeches; the judges
were well-known men from Melbourne, and the general public was
admitted. Many of the songs and recitations were excellent, and all
were rendered without shyness or hesitation.

There are delightful homes in and around Christchurch--houses large
and small, always with some garden-space; and on the outskirts,
many of the houses have large gardens, excellently planned and
cared for. Sometimes the larger houses are of brick; but as a rule,
private houses are of wood and have roofs of corrugated iron;
though some newer roofs are of curved Marseilles tiles, or of
flat red tiles made in New Zealand. Every house has its outside
verandah, used all the year round as a sitting room, and often in
summer as a bedroom too.

In the hot weather it is easy to leave Christchurch, either for the
mountains or the coast. Many residents have little wooden cottages
or huts at the foot of the Port Hills, where there is a wonderful
beach of smooth grey sand running northwards in a forty mile curve.
Others seek recreation in fishing up one of the rivers of the
Canterbury Plain.

Always the holiday may be taken in the open air to an extent which
in England is seldom possible.



CHAPTER VIII

FROM CHRISTCHURCH TO THE WEST COAST


At 8.30 one autumn morning, I left Christchurch, the City of the
Plains, to travel across New Zealand from the Pacific Ocean to
the Tasman Sea. The railway line runs westward through the great
Canterbury Plain, a fertile country containing some of the best
land in New Zealand for all kinds of farming. Long ago this plain
must have been covered with bush, for early settlers tell how in
ploughing they used to find the decayed stumps of forest trees;
now, on either side of the railway line, are fields of grass or
ploughed land--"paddocks," as they are uniformly termed--paddocks
of many acres, divided from one another by green hedges of hawthorn
or gorse. Scattered among them are homesteads and farm buildings,
all usually of wood with iron roofs, and round about the homesteads
are gardens, with fruit trees, poplars, drooping willows, oaks or
sycamores, the tall dark-foliaged "pinus insignis" from North
America, and the bright green sturdy "macrocarpa" pine from
California. Often, too, you pass a grove of Australian gums, the
clean grey trunks of the full-grown trees erect amid an undergrowth
of young blue-grey leaves.

There are flourishing little townships along the line, often
bearing familiar English names, such as Malvern or Sheffield. Forty
miles from Christchurch, the plain begins gradually to give way to
low hills, outliers of the distant Southern Alps; and after winding
up among them for another twenty miles the train reaches Cass, the
terminus. At Cass passengers are transferred to coaches drawn by
horses, which take them over the mountain pass dividing Canterbury
from Westland.

It is a wonderful mountain drive of twenty-six miles, and will in a
few years' time be superseded by the new railway line which is to
connect Cass with the West Coast by way of the Otira tunnel. This
tunnel is a difficult piece of engineering work, boring five miles
through the mountain and under a river bed. So far, only two and
a half miles of it is finished. Coach road and railway line follow
the course of a wide river bed, an expanse of rough grey shingle
and big stones, at its widest a mile across. The river was just now
a deep narrow stream in the middle of the stones, but in flood it
becomes a mighty and swift-flowing torrent. We forded the stream
without difficulty, the water only reaching to the horses' knees.
Then on up another valley beside another wide shingly river, which
became a narrow mountain stream as we followed its course. High
bush-covered hills were on either side, so high that at three in
the afternoon we drove in shadow, and watched the sunlight shining
on the opposite ranges. All along this valley are scattered the
huts of the men employed on the line, some of them tiny "wharés"
of calico stretched over a wooden framework, with chimneys of
corrugated iron or wood; better dwellings made of wood roofed
with iron, and usually only one small window; and there was one
smart house with a verandah--in this the chief engineer had been
living. Bonny children were playing about, and in the centre of
the railwaymen's township was the school with the school-mistress's
cottage--both of wood painted red.

We could see the entrance to the Otira tunnel on the hillside
above us, and soon we began the ascent of the pass, up a steep
winding road, and on reaching the summit, two thousand feet above
sea-level, left Canterbury behind us, and descended by an even
steeper road down into Westland. The Otira Gorge is far-famed, and
tourists come many miles to see it. Mountains covered with forest
tower up on either side, sombre and magnificent; in front are still
higher mountains, their snowy summits glittering in the sunshine,
and far away at the bottom of the ravine flows the Otira river, a
brawling mountain torrent. Ever the road winds steadily down, cut
from the hillside, in places supported on stays of wood or iron
driven into the rock, and at some places dangerously insecure,
where the face of the cliff consists only of loose rubble, and the
road has no solid foundation, and is liable to disappear after
storm and flood. There had been a slip only a few weeks before,
but the new track was safe enough as we drove over it; the five
horses were driven quickly, too, at a sharp trot all the way. The
forest on the eastern slope of the pass is almost entirely of
beech trees--tall and graceful, with small, glossy, green leaves,
evergreen for the most part, and which remain on the trees through
the winter, though in autumn some of them turn yellow or red. On
the western side are beeches too, but among them grow many pines
and other trees: the ferns and mosses are more luxuriant than on
the eastern slopes, while here and there you catch sight of a
waterfall rushing down a steep crag among the trees.

From Otira township a two hours' journey by train takes the
traveller on to Greymouth, which is reached just twelve hours after
leaving Christchurch.

Greymouth is a small township situated on the coast, built upon
level land at the mouth of the Grey River, which is wide enough to
serve as a harbour for ships of fair size, principally cargo boats.
The bar outside is sometimes so rough that ships can neither enter
nor leave, and Greymouth people would be glad of half a million
pounds with which to construct a better harbour. Most of the houses
are of wood and iron, the shops have outside verandahs, and the
roofs are usually painted red. There is a church of grey stone with
a spire, and other churches of less imposing appearance; a large
red brick post-office with a tall clock tower, as well as several
banks and hotels. Forty years ago, when gold was found in abundance
all along the west coast, Greymouth was a gayer and more thriving
town than it is to-day. It is now a coal mining centre and a market
for dairy produce.

Next day I left Greymouth, and went on by train to Hokitika,
twenty-eight miles away, travelling through the bush all the time.
There are clearings at intervals, with some sawmills at work, and
in other parts cattle and sheep grazing, and round Hokitika is
plenty of open country suitable for farmland.

Hokitika is just such another town as Greymouth, but smaller, with
a population of between two and three thousand. It, too, has
houses with red roofs, banks and hotels. In addition it has a fine
clock tower, set in an open space, and is the proud possessor of a
Carnegie Library of solid stone; in the reading room of the Library
I looked at a London _Graphic_ only six weeks old. Hokitika is only
a few miles from Kumara, the home of Mr. Dick Seddon, the late
Premier, and Hokitika and the West Coast generally owe a great deal
to his interest in their welfare.

Twelve miles from Hokitika, away to the east, is a lake called Lake
Kanieri, which I had been told was beautiful, so next morning I
hired a horse and went for a twelve mile ride along a road through
the forest in search of it. I found it well worth seeing--a lake
five miles long and two wide, surrounded on all sides by forest,
hills behind hills at the head of the lake, the most distant
streaked with snow. It was a dull day, with a strong wind blowing
from the lake, and the yellow-grey waves came dashing against the
shore in a line of white surf, like the breakers of some inland
sea. The distant mountains were deep purple, an intense, almost
black shade, toning into the dark green of the nearer hills.

From Hokitika the train took me on for another twenty miles to
Ross. I arrived there at sunset, a glorious sunset over the
sea--all crimson and gold--which turned Ross into an enchanted city
of grey mist, surrounded by low hills and trees bathed in a pink
glow.

Ross is a little town of seven hundred inhabitants, but
it is brilliantly lighted by electricity, and boasts four
churches--Anglican, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian and Wesleyan--and
it has seven public houses.

My further journey of seventy miles south was in the mail coach,
drawn by a team of four horses. We set forth at seven-thirty in a
grey dawn, which soon changed to a day of brilliant sunshine.

Just outside Ross is a gold mine, worked by electricity, on the
latest and most improved American methods. The power is brought
twenty-five miles from a waterfall near Kanieri Lake. Great things
are hoped from this mine, but at present there is so much water
in the workings that most of the time is taken up with pumping
out some millions of gallons a day. Beyond the mine we saw a gold
sluicing claim, with long wooden troughs running down from the hill
side. A great force of water is brought through an iron hose-pipe
and directed against the rocks, which it tears down; the fragments
of earth fall into the wooden troughs, the sand and gravel are
washed away, while the gold stays at the bottom.

Very soon we had our last sight of the sea, and for the rest of the
way drove through the forest. The West Coast forest extends for
three hundred miles between the sea and the Southern Alps, and to
the north of the Alps as well--a narrow strip of country varying in
width from fifteen to thirty miles, and I think that the further
south you go the more beautiful it becomes. It is a semi-tropical
forest in appearance, with its countless groves of tall and slender
tree-ferns, with their rough brown stems and thick heads of
drooping feathery fronds, a yard and more in length, and with its
amazingly luxuriant undergrowth of trailing creepers and lianes,
while daintiest ferns, mosses and lichens grow everywhere round and
upon the forest trees. The Westland forest trees are mighty giants,
and chief among them is the red pine or "rimu," as the Maoris call
it. This tree towers straight up to a height of a hundred feet
or so, then it branches out into a head of thick stems, becoming
quite slender at their tips, and drooping gracefully towards the
ground, clothed with long, coppery-green tassels, hardly leaves
at all, but green scales packed closely together, and giving the
tree the effect of being dressed in a "gay green gown" of shaggy
moss. Then there is the white pine, growing best in swampy places,
its enormous trunk buttressed like the clustered pillars of a
mighty church, at first bare, and then showing dense tufts of
green bristly spines high up against the sky; the black pine too,
with grey trunk and very dark green spines. Less tall than the
pines is the red birch or beech--the names are interchangeable in
Westland--its leaves the size of elm-tree leaves, but thicker and
more glossy, and all the branches now bearing bunches of dead,
brown flowers. Of the same size as the beech is the "miro," a tree
with smaller but equally glossy leaves, and berries beloved of the
New Zealand wood pigeon. The "totara" is a tree that reminds one of
the English yew, but its narrow leaves are longer and of a yellower
green. Enormous "rata" trees grow in this bush, their branches
thickly covered with myrtle-shaped leaves; the crimson flower was
quite over on the big trees, but on the rata-vine which drapes
many of the forest trees were still patches of red blossom among
the green. Close to the road were giant fuchsia trees, with either
yellow leaves or bare branches, for the fuchsia is one of the few
trees that sheds its leaves in winter.

One of the strangest trees is the lancewood, which, when young,
bears long narrow leaves like lances, pointing stiffly to the
ground; after some years' growth, the leaves become broader and
shorter and no longer point downwards, they grow straight out or
point towards the sky. Other New Zealand trees have this curious
habit of bearing different kinds of leaves at different stages
of their growth, and botanists see in it a reminiscence of the
changes that the plants' ancestors have lived through--varying
leaves suited to variations in the climate.

The New Zealand bush is for the most part a sombre forest of
many shades of green; though now the fuchsia is yellow, and the
pepper-tree's leaves are green and pink; while in spring the
clematis festoons the bush with masses of starry white blossoms; in
summer the rata blazes crimson, tree-veronicas and olearias show
purple and white, and the ribbon-wood bears the loveliest clusters
of fragile white flowers. When the sun shines, you forget that you
ever thought the bush sombre, so enchanting is the effect of light
and shade on stem and leaf. Shafts of sunlight glint through the
forest as through the aisles of some vast cathedral, bringing into
strong relief the waving light-green fronds of stately tree-ferns,
making a glorious harmony of green and gold, "all glossy glooms and
shifting sheen."

There is very little bare space in the Westland bush: all the
plants grow close together, struggling for their share of sunlight
and air; creepers climb to the tops of trees, and hang down in
long festoons; plants with long, lily-like leaves perch among the
branches, and sometimes hide the whole trunk with their drooping
greenery. Ferns of many species cover the ground and live high up
on the trees, and such lovely ferns they are: some have bright,
glossy fronds from six to eight feet long; there is bracken, tall,
with thick wiry leaves; or short and fragile, its fronds like the
most delicate green lace. The ferns that live on the tree-trunks
have usually short fronds, but sometimes they are over a foot in
length; the polypods are thick and shining, the "filmy" ferns of
such delicate texture that you can almost see through them. The
kidney fern, "trichomanes reniforme," is one of these transparent
ferns and grows in great abundance on the trees; it is shaped in
exact accordance with its name, and has its spores arranged round
the edge of the frond like a neat brown frill. There are beautiful
club mosses trailing over the ferns and draping the banks by the
roadside with garlands of bronze and green; and painted in for the
ground colour are green mosses and grey lichens, all shades of grey
and green with touches of copper; and on smooth banks coral red
berries lying among the mosses.

Every few miles we came to homesteads and clearings, where the bush
has been cut down and burnt, and grass sown for grazing; the ground
is too cold and damp for corn, but grass grows well and sheep and
cattle thrive. It seems sad to destroy such beautiful forest, but
settlers cannot make a living out of the bush, and as Government is
wisely keeping two or three chains of forest all along the road on
either side as well as other big areas of forest country, there is
no fear that the bush will entirely disappear before the settler's
axe.

During our seventy mile drive, we crossed several rivers and
creeks; only three of the rivers are bridged, the others must be
forded; it was easy work, as the rivers were low, but in flood time
they become roaring torrents, rushing over wide river-beds filled
with big boulders and rough shingle, and many lives have been lost
in the attempt to cross. From all the open spaces we had lovely
views of distant mountains, deep blue behind the green tints of
nearer trees, and often tall rimus standing out from the forest,
bronze tassels against a background of blue. It is not a level
road all the way--at one point I got down and walked on up a hill
between three and four miles, and looking back had a wonderful view
over the valley. I stood among the trees at the top, looking down
upon the forest stretching away for miles in billowy curves to
right and left, a blue haze over its greenness; and beyond, in the
far background, a mountain crowned with snow.

We passed three charming lakes, each one many acres in extent, and
all with trees right down to the water's edge, the ground rising
away from the water in gentle slopes. From the hill above one of
these lakes, we saw the snowy peaks of Tasman and Cook, fifty miles
away. On swampy land grows the New Zealand flax (phormium tenax),
which is now being exported in some quantity to Japan for use
in the manufacture of silk, and to Ireland to be used in making
linen.

[Illustration: THE WESTLAND FOREST.  _To face page 101._]

At 1 p.m. on the second day after leaving Ross, we came to the end
of our journey--a solitary hotel, nestling under the mountains; and
the driver pointed out to me with pride the Franz Josef Glacier,
coming grandly down between the mountains to meet the forest, only
three miles from the hotel.



CHAPTER IX

THREE WEEKS IN WESTLAND


South Westland is a land apart from the rest of New Zealand--cut
off by the mountains--an enchanted land, which if you once learn
to know and love you never wish to leave, and when you do go away,
you must always be wanting to return. It is a land of mountain
and forest, of glacier and waterfall and rushing river, of blue
sky and wide ocean. I first saw it in late autumn, when day after
day the sun shone with steady radiance, warming you through and
through as if it were still summer; bell-birds and tuis called to
one another in the trees, and merry fantails darted hither and
thither in the sun, catching sandflies, and spreading out their
tails of brown or black-and-white stripes, like miniature fans. The
district has a yearly rainfall of over a hundred inches, and to
this owes the extreme luxuriance of its forests and the beauty of
its many streams. It is a different world from the Alpine region
on the east, where the mountains are grand with a grandeur of
snowy summit and bare brown rock, and trees are few and stunted.
In Westland you see the same peaks of snow, but they rise behind
ranges clad in stately forests, shrouded often in mysterious violet
tints; the glaciers which fall steeply down the mountain sides are
bordered by tall trees; in summer the crimson rata blooms against
the snow, and in May little white orchids were in flower only a few
feet from the ice.

I went to Waiho Gorge intending to spend a week there, but stayed
for three, and the following year I returned and remained for two
months. The hotel stands in a cleared space in the forest, on a
gentle slope overlooking the Waiho river valley--a wide flat with
grass and trees. The Franz Josef Glacier is three miles away, and
the road to it is no rough and stony track, but a moss-grown path
through bush of more than usual loveliness. Here the sunlight,
filtering through interlacing branches, shines on great cushions
of green moss, on the rich green fronds of many crape ferns
with curling feathery tips, and everywhere soil and tree-stems
alike are clothed with ferns, lichens, liverworts and mosses in
bewildering profusion and most satisfying beauty.

The Franz Josef Glacier is three-quarters of a mile wide and eight
miles long, and flows to within six hundred feet of sea level, it
is fed by another smaller glacier, and by vast snowfields lying
among the mountains at its head. Its bed is far steeper than the
Tasman, and the rate of flow much quicker, so the surface changes
continually, and is broken up into the most extraordinary ridges
and pinnacles of every conceivable shape and size; the pinnacles
stand up like great teeth of ice, crevasses vary in depth from ten
feet to a hundred, and the narrow ridges between are often cut
short by other crevasses at right angles, making climbing among
them tedious and difficult. A few years ago a hanging gallery of
wooden steps on iron staples was erected in the hillside near the
terminal face, forty feet above the level of the glacier; within
six months the glacier rose up in a gigantic ice-wave and tore down
the gallery like a child's toy; it then began to subside, and, when
I saw it, was almost at its former level; but the gallery has not
been replaced, and a few tattered planks still hang from the cliff.

The Franz Josef is almost free from moraine, though there are a few
grey rocks and stones and coarse silt scattered about on the ice
above the terminal face, which in the centre of the glacier is a
sheer ice-wall, two hundred feet high. The Waiho River rises here,
in an amphitheatre of blue and white ice, sometimes at one point,
sometimes at another; great blocks of ice are constantly breaking
away at the snout, and the river escapes wherever it can force its
way. The ice of the Franz Josef has the most beautiful colouring;
there are caves of clearest crystal, or of white ice faintly tinged
with blue, and many moulins and ice-bridges of an intense, bright
blue. From Waiho, the Franz Josef forms the nearest highway across
the Alps into Canterbury--a long climb up the glacier and over the
snowy saddle at its head, then down the steep slope of another
glacier to the Tasman.

On my first visit, under the careful guidance of a Westland guide
whose home is at Waiho, and who knows and loves the glacier and
mountains as his intimate friends, I explored the lower slopes of
the Franz Josef. We went together as far up the glacier as a hut
which had just been built, three hours' climb from the terminal
face.

At this point a rocky mountain spur juts out into the glacier--Cape
Defiance it is aptly named--and on this spur, some few hundred feet
above the glacier, a little platform has been levelled, and a hut
of wood and iron put up. It is like the hut by the Hooker Glacier
on the other side of the Alps, and is divided by a wooden partition
into two rooms, with six bunks in each room, but instead of an oil
stove, the Cape Defiance Hut has an open fireplace made of flat
grey stones from the mountain side. The hut is perfectly fitted
together; and every strip of corrugated iron and wood used in it
has been carried on men's backs up the glacier in loads of fifty to
sixty pounds--there is no other way, and the two men who did it all
needed to be mountaineers as well as carpenters.

This hut was put up at Government expense, it is provisioned and
kept going by private enterprise, and the guiding in Westland is in
private hands.

Round the hut grow ferns and a bushy tangle of ribbon-wood, broom
and coprosma trees, and from its windows you look up towards the
head of the glacier or across to the mountains on the opposite
side, and on the far side of a small tributary glacier behind Cape
Defiance, you hear a waterfall thundering down from a height of
a thousand feet. The first winter snow had fallen and the whole
glacier was covered with fresh snow, making walking easier over the
slippery ice, but as we climbed higher the snow was deeper--almost
up to my knees--and when after sunset we reached the hut, we found
it half-buried in snow, with snow-drifts two or three feet deep all
round it.

The snow was speedily shovelled away, and a cheerful log fire soon
blazed on the open hearth.

At eight o'clock that night the moon rose, full and brilliant, and
from the door of the hut we saw glacier and mountains distinct
in the moonlight: at our feet the full width of the glacier, its
uneven edges stretching upwards to a great ice-fall of white and
towering pinnacles, its lower slopes vanishing into the night:
meeting the snow of the glacier was the fresh white snow of the
mountains rising from it--an unbroken expanse of snow low down, but
above a mingling of brown rock and whiteness against the blue sky,
and the blue was a deep violet shade, changing to sapphire where
the clear moon shone serenely. Very few stars were visible, but one
planet gleamed like a lamp over the crest of the mountain opposite,
and above our heads shone the Southern Cross--the five stars of the
cross guarded by two bright pointers, shining even more brilliantly
than the Cross itself--while over the glacier, behind the topmost
pinnacles, floated a few soft, white, fleecy clouds.

I was the first lady to sleep in the Cape Defiance Hut, and found
my bunk most comfortable with mattress and blankets, and for
pillow, a spare blanket slipped inside a pillow-slip. I was offered
a hot water bottle, but declined that, and though water in my room
froze during the night, I was perfectly warm.

Next morning before I got up my guide brought me a cup of tea
and a biscuit, then hot water in a billy for me to wash in. For
breakfast I had a poached egg served on hot buttered toast, and
cups of delicious coffee--and all these luxuries on the edge of a
glacier!

The snow was too deep for us to go higher on the glacier, so we
climbed a short way up the mountain behind the hut, where we found
a convenient bare patch, sheltered by an overhanging rock, and
could sit down on the rucksack and study the view.

We were only two thousand feet above sea level, and there in front
of us was the Tasman Sea, its irregular coastline sixteen miles
distant; the sea was a smooth grey, backed by level grey and yellow
clouds--a quiet, lonely sea, and on its surface no faintest trace
of fishing boat or steamer.

Just within the coastline glimmered the waters of a peaceful
lagoon, and to the right, among the trees, shone a large lake, the
surface ruffled by wind, which gave the effect of a fringe of snow
on the far side. Between the foot of the glacier and the sea flowed
the Waiho River, blue amid the pearly shingle of its wide bed.
There is flat land sparsely covered with rough grass and shrub on
both sides of the Waiho, then between river and sea stretch ridge
behind ridge of low bush-covered hills, the furthest jutting out
steeply into the ocean.

Beyond the glacier, on the opposite side to where we sat, lies a
long level ridge, densely clothed with forest trees, and over them
lay the snow gradually melting in the hot sun. Behind the wooded
range are higher mountains, and at right angles to them, covering
the lower levels, are miles of forest, deep green at first, paling
through greens and greys to dimmest grey, where the line of forest
meets the dim, grey sea.

Looking up the glacier, we could see two rocky peaks which stand
some miles above the head, but not the actual head of the glacier,
or the snowfield which feeds it. As we saw it that morning the
Franz Josef was one magnificent ice-fall--the topmost ridge of
huge ice-crags sharply outlined against the blue, and then a steep
descent of rough broken ice, and over all a spotless mantle of
snow, white and glistening in the sunshine: mountain and glacier
and snow-sprinkled forests combined to make one glorious scene of
wintry splendour.

[Illustration: FRANZ JOSEF AND ALMER GLACIERS FROM CAPE DEFIANCE.
                                              _To face page 110_]

Back to the hut for an early lunch, after which we washed plates
and cups, swept the floor, folded up the blankets, sorted out the
provisions, put out the fire with a sprinkling of snow, and with
key in the lock outside, we left the hut to its winter solitude.

Twenty miles from the Franz Josef Glacier is another, the Fox,
which is eleven miles long, and this too, like the Franz Josef,
comes down among the forest and ends in a winding river.

To reach the Fox glacier, I rode on horseback through the bush,
down the "Main South Road"--such a pretty road--worn bare in places
by waggons and horses' feet, but for the most part soft with grass
and moss, with grassy margins bordering the forest. After about
eight miles, the road becomes a mere track, steep and often stony,
and across it are cut shallow water-courses, lined with stones
and the stems of tree-ferns; the whole road is continually being
improved and widened, and in a few years settlers will be able
to drive a carriage where they must now either ride or walk. At
intervals by the side of the track are huts, usually of corrugated
iron: one was of logs roofed with shingles, and one of fern stems,
and along a section on which several men were working, we saw
tents of canvas or white calico. The permanent iron huts are put
up at Government expense, for the use primarily of surveyors, gold
prospectors or roadmen, but any traveller is at liberty to light a
fire and spend the night in one of them. At one such hut, standing
in a grass paddock, fenced in with barbed wire, we dismounted,
turned the horses loose to feed and walked in: it was a small,
one-roomed hut, and had four wooden bunks stocked with straw and
bracken for bedding, a wide open fireplace, and two wooden benches.
We soon had a good fire of dry logs, and when the billy boiled we
made tea, and ate our lunch in the sunny paddock, surrounded by
bush-covered hills and the remoteness of the forest world.

The aloofness of the "back blocks" is amazing, so vast and yet so
friendly; in the forest itself you have only the birds for company,
and they are all fearless and trustful, and unsuspecting of any
danger from stick or gun: sometimes near a homestead you see cows
or sheep grazing by tracks or river-beds, but the only native
four-footed animals in all New Zealand are two varieties of bats,
and its forests have no snakes or hurtful creatures of any kind.
The people, too, who live among the Westland forests, share in the
friendliness of the forest birds; even alone on a bush track at
night, I always felt quite sure that if I did meet anyone--roadman
or surveyor--he would simply be very glad to see me and would do
anything in his power to help me.

The Main South Road goes up three steep hills and down into the
valleys between, over rivers and creeks, and always it is a forest
road, and we looked through brown trunks and twining lianes and
waving fern-fronds upon trees of every shade of green, down in
the valleys and up the hillsides, and often some glorious snowy
peak crowning the forest. Wherever the hill has been cut away in
making the track the once bare soil is covered with ferns and
mosses. We rode by walls of green flecked with red, where long
glossy ferns and trailing festons of lycopodiums, all copper and
green, stretched out to touch us as we passed; and down the cliffs
tumbled sparkling waterfalls to join the brawling streams below.
At sunset, we came to the brow of a long steep hill, overlooking
a wide fertile plain--two silvery rivers winding through it; in
the distance low bush-hills, and over them as the sun went down, a
pink haze, through which the dark trees showed as through a filmy
transparency, in front of a clear sky, blue tinged with green.

At Weheka, the homestead where we stayed, I learnt a little about
life in remote places: here we were eighty-seven miles from train
or doctor, but always, through the telephone, in touch with the
world outside. When anyone is ill, the doctor is rung up at Ross
or Hokitika, and symptoms are described, and remedies are sent by
the next mail--a doctor's visit costs forty or fifty pounds, and in
case of emergency each settler must be his own doctor. For children
in these country districts Government provides "household schools,"
allowing £6 a head per annum for three or more children of school
age, and a teacher is sent from the nearest school, or sometimes
the mother of the children is the teacher; when there are as many
as seven children to be taught, a schoolroom is built for them
near the homestead, and desks and maps are provided.

Round Weheka a good deal of land has been cleared and sown with
grass, and our host was shortly sending two hundred bullocks to the
market at Hokitika, over a hundred miles away.

This farmhouse grows every year more modern and up-to-date. The
original homestead was a small one-roomed hut planted in the forest.

The present house is roomy and comfortable, with large sitting-room
and many bedrooms, the kitchen is a big room apart from the rest,
and yet another building is the bathroom, in which is a large bath
and a cold water tap, and near all the rest is the Government
school. When I first stayed at Weheka, music was provided by an
excellent gramophone, but the following year I found a new piano,
and one daughter was learning to play the piano, and another the
violin.

At first the house was lighted by oil lamps and candles, now
electric light has been installed, and an electric globe greets
you at the garden-gate. There is only one other house near the
homestead, but the Main South Road goes on bravely for thirteen
miles to the next house, and beyond that to another settlement
fifty miles further south.

The day following my arrival at Weheka, I was taken on the Fox
Glacier.

Compared with the Franz Josef the Fox Glacier carries a quantity of
moraine, the terminal face slopes gently down to the valley, and
above it are boulders and stones, of every size; many of them are
covered with bright red lichen, which makes them look as though
they had been sprinkled with brick-dust. The lower ice is in smooth
layers, and when you have safely crossed the tempestuous Fox River
and scrambled over the loose rubble of the moraine, walking on the
glacier itself presents no difficulty.

At one time this glacier stood at a far higher level, and one high
rock-face has deep grooves worn in it by the stones carried down
in distant ages. Under the rock with its deep grooves, the ice has
been forced into huge curves through the variation in its rate of
flow: the centre of the glacier moves most quickly, and the ice at
the edge has been left behind and wedged against the mountain side:
in its efforts to move on, the ice river has become twisted into
the strangest contortions, and you can trace cause and effect with
unmistakeable clearness.

From a point only a mile up we had a splendid view towards the head
of the glacier. Ridges of rock and snow stand above it, and on
their right is one tall white peak, beyond which the glacier rises
and curves round in a sweeping ice-fall of pinnacles, all jagged
white ice shot with green. Looking back down the valley, we saw the
sea lying in grey streaks on the distant horizon.

Forest and ice meet at the glacier's edge; we boiled ice-water in
the billy, and sat on a grey pebbly beach, under the shelter of a
big tree-veronica.

The day had been grey and gloomy, but at sunset, as we left the
glacier, the sun shone out, first lighting up the yellow autumn
leaves of the fuchsia trees as from the glow of a fiery furnace,
then flooding all the forest with golden light, so that for a few
minutes all the bush was turned to gold, with the glacier behind
part white and part grey shadow, until the sun sank below the
horizon, and all was grey.



CHAPTER X

THROUGH THE BULLER VALLEY


I first went into Westland from Christchurch by way of the Otira
Gorge: I left it for Wellington by way of the Buller Gorge and the
town of Nelson. For three days the return journey is the same--the
drive by coach to Ross and the railway to Greymouth: here, instead
of turning east to cross the mountains, you go on still by railway,
over the Grey River and into the province of Nelson as far as
Reefton, where at present the line ends, though it is gradually
being continued further north. Motor cars meet the train and take
passengers on for the remaining fifty miles between Reefton and
Westport, running for a great part of the journey through the
Buller Gorge, close to the Buller River.

It is a very fine river, from two to three chains wide, and a great
volume of brown water flows swiftly between high tree-covered
cliffs. There is very little room for the road, which in places
has been cut on the face of the cliff overhanging the river,
and now on the opposite side trees are being felled and the
beauty of the river injured to make a way for the new railroad.
There is a certain sameness in the scenery, beautiful though it
undoubtedly is--mile after mile of rounded hills of varying height,
all uniformly covered with luxuriant growth of pines, beeches,
fuchsias, veronicas and tree-ferns, and ever the brown river
flowing below.

Westport is the centre of the coal-mining industry--a small and
dreary town of wooden houses and straight streets, at the head of a
desolate plain backed by low forest-hills. It has a harbour at the
mouth of the Buller, and here I watched trucks being unloaded into
the hold of a small steamer. It was a most scientific unlading--the
crane hoisted up the loaded truck and kept it suspended over the
hold, then the bottom of the truck opened, and all the coal came
tumbling out exactly as it was wanted.

After one night at Westport, a motor coach took me back through
the Buller Gorge and on up the Buller Valley, until twenty-seven
miles from Westport it left me at a small hotel; here I had lunch,
and afterwards went on again in a coach drawn by four sleek and
well-groomed horses. All that afternoon we drove by the side of the
Buller River, and all the time the scenery was fine--high cliffs
and dense forests, and sometimes through a break in the cliffs
we saw a high distant mountain peak, white with freshly fallen
snow. The river-bed has been very rich in gold, and some is still
found, though the claims are now not worked very energetically; one
sluicing hose, that should have been at work tearing down the rock,
was aimlessly pouring water with great force back into the river.

It was the end of May and cold--as the driver sympathetically
remarked "too late in the season for the Buller." I was very glad
to see the first twenty miles, but after that, I wearied of forest
and cliff; there was too much scenery endlessly repeated, and I was
too cold to enjoy it.

The last few miles we drove in the dark, and finally came to a
little township in an open valley, and here stayed for the night.

This valley and the hills surrounding it are all being cleared for
grazing land, and up to the very tops of the hills are blackened
tree-trunks, while grass is springing up everywhere round the
half-burnt stumps.

For another ten miles beyond the little settlement the road still
follows the course of the Buller, which is now a narrow mountain
stream of dark green water, hurrying along between high wooded
banks, until at last--and I rejoiced in the change--it branches
off, and up another valley and over a low saddle to Glenhope,
another small settlement, where we again reach a railway and are
able to proceed by train to Nelson.

After travelling for two days through a wild and for the most part
uninhabited country, the town of Nelson and the smiling fertility
of the hollow in which it lies come as a complete and happy
surprise. All round Nelson the land is highly cultivated, with
hop-gardens and fruit orchards, and though the nearer hills have
lost their forest growth and are bare of all but grass, the town
itself is lavishly planted with many trees, the berberis hedges
were a mass of crimson leaf, and yellow cassias and wattles were
flowering, even in mid-winter.

Nelson is known in this land of sunshine as "Sunny Nelson," and
now that a private donor has generously given a site, there
is presently to be built here a Solar Observatory, from which
scientists may study the sun.

The town has eight thousand inhabitants, good hotels and shops,
and fine wide streets; a museum too, and public flower gardens.
On rising ground among the trees at the head of the main
street--Trafalgar Street--stands the Anglican Cathedral, of wood,
painted red; it has a shingle roof and tapering spire, and a broad
flight of white stone steps leads up to it: they are very handsome
steps, but look a little incongruous so close to the wooden walls.

There is a big jam factory at which fruit is tinned and a great
deal of excellent jam made: there is no temptation to adulterate
the jams, as fruit comes to the factory in greater quantity
than the makers can use--peaches, nectarines, apricots, plums,
strawberries or quinces--one of the men told me that quince jam
is the only kind they are ever asked to send to England: in New
Zealand, where quinces grow in such abundance that they are often
left to rot on the ground, it is a jam of little account.

In the main, Nelson is a delightful residential town, with good
schools and plenty of pleasant houses standing in pretty gardens.

Only a mile from the town is the port and the open sea, and by the
sand dunes of a wide bay cottages are being built by the people of
Nelson, and here they come and picnic, and enjoy sea bathing and
golf and wonderful views across the bay, of snowy mountains and
blue hills. The hills have as foreground a wide stretch of open
country, neither hilly nor flat, but crumpled into little ridges
running in all directions. This crumpled land is the district of
Moutere, and here it has recently been discovered that apples grow
better than they do anywhere else in the neighbourhood, so all who
have land there are turning it to account for apple orchards.

The great excitement of the place just then was the visit to the
port of H.M.S. "New Zealand."

Hundreds of people went aboard and were shown the ship and many
of her treasures--such as signed portraits of the King and Queen,
hanging on either side of a glass case containing presents given to
the ship--silver gilt cups, massive branched candlesticks and Maori
curios; portraits too of Dick Seddon and Sir Joseph Ward.

Officers and men were entertained in the town, and the sailors gave
exhibitions of naval drill and sports in a large paddock near the
port.

June 3rd, the King's birthday, is observed through the Dominion as
a general holiday.

It was winter certainly, but the sun shone and the air was mild,
and friends took me out picnicing. First we drove three miles in
an open carriage to a reservoir on the outskirts of the town, from
there a steep track took us into the bush, and by a trickling
stream we piled up sticks and boiled the billy, and then sat down
for tea on a mossy bank overlooking a wooded ravine. It was all
very pleasant and a little unexpected at that time of year, but
other picnic parties were doing the same.

From Nelson steamers run to Wellington.

Nelson is situated at the north of South Island, and Wellington
at the extreme southern point of North Island, but between the two
places lie many miles of coastline, and the voyage takes several
hours--from early morning until late at night, if as on the day
when I crossed Cook Strait, the steamer calls in at Picton.
Between Nelson and Picton the land shows a very curious geological
formation--a flat tableland cut through by deep gorges up which the
sea flows in long curving arms, and all the arms or "sounds" are
indented with numberless bays, large and small, and off the coast
and within the sounds are many rocky, tree-clad islands.

At the entrance to Pelorus Sound the boats have for many years been
met by a white dolphin--Pelorus Jack--who always escorted them up
to Picton. Jack was specially protected by Act of Parliament, but
for over a year nothing has been seen of him, and his old friends
fear that he is dead.

The steamer hugs the coast and you admire the high cliffs and
forests and the waterways that separate them. We turned up Queen
Charlotte Sound--a narrow entrance and then a long landlocked
harbour, up which it took two hours to steam. On either side were
high bush hills, cleared in places for grass; round us played a
large shoal of porpoises, the great creatures often jumping right
out of the water close to the ship, while all the time grey gulls
circled gracefully round and round.

At Picton we found H.M.S. "New Zealand" again on view, anchored
behind a small island at the head of the sound; the town was
crowded with people who had come to see her and join in the
festivities, and outside the Town Hall were decorations of
tree-ferns and feathery rimu branches.

That evening we had a calm and uneventful journey down the sound,
then suddenly as the ship entered Cook Strait, she lurched over,
and continued to roll and pitch for the next two hours.

I think most of the passengers were glad to be at peace and safely
berthed in Wellington Harbour.



CHAPTER XI

THE COPLAND PASS


As seen from the Hermitage, the Southern Alps form an apparently
impassable barrier between Canterbury on the east and the Province
of Westland lying between the mountains and the western sea. There
are certainly no coach roads or bridle tracks across the snow, but
with the help of a guide, a good walker, however inexperienced in
mountaineering, can without much difficulty cross the mountains by
one of the passes or saddles which divide some of the high peaks.
Accordingly, early in April, I was ready to cross the Copland Pass
with a guide who was returning to Westland--the same guide who last
year took me on the Franz Josef glacier.

Among the mountains the weather is always an uncertain quantity,
and the day fixed for leaving the Hermitage was hopelessly wet,
so we had to wait. The next day was fine, so in the afternoon we
started and walked along the track for seven miles up the valley
to the Hooker Hut, hoping to spend one night there and go on next
day. All that night rain poured in torrents and the wind howled
round the hut in furious gusts. Now this hut with its framework
of wood looks very fragile, and as it rocked and shook me in my
bunk all night I wondered would it stand the strain. I was assured
in the morning that it was built on very solid foundations and
anchored firmly to the rock, and not at all likely to be blown
over. That day and the following night the wind and rain continued,
so we left the hut and tramped back to the Hermitage and there
stayed for another two days.

On a beautiful sunshiny afternoon we tried again, and as we walked
up to the hut, Mount Cook shone pink in the evening glow, the sky
behind the mountains and away southwards down the Tasman Valley was
blue and clear, with a few dainty clouds, and there seemed every
prospect of fine weather. During the night up sprang the wind, and
it was blowing hard as we left the hut to have a look at the pass.
From the Hooker Hut a rough track leads up and over the tops of
rocky ridges, where sometimes there is no track at all, but you
must climb with hands as well as feet, and on this particular day
the wind was so strong that I could only just manage to stand or
breathe, and was glad to be securely roped to my guide and know
that if I did fall it would not be far. After two hours' climbing,
we had sleet driving against our faces to contend with as well as
wind, and higher up a snowstorm was raging, so back we turned, and
were glad to reach the shelter of the hut once more.

Snow fell round the hut during the night, but cleared off the
next morning, and soon after nine o'clock we made another start.
The day was quite still, hardly a blade of grass moved, masses of
white fleecy clouds floated round and above the mountains, and
as the sun grew stronger, light mists rose from the valley below
us, and scattered like thin gauze among the clouds. The Hermitage
showed clearly in the valley, its white wall and red roof in sharp
relief against a background of dark green and brown hillside; in
front of the Hermitage the wide-stretching grey shingle of the
Tasman river-bed, with the river apparently running uphill towards
Lake Pukaki, very blue and distinct forty miles away, and having
the curious effect of a lake up in the sky; behind the lake,
brown mountains sprinkled with snow showing plainly against flat,
indigo-coloured clouds, and over all a clear dome of pale blue.
Climbing up the track was easy work on such a quiet morning, and we
had at first no use for the rope.

After the rock-ridge come snow-slopes, where there is always the
possibility of slipping, so the guide put me on the rope and went
ahead, kicking steps in the soft snow, or cutting them with his
ice-axe where the snow was frozen. We went along the edges of deep
crevasses and past lovely ice-caverns, where fringes of glittering
icicles guard the entrances to blue recesses in the white ice, and
up one short ice wall, where hand holes were cut as well as steps,
and I climbed with hands and feet from one step to the next, with
the help of my axe stuck firmly in the ledge above.

At twelve o'clock we gained the summit, 7,000 feet above sea level,
and found a narrow rock-wall, a succession of sharply toothed
rocks, too sharp for snow to lodge on them, standing with their
bases in the snow. We stood there, beside the rocky wall, with one
hand in Westland and the other in Canterbury. It was now a radiant
day of brilliant sunshine and deep blue sky, and we were surrounded
by white peaks towering majestically into the blue heaven. Looking
back, we had a fine view of Mount Cook and the Mount Cook Range,
striking off at right angles to the main Divide. Mount Cook
stood at the head, very snowy and beautiful, and the mountains
of that range were a series of sharp rocky peaks, with patches
of last year's snow on their summits, and a powdery sprinkling
of fresh snow reaching far down their sides. Looking along the
main Divide to the south, were peaks of rock and snow between us
and the whiteness of Mounts Footstool and Sefton. These giants of
respectively over nine and ten thousand feet rise up grandly from
the valley--their steep, snowy summits glittering in the sunlight,
then rough ridges of rock alternating with glacier and snowfield,
falling away by degrees to the sheer mountain side of brown rock
and sombre green bush. Beyond Sefton and at right angles to the
main range were more peaks of rock and snow; facing us were other
mountains; far below lay the Copland Valley, a silver stream
flowing through it, and behind the brown peaks opposite, half
hidden by billowy white clouds, we had a distant glimpse of the
blue sea. The whole scene was as fair and wonderful as anyone could
wish for.

[Illustration: MOUNTS SEFTON AND FOOTSTOOL FROM COPLAND PASS.
                                         _To face page 132._]

There are higher and grander mountains in other parts of the world,
but perhaps none more satisfyingly beautiful than the New Zealand
Alps, which always give one a happy feeling that they are exactly
right, and could not possibly be altered for the better.

Our next move was the descent into Westland. My guide stood in
Canterbury and hauled me over the summit like a sack of potatoes,
and then told me to slide down on to a narrow ledge, where I had
for my only hand-holds rock thickly glazed with ice; and then
to stand upright in snow which, apparently, had no bottom but
infinity: not altogether liking the look of it, I rashly said,
"I can't," and was answered instantly and very firmly with, "You
must." So I had to make the best of it, and with the rope to
steady me, found it quite simple after all.

When the guide had scrambled over, he again took the lead, and went
forward through the soft snow, kicking steps in a long steep slope,
which led us out on a stretch of rough moraine, where fragments of
rock of all shapes and sizes, with knife-like edges, lay scattered
thickly on the mountain side. You learn to walk cautiously on such
rocks, as their sharp edges hurt even through strong boots, and not
infrequently one treads on a loose stone, and gets an unexpected
tumble and a few bruises. Great boulders succeed the moraine, and
here we trod on crisp grass, and found a few late white lilies
and mountain daisies still in flower. Concealed by loose stones
under a particularly huge boulder were cups and a billy. A fire
was soon lighted, and we had an excellent lunch of tea and sardine
sandwiches. Over our heads flew a couple of keas in plumage of red
and green; beyond a steep precipice close at hand thundered a high
and sparkling waterfall, while all round us towered the mountains
in solitary grandeur.

One great charm of mountaineering in New Zealand is its
loneliness; you feel that for the time the whole world is yours to
enjoy--the beauty and the wonder are for you alone.

Right among the Alps there are only two hotels--one on either
side--from which it is possible to begin climbing, and if a party
sets out to go from one side of the mountains to the other, the
fact is known by wire immediately they have started, and news of
their arrival is anxiously awaited, and if any delay occurs, an
"urgent" telegram is sent round asking for news, so that, wherever
you may be, you are always protected by the thoughts of friends
from east and west. Not many people have yet discovered the
Southern Alps, very few even among the New Zealanders themselves
realise how big and marvellous a playground they have in all the
Alpine district: in whatever direction you go, you see peaks that
no one has yet climbed, and tracts of forest and mountain that
are completely unexplored. To climb at all in New Zealand, either
on glacier or mountain, you need some share of the spirit of
adventure, for you never know at the beginning of the day what you
will have done by the end of it; always you must have confidence
in your guide, and in your own feet and powers of endurance.
There are no planks laid across crevasses or ropes fixed in steep
places up the mountains--everything is entirely unspoiled, and the
mountains stand as they have done through the centuries before
any white man set foot in New Zealand. Until this season there
had never been a serious accident to any climber in the Southern
Alps, but last February--on February 22nd, 1914--as an experienced
English climber and two of the Hermitage guides were descending
Mount Cook, they were overwhelmed by an avalanche, and all three
killed, and so sad a disaster has thrown a gloom over all this
season's climbing.

From the rock where my guide and I had lunch, a narrow and
well-defined track, made only last year, winds gradually down
for two or three miles over rough shingle and across many creeks
hurrying from the snows. The track leads away down into the valley,
winding in and out among the scrub, where snow grass flourishes,
waving creamy tassels above thick clumps of long, bright green
streamers; and the hillside is dotted with shrubs, gay with
brilliant berries in all shades of red and orange. Always from the
track are wonderful views of high, bush-covered hills, with snowy
peaks ever rising majestically behind the green.

The Alpine plants now give place to the familiar ferns and mosses
of the Westland bush, and suddenly the track enters the forest
and continues through it for another three miles, sometimes over
tree-roots, sometimes leading over rushing torrents where you jump
from one boulder to another, but in the main it affords an easy
path, until it comes out upon Welcome Flat--a two-mile expanse of
open grassy country, with the Copland River running through in many
turbulent streams. The streams were too high and swift for me to
ford, so my guide took me over on his back, and the water swirled
madly round his knees, while I was very safe and quite dry. After
the fords we had to leave the river, and strike again into the
bush along a disused track, where tree-trunks lay right across the
path, bush-lawyers and tree-ferns trailed in our faces, and our
feet were entangled in moss-grown roots, and brought up suddenly
by deep black hollows, where the wisest course was to sit down and
slide from one level to the next. By daylight I am sure this must
be an enchanting way through a wealth of forest greenery, but in
the dusk and at the end of a long day's tramp it meant a difficult
half-hour's scramble, and it was a relief to emerge into the open,
and find ourselves at a three-roomed Alpine hut where we stopped
for the night.

Close to this hut are pools of hot sulphur water, fed continually
by hot springs. The pools lie in an open space amid the bush;
trees and ferns and green mosses grow down to the water's edge,
and between the separate pools of bubbling green water is a wide
deposit of silica in varying shades of pink--emeralds in a setting
of garnets--and about the pools, steam constantly rising and
floating away over the forest. While the fire was being lighted,
soup made and peas boiled for dinner, I had a bath in one of the
pools, by the light of a lantern stuck on a convenient post, in
delightfully warm water, which kept rising in fresh bubbles all
over me as I bathed: a dim moon looked down from a cloudy sky,
and all was wrapped in the utter peace and quiet of forest and
mountain by night.

The following day was gloomy, wet and disappointing. All round
Welcome Flat rise mountains of rock and snow, behind green bush
sloping down to the river valleys; I saw no mountains--nothing but
trees and valleys below a line of white, impenetrable mist. I was
mounted astride on a horse whose back I shared with the packs--bags
of sacking filled with rucksack and other bundles, all carefully
covered with more sacking to keep them dry. The track leads always
through the forest, up and down among the trees, and over many
glacier-fed streams--so rough a track that we could only go at a
walking pace. When we came to particularly strong and swift-rushing
torrents I had to dismount, and, once safe on a big boulder in
midstream, I watched admiringly while his master led the horse
through the water, and let him scramble up the loose stones of the
opposite bank.

At the end of thirteen miles we arrived at a homestead, where it
seemed strange to exchange the mountain solitudes for the bustle
of farm life, with barking collie dogs, quacking ducks, crowing
"roosters," horses, cows and sheep, and people constantly coming
and going in and out of a comfortable house, standing in its gay
flower-garden, surrounded by green paddocks. We were hungry, and
very glad to eat an excellent dinner of roast duck and apple pie,
and I was content to rest by a glowing fire and go early to bed.

In the morning, we hired a second horse, and rode the last stage of
thirty miles at a good pace, with a long stop at another homestead
for lunch. This was a better day than the previous one, part sunny
and part gloomy, and I had good views of the mountains. After
a few miles, the road--for it is more than a bridle-track just
here--leaves the forest and comes out on a wide shingle flat. Among
the grey stones a river wanders in many devious branches. Some
of the streams were shallow, but one, where the current swirled
furiously along, was well over our horses' knees as we forded it.
On the further side of the river we stopped, for this is one of the
best view-points in all South Westland.

Looking eastward to the mountains, we saw, through floating
masses of white cloud, the peaks which I have learnt to know
from the other side of the Alps. Haidinger Peak showed square
and white against blue sky, and we had fleeting glimpses of
Mounts Cook and Tasman--the latter, a sharp snowy peak at the
head of the Fox Glacier. Below Mount Tasman the glacier curves
down in a broad sweep of white ice, between sombre green forests,
towards the river-valleys. From where our horses stood, the
wide river-bed--grey shingle with silver streaks of water--made
a spacious foreground to the mountains. All about us were
low-growing, green shrubs, and tall, feathery, white sprays of
"toi-toi" grass. On our left, looking down the river, were low,
bush-covered hills, separated by broad gaps, where, only a few
miles distant, several rivers flow into the Tasman Sea.

To-day's ride was not lacking in excitement. The previous night
there had been a high gale, the telephone wire was down at the
fords; and in the forest, trees had been blown across road and
wire, one tree so big that it completely blocked the way, and we
had to get off our horses. The guide rapidly cut off straggling
branches with an axe, which he had brought in case of accidents;
we then climbed the trunk, and the horses easily jumped over.

We came safely to our journey's end at Waiho Gorge, by the Franz
Josef glacier, at nightfall, greeted cheerily by the light
streaming through the open door of the hotel, and by the kindly
welcome of my last year's friends.

[Illustration: GLACIER HOTEL, WAIHO GORGE.  _To face page 143._]



CHAPTER XII

THE WESTLAND GLACIERS


I was back at Waiho Gorge and content--seventy miles from the
nearest train, and with a mail once a week.

At Waiho, there are a few small huts, three cottages and the hotel.
The Glacier Hotel is a two-storied wooden building, with verandah
and balcony, and accommodation for between thirty and forty; it
has a dining-room, smoking-room and two sitting-rooms, in one of
which is an excellent piano; there are two bathrooms with a good
supply of hot and cold water, and soon the house will be lighted by
electricity--the power to be brought from a convenient waterfall
close by. Under the same roof is a store, where you can buy
groceries, boot-laces and tobacco, and in the same store you find
a post-office with a telephone--that indispensable luxury of the
back blocks. It is in the parish of Ross, and four times a year the
Anglican clergyman drives seventy miles to hold a service. While I
was staying here, the Bishop of Christchurch took a journey of two
hundred miles to conduct a Confirmation in the smoking-room: there
were nine candidates, some of whom had come more than forty miles.
The Presbyterian minister also comes from Ross and holds a service,
and sometimes the Roman Catholic priest spends a night at the hotel.

At this hotel, tourists may feel that they are visitors and
friends, so kindly is their welcome, and so homelike and pleasant
are the arrangements made for them. No one need be dull--something
is always happening--a draper comes through with his pack of goods
for sale; a farmer rides up with his daughters from a homestead
thirty miles south, on their way to a dance held in a hall twenty
miles further on; news too continually filters through--for the
settlers all know one another, and take the keenest interest in
each other's welfare. Catering is sometimes difficult. There
are cows for milk, chickens and a kitchen garden, sheep too, in
paddocks not far off; but all other provisions must either come in
the weekly coach or by steamer to the small township of Okarito,
seventeen miles away. Okarito is like other west coast harbours,
in having a bar, which, in stormy weather, makes it impossible for
even a small steamer to enter or leave the port. Often, for weeks
at a time, the inhabitants of Waiho Gorge must depend on the mail
coach for their supplies.

I had come back to learn more of the mountains and their ways, if
only the weather would allow me to climb.

For a short expedition up the Franz Josef Glacier, a hut stocked
with provisions and blankets stands ready a few hours' tramp from
Waiho, and for a day on the Fox, the farmhouse at Weheka serves as
base; but for any long climb up either glacier, the climber must
be equipped with tent, sleeping-bag, food, clothes, and sometimes
a small spirit-stove. The great drawback to such mountaineering
is that these necessaries must all be carried, and, as my guide
considered that I had enough to do to carry myself, my only share
was my own small camera.

In Westland, an Alpine tent is made of thin white mackintosh, with
mackintosh floor and loose outer fly, also of mackintosh. The tent
measures six feet by seven feet. The ridge-pole is of rope slipped
through the top of the tent, and fastened securely to the spikes of
two ice-axes set up at each end. The rope is next made firm round
heavy stones, and the strings of the fly are held in place by more
stones. Sleeping-bags are of eider-down or of blankets doubled over
and stitched. For food you have bread, butter, tinned meats, tinned
fruit, tea and milk. I spent several nights in a tent and found it
surprisingly comfortable. When the tent has to be pitched on bare
rock, the floor, in spite of extra clothing and a sleeping-bag,
makes a hard bed, especially if bad weather compels you to stay in
the tent longer than one night; but if it is possible to camp near
shrubs, you can then collect branches and ferns, and these, packed
closely together under the mackintosh, make a floor like a spring
mattress. Whichever it was--either soft or hard--I contrived to
sleep very well.

My first long expedition from Waiho was up the Franz Josef Glacier
to Cape Defiance Hut, with a climb next day up Mount Moltke, a
mountain which rises immediately behind the hut and is between
seven and eight thousand feet in height. It is an easy climb.

After an early breakfast we left the hut at half-past seven. First
we climbed up a rough track through the bush, where coprosmas and
currant-trees bore dense and gorgeous clusters of berries--red,
yellow and pink; then over grassy slopes, and on and up, by rocky
ridges and snowfields; again more rocks and more steep slopes of
snow, until at eleven o'clock, we stood on the summit, with the
pure air and the view for our reward.

On one side is the sea, to-day only partially seen through great
masses of cloud floating below us. On the other side, all was
clear, and before us stretched, from north to south, the whole
range of the main Divide, from Elie de Beaumont to Mount Cook and
beyond--a vision of whiteness on their background of blue sky.

While we watched, the distant peaks gradually disappeared behind
white mist, and presently, as we climbed down the snow-slopes, we
too were enveloped in mist, and walked as grey ghosts in a ghostly
world. Before reaching Cape Defiance, the mist cleared, and out
shone the sun once more.

From Waiho, the Franz Josef Glacier with its great white steps is
a road ever beckoning onwards, and the ascent of Moltke is, so to
speak, a halt by the way.

It was the end of April, and the Franz Josef was even more deeply
crevassed than the Tasman had been a month before; the weather
too was unsettled, with heavy clouds in the west--not fit weather
in which to begin a long climb. After ten days of watching and
waiting, the weather cleared. We, that is, the guide and I, left
Waiho on a radiant afternoon, and climbed up to Cape Defiance Hut.
Here we were welcomed enthusiastically by keas, young and old, who
chattered on the bushes or hopped inside the hut.

The following day was still fine, so after an early lunch, we set
out to cross the glacier, the guide carrying our tent, food and
change of clothing. At first the ice was smooth and easy to walk
on, gradually the cracks grew deeper and the ridges narrower, and
I had to be roped and to wait patiently while many steps were cut,
and twice the guide left me sitting on the rucksack and went ahead
to pick out the best route for us both to take. The glacier here is
steep as well as broken, and you climb a thousand feet in a very
short time.

[Illustration: ICE PINNACLES, ALMER GLACIER.  _To face page 149._]

We were by this time close to the side, opposite the Almer Glacier,
a fine little glacier which fairly tumbles down the mountain side,
ending in an extraordinary array of huge broken pinnacles, like so
many Leaning Towers of Pisa--blocks of green and white ice, with
summits half-melted and all ready to fall. We hurried quickly past,
and, once on the mountain, were soon safe from danger of falling
pinnacles or rolling boulder. A stiff climb of an hour took us up
the ridge. First we climbed on loose shingle, then over rocks and
slopes of slippery snow-grass; and, at about five thousand feet, we
stood on the snow-line, among patches of snow, lying between big
grey rocks. Even at this height, there were many roots of an Alpine
ranunculus with leaves like those of an English buttercup, growing
side by side with the edelweiss. The only bird was a tiny mountain
wren with no tail, which fluttered about the rocks.

Our tent was pitched on the bare rock, and, with the help of a
spirit "cooker," we had an excellent hot stew, followed by tinned
apricots and many cups of tea.

At eight o'clock it began to rain, and rained or snowed quietly
and continuously all night long. At dawn a thick mist hid glacier
and mountains. We had hoped to climb up behind the Almer Glacier,
and to ascend Mount Drummond, a mountain over eight thousand feet,
which only one man, a surveyor, has ever climbed.

With the weather in its present mood, we could only wait where we
were, and in the intervals of eating and sleeping, we whiled away
the time in playing patience, with the cards set out on a towel on
the floor.

It cleared a little in the afternoon, and we were able to crawl out
and stretch our legs by scrambling up the rocks at the back of the
tent. We felt cheered too, as we could again see the Franz Josef
Glacier and dim outlines of the mountains.

After a chilly night, we had breakfast by candle-light at six
o'clock. Later the sun rose in a cloudless, pale blue sky, showing
snow lying in a thin covering close round our tent, and the tent
fly coated with frozen sleet.

In spite of blue sky the weather still looked uncertain--not
suitable for our intended attempt to climb Mount Drummond. We could
only take advantage of the good weather while it lasted, and so
we climbed higher up the snow-slopes of the rock on which we had
camped, and over a steep ridge above the snow-slopes. From this
point we had an excellent view of the head of the Franz Josef,
and could see some four miles of its course curving downwards far
beneath in a confused mass of broken ice--white shot with blue.
The glacier is fed by an immense field of pure white snow, behind
which rise several high peaks of the Alps. Directly opposite us
was Graham's Saddle--a broad white stairway leading between two of
the peaks, and affording access, as I knew, to the Tasman Glacier
on the other side. Rocky spurs run out from the dividing range,
and from another range at right angles, into this vast snowfield;
and near the junction of the latter range with the Divide, Mount
Spencer erects a steep, snowy cone of over 9,000 feet.

On our way back to camp, we stopped to look for quartz crystals,
which form here in quantities, and stick out at all angles from
the sides and overhanging portions of the rocks: most of them are
clear as glass, six-sided and sharply pointed, some are an opaque
green; they vary in size from an eighth of an inch to two or three
inches, and are very hard to detach, even with the sharp point of
an ice-axe.

As we rolled up the tent, the weather was clouding over, and no
sooner were we well on the ice of the Franz Josef than snow began
to fall, and continued falling until we reached Cape Defiance Hut.

It was not an enjoyable tramp down the glacier in the driving
snow and on ice with a surface of polished glass--indeed it was
one of those days that make you wonder whether it is worth while
to climb at all. One old kea emphatically disapproved; he joined
us, and perched on the ice near, and remonstrated loudly with us
at our rashness in venturing on such a day; at last, we spoke so
threateningly that he flew off in disgust.

We were soon soaked to the skin, as snow quickly finds its way
through woollen jersey or tweed coat, and one cannot climb in a
mackintosh. After six hours' incessant climbing, it was good to be
safe inside the hut, and enjoy a fire, hot tea and dry blankets.

After the snowstorm came a high wind, which howled furiously round
the hut that night. It was blowing still, when on the following
afternoon we started on our final three hours' climb down the
glacier; but it was sunny too, and the hot sun had slightly melted
the ice, and made it less slippery, so that climbing was easier
than on the previous day. As we came back along the forest track to
Waiho Gorge, the wind dropped completely, and the close of the day
could not have been more lovely. There, behind the forests, stood
Mount Drummond, and its resplendent whiteness and inaccessibility
seemed to mock us from afar.

The bad weather had made everyone in the valley anxious, fearing
lest our tent might have been blown over or the glacier have
proved impassable, and that morning two men had set forth towards
the glacier as a search party, and had returned relieved, after
seeing two black specks moving among the ice-falls.

Three weeks later we made another attempt to climb Mount Drummond.

All went well between Waiho and Cape Defiance; the glacier was in
perfect condition, and you could walk anywhere without the least
difficulty.

On the following day we crossed the glacier immediately below the
hut, and were dismayed to find the surface more smoothly polished
and glasslike than on the day when we came down from the Almer; we
could not walk a yard without step-cutting, and we took two hours
to climb three quarters of a mile. That brought us to the nearest
point on the opposite side: to climb further would have been sheer
waste of time. All we could do was to scramble a short way up the
mountain side, and pitch the tent, hoping for better weather on the
morrow. Alas for our hopes! The morning dawned dull and gloomy,
with thick clouds rolling up from the sea, and by the time we had
struck camp, down came the rain, and we had a wet and tedious
climb back to Cape Defiance.

Rain poured in torrents all the next day, so we waited at the
hut. The next day again was equally wet; however, at breakfast we
finished our last crumbs of bread and biscuit, and were compelled
to go, however bad the weather.

The keas had entertained us during our stay at Cape Defiance by
their absurd cries and friendly inquisitiveness, and a whole troop
of them escorted us some way down the glacier, until finding our
progress very slow, they flew away to shelter.

We were absent so long, that when in the afternoon we walked calmly
into the hotel, we found that a search party was intending to start
with lanterns at five o'clock next morning to look for us.

On the Fox Glacier we had fewer adventures, and were more
successful in carrying through what we attempted, though there too
we were compelled to strike camp in the rain and trudge back to the
homestead, drenched to the skin and with our mountain unclimbed.

At last came a bright sunny morning, free from any threatening
cloud-bank out to sea. We set off hopefully on horseback and rode
three miles through the bush to the foot of the glacier. We left
the horses to feed along the track, then climbed for three hours
up the glacier. Next we lighted a fire among the stones, in a
sheltered nook under the steep mountain side, and had lunch and a
short spell.

Above its first smooth layers of ice the Fox is tremendously
broken into gigantic pinnacles, impossible for climbing, and you
are forced to take refuge amongst boulders and slippery rocks
at the side. Higher still is the main ice-fall of the Fox--more
pinnacles and ridges of ice coming down between the mountains in a
wide frozen cascade--almost as magnificent as the great ice-fall
on the Franz Josef. We crossed the glacier at the foot of the fall
and did not attempt to climb up far among the séracs, but made for
the side, and wormed our way up steep gullies through coarse wet
grass, and then scrambled along smooth, glacier-worn rocks high
above, where we held on carefully to flax, cotton-grass, or any
overhanging branch.

Late in the afternoon we came out on the bed of a precipitous
creek, and on the further side of it found a small platform, some
ten feet by seven, thickly overgrown with rank green grass, open
to the glacier on one side, and on the others ringed about closely
with many trees. Here we pitched the tent, with a soft floor of
ferns and the leafy branches of veronicas, senecios and broadleaf
trees. A fireplace of stones was soon built against the mountain
side among ferns and biddies, and the wood fire burnt cheerily: it
was too cold for sitting outside, so we had dinner inside the tent,
looking out at our camp-fire and the dark cliff beyond the noisy
creek; later the moon rose, showing the glacier beneath, white in
the moonlight.

At 9 p.m. we crawled into our sleeping-bags and slept. We awoke
cold during the night, but after warming the tent with a small
spirit lamp, we ate slices of currant loaf, and soon went to sleep
again. At four-thirty the camp fire was lighted, and at five
o'clock we had breakfast. It was an excellent breakfast of tea,
bread and butter and delicious nectarine jam, and I even had a
boiled egg.

At seven we left our camp and set off up the creek-bed for the
summit of Chancellor Ridge. The dawn was clear and cold, with
the glacier and forests in cold grey shadow; the sea was a quiet
grey, and above the horizon we saw the shadow of the earth in deep
blue-grey on a sky of orange. Striking away from the creek across
slopes of snow grass, we climbed up rocky ridges, and at about
five thousand feet came out on a bare ridge, where I was put on
the rope: then on up a steep snowfield, and over a rounded dome
of snow where the surface was like pie-crust; next over slippery
ice which had a sprinkling of snow, and where steps had to be
chipped. Finally we had a stiff climb up the actual summit--a short
and steep knob of rock, half concealed by snow; and on the top we
found a tiny ledge of grey rock, with streaks of white and green
quartz, and scanty green moss clinging to it. The summit is only
between seven and eight thousand feet high, in New Zealand hardly
to be considered a mountain, still, when we gained it successfully,
my guide said briefly: "First lady to reach the summit, I must
congratulate you." So we shook hands and were happy.

[Illustration: MOUNT MOLTKE AND VICTORIA GLACIER FROM CHANCELLOR RIDGE.
                                                   _To face page 159._]

It was now ten o'clock and brilliantly sunny, and we stood alone
in a world of snow. Below lay the head of the Fox Glacier--a great
snowfield encircled by mountains. Immediately above the head of
the glacier stood Mount Tasman, only a couple of miles from us,
its base firmly planted in the snow, from base to summit clothed
in a spotless mantle of pure white. On the far side of the range
bounding the Fox, was Mount Cook: as seen from this point, a snow
mountain of one aspiring peak. To the left of Tasman stretched
a succession of snow-clad mountains, continuing until joined by
another range at right-angles. Rising in a mountain at the head of
the latter range, was the Victoria Glacier--a long river of dirty
white ice, flowing down towards the Fox in a deep valley on the
left of Chancellor Ridge.

The main direction of the Southern Alps is parallel with the
coastline, and when we turned our backs upon Mount Tasman we looked
across the Victoria Glacier to a dazzling snow peak beyond, and
down the Fox valley with its forest ranges to boundless miles of
blue sea. On the sea--apparently floating on its surface--were
narrow strips of cloud--grey, white and gold--and on the shore,
some twenty miles distant, we saw lines of white surf on the
irregular beaches between the tree-clad bluffs.

After a well-earned lunch of sardines, sandwiches and pineapple,
we retraced our steps down the slopes of snow to the rocky ridge,
and from there took a different route and climbed down a steep
rock-face. It was not very easy climbing, as the ground, sheltered
from the sun, was still frozen hard; so my guide kept a cautious
hand on the rope, while I found foothold and handhold. Below the
rock-face we came back to snow grass and stony creeks, and so to
last night's camping ground.

At half-past two we left the camp for the climb down. While we were
still on the glacier, the sun set in a sky of deep red, changing
to orange, yellow and pale blue. Ice-steps are hard to see in
the short New Zealand dusk, and by the time we reached the final
moraine it was quite dark, and we congratulated ourselves on
being safely off the ice. No horses were to be found, so we had to
walk for the last three miles through the bush, and at half-past
seven walked quietly into the farmhouse sitting-room, tired but
triumphant.

For a final view of the mountains, nothing can be better than a
ride down the Waiho river-bed to the coast. The Waiho is a short
river of thirteen miles, flowing in a river-bed three-quarters
of a mile wide. It flows always as a roaring torrent, sometimes
a narrow blue stream through the grey stones, but in flood-time
a mighty river of yellow water churning madly between its banks,
and whirling along with it lumps of ice, stones and mighty forest
trees. By the river banks and on rocky islands in its bed are many
low-growing shrubs, most of them some variety of coprosma--"black
scrub" as the settlers call it--which may either creep along the
ground or grow to a height of ten feet; and in the autumn every
bush, large and small, was laden with berries--berries of black,
crimson, scarlet, orange, white, grey or blue. Many of the berries
are translucent, and shine in the sunlight like beads of Venetian
glass, and the trees are blue or red from top to bottom with only
slight suggestions of green leaf and black twig. In New Zealand
the mistletoe berry is yellow, and was particularly abundant this
autumn, growing on any tree, among branches already lavishly gay.
Above the river banks tall currant-trees bear clusters of pink,
white or black berries, while the pines have berries of red or
purple. Often too, hanging from the branches of the trees, and
twining round the ferns and drooping grey-green "gie-gies" which
clothe their trunks, are garlands of scarlet supple-jack.

With the Waiho at its normal level, one can ride close to the
water, and the horses will pick their way carefully among the
boulders and fallen tree-trunks, cantering on any smooth stretch of
grass. While the horse chooses the way, his rider is free to give
full attention to the beauty of river, mountain and forest.

Looking back from the mouth of the river we saw the whole range of
the Alps. In the centre of the picture was the Franz Josef Glacier
with its immense white snowfield behind, and the Almer Glacier
flowing into it on the left: prominent above the snowfield stood
Mount Spencer in raiment of white, like a stately lady proud of
her position: stretching away from Mount Spencer and the Franz
Josef Glacier on either side, as far as eye could see, peak after
peak was outlined in delicate purity against the blue, the summits
varying in height and shape, some broad and rounded, others sharp
and pointed, no peak standing out unduly from the rest--a range of
mountains absolutely right in proportion, one harmonious whole,
and all beautiful together. As seen from here, the Alps have as
foreground forest-clad mountains encircling the Franz Josef Glacier
and rising one behind the other below the snowy peaks; gradually
they give place to quite low hills and to the scrub of the
river-bed on which our horses stood.

As we rode on towards the sea, we passed clear pools left by the
river in the shingle, and in the still water the mountains were
reflected; we saw Mount Cook, Tasman and the rest at our very feet,
while in reality they were at a distance of forty miles and more.

To-day all was calm, but the Waiho in its short course of thirteen
miles can be cruel and terrible, and only lately a man was drowned
as he tried to cross it. Lying in the river-bed are the gaunt
bleached corpses of forest-trees, a few all the way and very many
at the mouth, where they lie thickly along the shore; these trees
had their roots undermined by the Waiho in flood-time, and when
the flood went down the trees fell and died--they were the one sad
sight of an otherwise perfect morning.

After rounding a steep bush-clad bluff, we came out on the shore of
the Tasman Sea, a quiet grey and blue sea, with the tide coming in,
and great white curling breakers dashing against the beach--those
mighty breakers which are ever rolling on the Pacific coasts--we
cantered through the surf on firm grey sand, the spray flying round
us as we rode. Ever in the distance, against the blue, rose the
snowy peaks, whose loveliness compelled us to look again and yet
again, until it was a relief to rest the eyes on the grey sameness
of the sand.

Forty years ago this beach was thronged with miners seeking gold;
now not one lives here, and there is very little gold left, though
we did come across three "beach combers," who were washing sand in
wooden troughs, in the hope of finding a deposit of gold at the
bottom.

[Illustration: SOUTHERN ALPS FROM MOUTH OF WAIHO RIVER.
                                   _To face page 164._]

The bluffs, which here run down to the sea, are ancient glacial
moraines--high-piled heaps of boulders and loose soil, covered now
with wind-swept tea-tree bushes, tall forest trees and crimson rata
vine, and between the headlands, where once the glaciers flowed,
are peaceful lagoons bordered with flax plants and rushes.

At low tide you may skirt the bluffs on the sand between sea and
cliff, but sometimes you must ride over them--up a steep track
through scrub and forest, where a horse accustomed to the beach
will carry you safely; and from his back, you look down through
tall brown trunks on the blue sea far below.

A ride of six miles from the mouth of the Waiho brings you to
Okarito--a tiny township and port--its one street all grass-grown,
and only a few houses and the wharf to mark what was, in the
days of gold, a big and thriving town. In those days it had two
Churches, many banks and hotels, and in the saloons, gay doings
night after night.

Another eight mile ride through the forest brought us to a small
hotel, where I joined the mail coach which took me back to trains
and towns, and very sorrowfully I said goodbye to the mountains and
to my friends in Westland.



CHAPTER XIII

THE WAITOMO CAVES


As in other countries, so in New Zealand, there are limestone
caves, with stalactites and stalagmites, and all their effect
of wonder and mystery. They are found in some of the low hills
which rise in the heart of the Maori-owned "King Country," and as
they are only a few miles from the Main Trunk railway line, which
connects Wellington with Auckland, they can be very conveniently
visited by tourists going north or south.

The distance from Wellington to the caves is three hundred miles.
Even on the main lines the average speed of an express train is
only twenty-five miles an hour, so that a journey of three hundred
miles takes a whole day, and gives the traveller many excellent
opportunities for studying the landscape.

The trains run on a 3 foot 10 inch gauge; except for a few miles
in the South Island, there is but a single line throughout the
Dominion; often the trains accomplish well-nigh impossible feats in
crawling up and down precipitous gorges, and yet so carefully are
they handled that an accident is almost an unheard-of occurrence.
Nearly all the first-class carriages are on the corridor plan, with
a gangway up the middle. There are two seats on one side and only
one on the other, and the seats have movable backs, made to face
either way. The seats are numbered and can be reserved separately.

The second-class cars have straight rows of cushioned seats
set lengthwise along the sides of the train and are not very
comfortable; the fares on them are the same as the English
third-class fares, while the first-class fare is always half as
much again. There is never any difficulty about food on a long
journey. The express trains have restaurant cars and provide
excellent meals, charging only 2s. for early dinner or late tea. If
you happen to be on a train that has no restaurant car, the train
considerately stops at suitable hours for lunch or tea, and you
find everything ready, either at the station refreshment room or in
a hotel close by, and are warned, at the end of your meal, by a
loudly-rung handbell, that the train is ready to go on again.

Neither is there the least difficulty with luggage. The check
system is in vogue. On showing your ticket, each box is labelled
and numbered, duplicates of the numbers are given to the passenger,
and the New Zealand Government assumes full responsibility for
the luggage. On a through ticket from Wellington to Auckland, the
traveller may, after the first thirty miles, break his journey as
often as he pleases, and, if he takes two days or a month on the
road, will find his belongings safely stored in the Auckland Left
Luggage Office.

On leaving Wellington, the railway skirts the west coast, and
runs through rocky country, gracefully covered with native trees,
chiefly manuka and kowhai: I was there in winter, too soon to see
the yellow fringes of kowhai bloom, which in September are

  "Flung for gift on Taupo's face,
  Sign that Spring is come."

The kowhai is one of the prettiest trees, with feathery green
leaves and laburnum-like flowers, and shares with the fuchsia and
the ribbon-wood the distinction of losing its leaves in the winter,
and standing, though only for a short time, with bare branches.
The views are fine on either side. On the west you look out on
the ocean and a succession of irregular bays, whose high cliffs
rise steeply up from the water: some miles away to the east, stand
ranges of snow-capped mountains, remote and beautiful, with white
clouds floating between the peaks.

Between the mountains and the sea is level ground, excellent
for grazing and dairying, and settlements and towns are rapidly
growing. To the north of the plains is a rough country of swamp
alternating with low, rounded hills. This land has been partly
cleared and the beginning of settlements made, grass is sown in
places and cabbage trees are left standing in the paddocks. Beyond,
come stretches of fern and scrub--bracken and tea-tree repeated
indefinitely for many miles--until presently the line runs through
vast forests--thousands of acres of big bush--pines, ratas and the
rest, with all their glorious entanglement of creepers and ferns.

Later, while the train still runs through the forests, passengers
wrap themselves in their rugs and try to sleep. It is not a very
successful attempt, as at each stop you are roused--sometimes by
the entrance of fresh passengers, and always by the guard who comes
round to demand tickets.

At midnight I reached my stopping-place, found a hotel and a bed,
and slept comfortably.

Next morning I was up at 7, and after a good breakfast of fried egg
and bacon--the customary fare in country hotels--went on again by
train for another fifty miles. At 11 o'clock I reached Hangatiki, a
solitary little station, near a hotel and a few small houses. Here
a coach with three horses was waiting, to drive the remaining six
miles to the Waitomo Caves. The scenery was very much the same as
before--small hills and swamp-land, with scrub of fern and manuka,
varied by great patches of tall forest-trees.

The whole of this district, the so-called "King Country," forms
a Maori Kingdom in the centre of the North Island, and is, with
the exception of some few holdings, in Maori hands. This land
was formally assured to Maori chiefs, after one of the wars
between English and Maoris, fifty years ago, and though the Maoris
rejoice in its possession, they yet make little use of it. English
settlers, who would turn it to good account find it difficult to
buy; as, even if one Maori is willing to sell, he cannot sell
without the consent of all the other Maoris, who, in common with
himself, have rights of possession over any particular section.

At Waitomo I found a government hostel, a very imposing two-storied
wooden building, lighted by electricity, and with hot and cold
water laid on in every bedroom.

I was the only tourist, and when I asked the manager if a guide
could show me one of the caves after dinner that evening, he
expressed great regret that a party of visitors, whom he expected
from Rotorua, had not arrived. However, as I was quite certain that
I wished to see the caves, even if unattended, he finally summoned
the guide, and sent one of the maids from the hotel with me as
chaperone.

It is no light matter to visit these caves. Having found guide and
chaperone, the tourist is next expected to hire a suitable outfit,
and to don nailed boots of strong leather, also a tunic and baggy
knickers made of blue and white striped galatea, and is finally
provided with an oil lantern, while the guide carries a lighted
candle and a reel of magnesium wire.

The guide proved to be a boy of good education, who had come out
from Home in search of adventure, he had worked for a time in a
solicitor's office in Wellington, and was doing a little guiding by
way of variety.

It was a pitch-black night and we were glad of our lanterns. The
entrance to the first cave is a quarter of a mile away from the
hotel and is approached by a rough and muddy track. You enter the
cave through a rocky archway among the bush. This cave was first
shown to white men in 1886, though the Maoris knew of it many
years ago and avoided it and all such places as the abodes of evil
spirits.

The Waitomo Cave consists of a vast series of limestone caverns,
with endless stalactites hanging from the roofs, and pure white
columns rising to meet them from the floor. There is very little
bare rock, wherever you look are limestone formations, richly
covering the surface and assuming beautiful or most fantastic
shapes. One great cluster of columns is like the pipes of an
organ; in one cavern you have a poulterer's store, with geese and
turkeys, heads downwards, hanging from the ceiling; in another
is a greengrocer's shop, with great carrots and parsnips of
yellow or creamy limestone; on the floor are many beginnings of
stalagmites, formed by the overhead drippings, and which the iron
in the water has coloured yellow or brown--these are poached eggs
or Stewart Island oysters, according to fancy. In one grotto hangs
a beautiful white shawl--the Waitomo Blanket--it hangs in graceful
folds, and the iron has given it a broad brown border. All these
caves are entirely untouched and unspoilt, they have not been
in any way altered or improved, not even by the introduction of
electric light. As we went slowly through, the guide kept lighting
fresh lengths of magnesium wire, which softly and delightfully
illuminated each fresh marvel. In one place he made a veritable
bonfire of the wire, and displayed a lofty hall, very white and
glittering, ornamented with lovely white pendants of all shapes and
sizes.

An underground river flows through the caves: when you reach the
last cavern, the lights of candle and lantern are extinguished,
and in perfect silence and almost total darkness you enter a small
boat, which the guide pulls gently along on a wire rope fixed to
the wall; then you are told to look up, and there on the roof are
myriads of tiny glow-worms, by whose light huge stalactites are
visible. The cavern continues for some two hundred yards, with a
very uneven roof, all craggy projections of rock and limestone, and
in every nook and corner, like stars in the sky, shine glow-worm
lamps of varying intensity, giving just light enough to show the
outlines of this mysterious place, and in the black water roof and
glow-worms are dimly reflected.

Next morning I again put on Government boots and cave dress, and,
mounted astride on a good horse, went with the guide and a friend
of his--a boy from the Waitomo Store--for a short ride of between
two and three miles to see two more caves. Both of these were
entered by low openings among the trees of a bush-covered hill.

The larger of the two has a succession of long narrow passages,
connecting several lofty halls, and the walls of passages and
grottoes alike are covered with deposits of lime, much of it
looking as though incrustations of brown coral had been thickly
spread over every square inch of surface. Here too are glittering
hanging shapes and many strange formations, some reminding you of
huge cauliflowers, others of birds' heads.

A narrow stream flows through, and, on the "ghost walk"--most
appropriately named--you hear an uncanny noise, caused innocently
enough by a waterfall which rushes down the rocks outside.

The last cave is the smallest, and, except that it has no glow-worm
cavern, the most beautiful of the three Waitomo Caves. Each and all
of the caverns and passages which compose it are equally lovely,
from floor to roof one gorgeous adornment of pure white crystal,
which shines in countless jewelled forms in the glow of the light
from the magnesium wire. One hall was particularly beautiful
with multitudes of hanging stalactites; another was crowded with
slender pillars stretching away into the darkness. In some caverns
are small white figures perched on rocky ledges--one set like
chessmen on a board; from the roofs of the caverns hang several
thin white shawls with hem-stitched edges, while innumerable snowy
pendants taper elegantly downwards to meet white columns rising
from the floor. The whole effect of this wondrous cave is of some
magician's palace of fairyland, built for Oberon and Titania, and
to be gazed at in reverent amazement by mortal eyes.

Apart from the caves, there is little to detain the traveller at
Waitomo. There are few settlements and fewer tracks among the
surrounding swamps and forests. I climbed a low hill which has
been partially cleared. From the top I looked down upon a very
new homestead of wood, its paddocks partly cleared and all fenced
in with barbed wire. All round me on every side stretched ridges
behind ridges of low hills clothed with sombre forests: while forty
miles away, bounding the view to the south, were the snowy peaks of
volcanic mountains, one of them over eight thousand feet high.



CHAPTER XIV

NEW ZEALAND'S WONDERLAND


In the middle of the North Island of New Zealand is a marvellous
district, stretching from White Island, in the Bay of Plenty, to
the active volcano of Ngaruhoe, a hundred and fifty miles to the
south, and varying in breadth from ten to twenty miles. Throughout
the whole of this area no one knows what will happen next. Strange
underground rumblings are heard; earthquake shocks are felt; in
places the whole countryside is puffing out volumes of steam; and
only twenty-seven years ago, a mountain, believed for centuries
to be quite harmless, suddenly burst into violent eruption, and
destroyed three villages with over a hundred Maoris and several
Europeans. It is all very interesting: but as one man who lives
close to a boiling lake explained to me, you can hardly enjoy
living there, because you are always close to forces that no one
really understands.

[Illustration: LAKE ROTORUA.  _To face page 179._]

For the tourist the centre from which to see all the wonders is
Rotorua--a very new town of straight streets at right angles to one
another. The houses are of wood, roofed with corrugated iron: it
is hardly safe to build with any other material in Rotorua, as two
feet below the surface you are always liable to come upon a spring
of hot water.

The town is owned by the Government, which has built and maintains
a hospital and sanatorium and fine bath-houses, surrounded by
extensive and well laid-out grounds. In the grounds are planted
many firs and gums and tall Australian wattles. When I saw them,
the early-flowering wattles were a glory of golden blossom and
delicate green leaves under the bright blue sky of a New Zealand
winter. There are flower-beds with daffodils and other bulbs,
rose-trees, and all the flowers of an English garden; also good
tennis lawns and bowling-greens, and both town and gardens are set
by the shores of a big shining lake. Round the lake are low, rather
bare green hills, and on one side a mountain of two thousand feet.

The first thing about Rotorua that strikes the visitor as strange
is the smell of sulphur, which greets you even before the train
stops at the railway station, and which you never lose while you
remain in the place. When you walk out to see the town, your second
surprise is the steam. It is not actually in the streets; but less
than two miles away, behind a long avenue of gum-trees, you see
masses of steam constantly rising in larger or smaller columns, and
by the lake and away on the opposite side, more puffs of steam. The
steam comes from hot springs and hot rivulets, which you find side
by side with streams of cold water, from pools of boiling mud, and
from fascinating geysers.

A regular cluster of all these marvels is to be seen beyond
the gum-trees, at Whaka, in a few acres of rocky white ground,
overgrown with thickets of stunted "manuka" scrub, with its tiny
evergreen leaves and rough brown stem. There is a large Maori
settlement here, and another close to the cold water of Rotorua
Lake, among more boiling pools and springs.

The Maoris have always loved the hot water, and Maori villages
have existed here long before Europeans thought of making a town
and using Rotorua as a health resort. The Maoris use the hot pools
to bathe in, and the Maori women wash their clothes in the hot
streams, rubbing the things with soap on a convenient stone, and
then boiling them in a still hotter stream close at hand. They
even use the springs for cooking. They fix a wooden box over a
steaming patch of soil; inside the box they place the kettle or the
pot filled with meat and vegetables, cover the whole with coarse
sacking and leave the food to simmer.

As you walk about these strange places, the ground, sprinkled
with sulphur, alum, red or yellow ochre, is hot under your feet.
At Whaka you unexpectedly come upon deep holes where dark grey
mud is always boiling. In one corner is a large pool of oily mud
boiling perpetually in circles, and as it boils, the mud goes
leaping up into the air like a company of frogs. There are many
geysers here, but they are less active than formerly, and the most
wonderful--which, with the help of bars of soap thrown down its
throat, used to play always in honour of any royal personage--has
not played for several years.

How am I to describe a geyser? You walk on hot ground up to a
low mound of white rock with a round hole in the middle of it.
You look into the hole, and see, far below, bubbling water, with
steam rising from it--very innocent apparently. Presently you are
warned to stand back, and up comes the hot water, rushing through
the geyser's throat, straight at first, then sloping outwards, and
rising to any height from two feet to a hundred, in a beautiful
spreading column of sparkling drops, curving over at the top like
an ostrich feather; and round the water and above it steam rises
in clouds. Some geysers play with absolute regularity, every four
minutes or every half hour or at some other fixed time; others are
more capricious, and play only once or twice a day, and at quite
irregular intervals. I waited a whole afternoon hoping that the
best of the Whaka geysers would play, and in the end it did, and up
gushed the hot water to a height of forty feet or so--a magnificent
display of sparkling diamonds. Most of these hot waters contain
sulphur and other minerals, and bathing in them is an excellent
cure for rheumatism, skin complaints and other ailments. In Rotorua
you can even have a delightful bath of liquid mud, which is like
grey cream mixed with oil, and makes one's skin feel as soft as
silk.

The railroad ends at Rotorua. Beyond, you must either drive in
coach or motor, ride on horseback, or go in a steam launch across
the lake.

The country round is singularly desolate and almost uninhabited.
Mile after mile the roads run between low hills covered with
bracken and manuka scrub, with here and there some scanty tussock
grass. Many thousands of pines, larches, gums and birches have been
planted by prisoners who are kept in camps among the hills, and
more trees are being planted all the time and are growing well; so,
in a few years, the countryside will look less dreary.

Among the low undulating hills other solitary hills stand out, of
strange forbidding shape, either flat-topped ridges or cones--most
of them extinct volcanoes, or not quite extinct even now: as from
some of them puffs of steam are always rising, not from the tops
of the hills, but from cracks on the hillsides. In some places
the scattered puffs are concentrated in great blowholes: you hear
a mighty roar inside the hill, and from a narrow throat-hole
a gigantic mass of steam comes pouring out perpetually--the
safety-valve of some internal machine.

At Waimangu, seventeen miles from Rotorua, I was shown the spot
where two girls and a man were all killed by a geyser a few years
ago. The girls had been warned not to go too close, but they were
anxious to take photographs and disregarded the warning. The guide
sprang forward to pull them back, when suddenly up spouted the
geyser to the extraordinary height of fifteen hundred feet, and the
boiling water dashed down upon them all and carried them away and
killed them in an instant. Since that tragedy the geyser has not
played again, but a blowhole close by is beginning to send out jets
of water as well as steam, and may in time develop into a geyser.

Waimangu is only a few miles from Tarawera Mountain, which in
June, 1886, burst into eruption, and covered everything within
a radius of eight miles with a deep deposit of grey mud, and
scattered thin layers of mud and ashes to a much greater distance.
After the eruption, a very heavy rain fell and wore deep channels
in all directions through the mud. In consequence, round Waimangu
and the adjoining lake of Rotomahana you see the strangest, most
desolate scenery of grey gullies, by this time scantily sprinkled
with bracken and "toi-toi" grass, a tall, white-flowering grass
like pampas grass. Waimangu itself is principally a valley of
steam, sulphur, boiling mud, and little mud volcanoes. On the
ground are deposits of sulphur and alum, and you walk cautiously on
patches of hot, dry ground. Among the hot mud and through it all
runs a hot stream, with some variety of green algæ growing in it.
The hot stream flows into Rotomahana Lake, where once the famous
pink and white terraces were to be seen: they were destroyed by
the Tarawera eruption. Still the lake is sufficiently wonderful: a
lake of chalky blue water, actually boiling at one end and cold
at the other, lying in a crater, with the high, oblong-shaped mass
of Tarawera Mountain on one side. A great gap in the side of the
mountain is plainly visible, reminding all who see it of the hidden
forces ever at work.

On the other side of a low ridge, half a mile away, is Tarawera
Lake, several miles across--a lake of quite ordinary, clear, cold
water. The hills surrounding it are partly covered with bush, and
among the living trees still stand the skeletons of trees destroyed
by the eruption.

A few miles from Waimangu is another valley, and in it a succession
of primrose-coloured terraces, which are gradually being formed of
silica left by the overflow of a lake of boiling sulphur, and very
pretty they are. A lake of yellowish green water lies above several
long shallow steps of pale primrose silica; all around are clumps
of manuka and patches of brilliantly green mosses; and looking
across the terraces, you see mile beyond mile of level plain, all
a study in browns, with a dim blue ridge of hill on the distant
horizon.

Each of these wonder-spots has some special characteristic which
distinguishes it from the others. The valley of the primrose
terraces was one of sulphur--fringes of yellow sulphur floating
round the edges of hot green lakes and pools; sulphur surrounding
hot steam-holes; sulphur colouring the rocks and lying thickly upon
the ground. In another place, where, again I saw sulphur, alum
and hot springs, the chief wonder was the boiling mud: horrible,
deep pools of dark grey mud and petroleum, always working away and
heaving themselves up and down like the huge cauldrons of wicked
witches.

Fifty miles south of Rotorua is Weirakei. Here you see a marvellous
valley, which not only has excellent examples of all the strange
sights of this wonderland, but is also exceedingly pretty. It is a
narrow valley, on either side are high cliffs of grey rock streaked
with pink. At the bottom, among dainty ferns and bright green moss
and silvery lichen runs a brawling stream of clear, cold, blue
water. Beside the stream, and up the cliff sides, grow quantities
of manuka, with feathery green sprays; and other shrubs, with tiny
green leaves and small white berries: and on every hand, puffs of
steam rise and float away over the greenery.

This valley is specially noted for geysers, which play in absolute
regularity one after another in beautiful columns of glittering
water-drops, the columns varying in height from ten to forty feet.
One geyser shoots out from a truly awesome opening, in shape like
a dragon's mouth, formed in a mass of old-rose coloured silica,
and torrents of boiling water pour out of the mouth and down a
steep slope of more pink silica, and you stand on hot rock at the
bottom of the slope, watching the water come right up to your
feet. Below the geyser is another wonder--a small pool, deep blue
in colour, and from its depths some gas is continually rising to
the surface, like a flash of dazzling lightning. This is a valley
of many colours; the deposits of silica are of white, pink, or
emerald-green--there are mud-pools of cream or pink, where the
boiling mud rises up and falls over in shapes resembling roses or
lilies: and always the setting is of green, leafy sprays, emerald
mosses and luxuriant ferns.

Near Weirakei is another valley, where the stream which flows
through it is a boiling creek, fed by tiny tributary streams of
boiling water, all of chalky white. Half-way up this valley is
a wide waterfall of boiling water tumbling over salmon-coloured
cliffs; and all about, watered by the hot spray, grow lovely ferns
and feathery manuka. There are three little pools in a cluster, two
quite hot and one cold, their margins only a foot apart. You see
a large lake of hot blue water, and on its surface is a floating
scum like oily soapsuds. There are twin lakelets of brilliant blue.
Deep down in a hollow is a lake of deep rose-colour. Side by side
are lakelets, one of deep blue, the other of emerald green. You are
shown a large mud volcano. Near it is a deep hole of fathomless
black water. At the entrance of the valley is a big lake of hot
blue water, surrounded by high grey cliffs. Here and throughout
the thermal district, it is wise to follow the guide warily among
the scrub and on the hot rock, for outside the track are holes and
swamps; and if you once slip, you may get a scald from which you
will never recover.

Six miles beyond Weirakei is Taupo Lake, a great lake, twenty-five
miles long. On the right of it are dim grey hills; and opposite
them high cliffs of grey, streaked with pink and white. Beyond the
far end of the lake, on a clear day, are to be seen snow-covered
mountains, one of them a still active volcano, with smoke pouring
out from its snowy crater.

To the east of Rotorua, between that town and the Bay of Plenty, is
still volcanic country, but the strange sights grow gradually less
frequent. You see occasional puffs of steam among the bracken, and
are told of hot springs where refreshing baths may be taken, but it
is all a more normal country of lake, forest and swamp-land.

A coach road, principally composed of yellow sand--as stone is
scarce or almost unobtainable--runs from Rotorua to the Bay,
a distance of eighty miles, and a very good road it is in dry
weather. It runs past lakes surrounded by untouched bush, through
the heart of sombre forests, and up and down steep gorges, where
you see magnificent tree-ferns, "nikau" palms and many giant
trees. The North Island forest is different from that in the South
Island, though some of the trees are the same. There are still
rimus and other pines, but the feathery beeches of the south
are less frequent. The trees in the north are on the whole more
massive and gloomy: there are great "tawas" and honeysuckles, with
enormous trunks and dark glossy leaves; also many great ratas and
totaras. The supple-jack erects its slender black stems among the
tall trees, and the bush-lawyer drapes fuchsias and tree-ferns
with festoons of green; but it is all far less luxuriant than the
Westland bush. There are fewer ferns and mosses, often you see
patches of bare brown earth among bare tree-trunks, and, scattered
frequently through this northern forest, are the bleached branches
of dead or dying trees.

Some twenty miles from the sea, the hills, which in this part
of New Zealand run down to the coast in long parallel ridges,
stand back on either side, and the country opens out into a great
plain--eighty thousand acres of swamp-land. This will one day
be some of the most fertile land in the district. It is now
being drained by a steam dredge, which forces its way straight
through the swamp, leaving a wide dyke of dark brown water. At the
beginning of the swamp there is a wide river, to be crossed only
by a flat-bottomed punt, worked on a steel cable. The passengers
sit still and the horses are driven on to the boat, and the current
quickly pushes the boat to the opposite side.

Later, the road runs along the coast, and reaches an inlet from the
ocean of, perhaps, a mile wide. The water has to be crossed in a
little ferry boat, worked by oil and petrol. The horses are quite
used to it and go up the hanging gangway willingly enough; but
sometimes, when the sea is rough, it is not safe to venture, and
passengers must wait for several hours on an inhospitable, sandy
shore.

All this part of the country through which the coach runs, from
Rotorua to Opotiki, on the Bay of Plenty, is some of the most
isolated in New Zealand. Inland are scattered Maori settlements,
and tiny English townships by the coast. During the last few years
the land away back has been, to a great extent, taken up--forests
are being cut down and swamps drained--and in a few years' time,
the east coast will be one of the chief centres for sheep runs and
dairy farms.

On the Bay of Plenty, settlers tell you of cows and sheep, the
price of wool and the prospects of new cheese factories. In spite
of that you are still in "Uncanny Country," for there, forty miles
out to sea, is the cone of White Island, which was once an active
volcano. Its activities are now reduced to a large blowhole and a
lake of ever-boiling sulphur, from both of which by day and night
pour forth volumes of steam, and sometimes the north wind carries
the smell of sulphur to you across the bay.



CHAPTER XV

AUCKLAND


The people of Auckland love to think of their city as "last,
loneliest, loveliest, exquisite, apart," and when they are away
from it, they miss its sunny climate, with the glint of the
sunlight on the water and through the water of its spacious
harbours. It is the largest town in New Zealand, and has a
population of one hundred and ten thousand inhabitants. It is
situated on a neck of land, at its narrowest only eight miles wide,
with the shining sea on both sides; and it is to its position
that Auckland owes its unique and elusive charm. There are two
harbours--one on the east, the other on the west, and at the
eastern harbour wharves are built; here big ships lie at anchor
close to the main streets of the city, and an excellent service
of trams connects the wharves with shops and hotels and distant
suburbs.

When in 1840, New Zealand was declared a British colony, it was
decided to make Auckland the capital, and so it remained until
1864, when the seat of Government was transferred to Wellington, as
being more central for the whole country.

The site of Auckland itself as well as the country round it is
all volcanic, and in every direction are small cone-shaped,
grass-covered hills, each just high enough for a pleasant
afternoon's walk. From any one of their summits you look down on
an innocent crater at your feet; on the hillside sheep browse and
citizens play golf; and beyond, on a clear day, Auckland lies
spread out before you--its streets and harbours, with sea and
islands and distant forest ranges. The eastern harbour has no
definite entrance, so numerous are the inlets and islands which
you see on all sides; but bush-covered Rangitoto Island--a large
extinct volcanic cone--forms a wall of several miles to the inner
harbour; and for the outer harbour you may look across the Hauraki
Gulf to Great Barrier Island, sixty miles away--a fine expanse of
water for yachting and all kinds of boating.

Auckland is truly a garden city. A deep, green gully, rich in
beautiful tree-ferns and other native plants, runs through the
centre, spanned by a wide and elegant bridge of iron and white
stone; in the middle of the town are delightful public gardens with
trees, green grass and gay flower-beds; private houses close to the
shops have gardens in which grow violets and great camellia bushes,
laden in winter with pink or white blossoms; tall white arum lilies
run riot wherever they can find standing room; while close to the
harbour are survivals of the ancient forest--big, gnarled Christmas
trees, in summer a mass of crimson bloom. Just outside the chief
thoroughfare is the Domain--a hundred acres of park-land with grass
and groups of trees--the inalienable property of all the citizens.
The town and suburbs are scattered over several miles. There are
groups of houses beside the Domain; others encircling the green
conical hills; and often the houses are built near some arm of the
harbour, separated from it by trees and grass and a steep cliff,
with always wide open views of sea and tree-clad islands.

[Illustration: MAORI ANCESTRAL FIGURE.  _To face page 197._]

Even more delightful than its natural beauties is the fact that
Auckland has no slums. There are a few narrow streets and mean
houses, but the overcrowding and dirt of the poorer quarters of an
English town do not exist, and the Auckland city authorities have
firmly resolved that they never shall. There is plenty of space, so
the houses need not be built too close together, and very few of
them are of more than two stories; and as there is far more than
enough work for everybody, there need be no poverty.

The Anglican Cathedral is a fine wooden building, the outside
painted red, while inside, the wood panelling from floor to ceiling
is beautifully polished and left absolutely plain. It is just
a hundred years since the Rev. Samuel Marsden and his helpers
preached Christianity to the Maoris, and most of them are now at
least nominal Christians, and they have all given up cannibalism.

Auckland has a very good museum and two picture galleries.

The museum has a magnificent Maori war canoe with exquisitively
carved prow; parts of carved or painted houses; and a complete
specimen of a Maori dwelling-house made of native bulrush, the
long brown leaves packed closely together both for roof and walls,
and fastened securely to a framework of wood. A large number of the
exhibits, including most of the native weapons--clubs of stone,
greenstone or wood, stone axe-heads and wooden spears--were given
by Sir George Grey, who was for many years Governor of New Zealand.

There are many specimens of more peaceful implements: fish-hooks
made of bone or of glittering "pawa" shell; carved canoe balers,
like large wooden slippers; also several fishing-nets. You see
a large wicker birdcage of Maori workmanship, and a number of
calabashes for holding water; these latter are made out of gourds,
and the gourds were originally brought by the Maoris in their
canoes from Hawaika. There is a quantity of kauri gum, and many
ornaments made from it--all a clear yellow amber colour.

In the art galleries are pictures both by English and New Zealand
artists--some of England, Italy or the Mediterranean, others
of New Zealand subjects. One of the most striking represents
the coming of the Maoris in the Arawa Canoe--supposed to have
been in the fourteenth century. The coast of the new country is
shown as a distant, blue headland; on the green sea is the brown
canoe, crammed with swarthy, brown bodies in the last stages of
exhaustion; some of the men able to point out the land, and some
looking eagerly, others too weary to care. How men provided with
only frail wooden canoes ever dared to leave their homes in some
far northern island of the Pacific seems an almost incredible
venture of faith: and that they actually voyaged safely for several
hundred miles, and in the end found "Ao Tea Roa"--the Land of the
Long White Cloud--as they poetically called their new home, is more
astonishing still.

Goldie, a New Zealand artist, has very arresting portraits of
Maoris. One picture is called "Memories," and shows an old Maori
woman brooding over the past glories of her race; the whole face
is instinct with thought and feeling, the brown eyes downcast, the
skin wrinkled, blue tattoo markings are very plain on the chin,
the hair is grey and abundant, and in her ears are long greenstone
earrings. The second picture is of a man--a fine type of warrior
and cannibal, his face tattooed all over in a geometrical pattern,
and the lower lip protruding--a sign that he has lived largely
on human flesh. Yet another portrait is of a young and handsome
girl, with dark hair and eyes, full red lips, and a clear, brown
complexion.

From Auckland, I took a journey of over a hundred miles, in search
of a kauri pine forest. The kauri is the king of the New Zealand
forest trees and takes a thousand years to come to maturity. It
is found only in the northern half of the North Island. Through
the kindness of the Auckland Tourist Bureau and the Kauri Timber
Company, special arrangements were made for me to see some forests,
on the south-east of Auckland, where the trees are now being felled.

I had first a train journey of six hours. The train ran through a
level country of swamps alternating with stretches of bracken and
manuka scrub, with here and there uncut patches of forest, to the
small town of Te Aroha. Here I stayed for the night.

I spent my spare time in climbing half-way up a little, wooded
hill behind the town, and from this point gained a glorious view.
On the one side lay the blue Hauraki Gulf, shimmering under golden
sunset rays; and on the other stretched a great plain, through
which wound a blue river, to lose itself in the far distance; and
beyond the furthest gleam of the river, with the clear blue sky for
background, stood a high, bush-covered mountain, glowing with soft
rose-colour as the sun went down.

Next morning I went on again for another hour and a half, and was
met on the platform of a tiny country station by the local manager
for the Kauri Timber Company. He took me to a curious conveyance
strongly built of wood, drawn by a pony and running on tramway
lines--a most convenient carriage; for when it was necessary to
pass a timber truck, the wheels were taken off the lines, and when
the truck had gone by they were put on again. In this carriage we
drove for nine miles right into the heart of the bush. We went
first through partially cleared country, with a few scattered
homesteads; then past bush from which the kauri has been cut,
and through acres of which forest fires have swept, leaving bare
hillsides and blackened stumps. Here we saw the canvas tents of
gum-diggers, who spend their days in searching for gum left many
years ago by kauris long since dead. The men are usually Austrians
from Croatia, and, I was told, a fine set of people. They probe the
ground with long iron rods, and when the point of the rod sticks to
gum they begin to dig, and often are successful in digging up huge
blocks of clear yellow gum, which they sell at a good price. The
gum is either turned into varnish, or used, like European amber,
for ornaments.

Growing among magnificent bush of beeches, ratas, red pines and
other trees, we saw at last the precious kauri pine--some small
trees no thicker than a man's arm, and others giants of twenty feet
in girth. The full-grown kauri has a clean, straight trunk of sixty
to a hundred feet without a branch; and then a massive head of
stout branches stretching out on all sides for another sixty feet,
and bearing thick tufts of small green leaves, growing very close
together on their stems. The bark is the prettiest colour--pearly
grey mottled with pink. We could hear the sound of axes hammering
some distance away. After a picnic lunch at the manager's hut, the
manager took me over a rough bridge of kauris thrown from side to
side of a swift-flowing stream, and then along the edge of a deep
trough of yellow mud and on through the forest, until we found men
at work among the kauri pines. Some of them were fixing an iron
chain round a great log about twelve feet long and six in diameter;
when the chain was firmly screwed down, it was attached to an iron
rope which ran alongside the mud-trough and across the creek to
the engine-house. A shrill whistle was sounded, the engine set in
motion, and the log, with a mighty heave, began to move. At turning
corners it required great care from the bushmen, and at last it
ploughed its way safely through the mud, and was brought quietly
to rest by the engine house. Kauri timber is excellent for all
purposes of building and furniture, and is now being rapidly cut
down; in another twenty years or so, except for scattered trees in
inaccessible places, very few will be left.

On my way back to Auckland--a different journey by rail and
steamer--a friend had arranged for me to be shown over a gold-mine.
Accordingly, I stopped at Thames, a small town nestling under green
hills beside a broad estuary at the mouth of the Thames River. The
clerk at the booking-office kindly rang up a taxi for me, and I
was then driven through the town to the Watchman Mine. To reach
the mine, I was taken half-way up one of the hills to the entrance
of the mine--a large, roughly-cut hole, with a passage running
straight into the hill.

From outside the entrance the view was a splendid one--I looked
down on the town beneath and the wide river-mouth, which on the
far side is bounded by irregular hills. I could see too for many
miles up the Thames Valley--a wide, open plain, at present almost
uncultivated, but destined one day to be rich in dairy farms and
grain--and towards the head of the valley rose distant blue hills.
So often in New Zealand you see this combination of plain and
river and distant mountains, all fresh and unspoilt in the bright
sunshine and clear atmosphere of a land where smoking factories are
rare and fogs unknown.

The mine itself I found to be a succession of dry, dark passages,
through which we walked, holding lighted candles. The mine is most
scientifically worked. The direction of the gold-bearing reefs is
ascertained by experts, and the quartz, in which the gold lies
buried, is blasted by dynamite. The quartz is next taken in trucks
on a wonderful aerial tramway to a thoroughly up-to-date battery in
the valley below. Here the quartz is crushed and mixed with water,
and the mud is then treated with cyanide of potassium, which, after
separating the gold, deposits it on zinc shavings.

This sort of gold-mining seemed to me a very terrible occupation,
when I heard that the miners often get killed through an unexpected
explosion of dynamite; and even if the dynamite leaves them
unscathed, after working a certain number of years, they get
"miners' complaint," and die, choked with dust.

I sailed from Auckland for Sydney on a sunny July day in New
Zealand's mid-winter, very sorry to leave such a beautiful country,
and the many friends who had done everything in their power to make
my visit a pleasant one.


  Travel Books from
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  LIST


  AMERICA, OLD AND NEW: Professor J. Nelson
  Fraser, M.A., =7/6= net.

  IN FOREIGN LANDS: Professor J. Nelson Fraser,
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  THE AWAKENING OF THE DESERT (Illustrated):
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  CAPITALS OF THE NORTHLANDS (Illustrated):
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  SCRAMBLES IN STORM AND SUNSHINE (Illustrated):
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  THE LANDS OF THE LORDS MARCHERS (Illustrated):
  E. Elliot Stock. =5/-= net.

  A JOURNEY WITH A KNAPSACK (Illustrated):
  Reginald Rogers. =3/6= net.

  LITTLE SKETCHES OF FRENCH CHATEAUX
  (Illustrated): Reginald Rogers. =2/6= net.

  A NORTHERN VOYAGE (Illustrated): Reginald
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  AN ENGLISH GIRL IN TOKYO (Illustrated): Teresa
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  AT THE BURLEIGH PRESS



                        TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE

-Plain print and punctuation errors fixed.





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