Trails Through the New Zealand Countryside
Napier to Tauranga and the Thames on Foot.
|Narrative of a journey during April to May 1884 from Napier via Taupo, Rotorua, Tauranga and Thames to Auckland, with visits to the Pink and White Terraces at Tarawera and other attractions.
The author is 'A.J.' and the article was originally published in the Hawkes Bay Herald between November 21st and December 3rd 1884.
Having followed a sedentary occupation for many years, and finding my health in consequence suffering therefrom, I decided, about the middle of last April, on making an excursion through the Taupo and Lakes district, thinking that roughing it a bit amongst the grand and varied scenery, and in the healthy atmosphere of that part of the country, would be the very best thing to set me up. Providing myself with a rug, waterproof sheet, an umbrella, extra pair of boots, and some change of clothes, and a few other necessaries of travel, besides a small supply of provisions in the shape of biscuits, tea, sugar, tinned milk, &c., for use at such times as I could not find accommodation on the road, I left Napier for Petane on the afternoon of the 17th April, intending to make an early start from Villers' the next morning. The umbrella did not look very swagsmanlike, as someone remarked to me; but though I had not, owing to the fine weather I was provided with, much use for it in a legitimate way, still it served as a walking stick, and I found it useful when camping at night, as by spreading it over my head it partly kept off the dew and frost.
In the morning, after an early breakfast, when just preparing for my journey about half-past 7 o'clock, one of the Taupo waggons chanced to come along, and I arranged with the driver for a lift as far as Pohui, that being his destination. This was an unexpected piece of good luck, as it saved me the unpleasantness of having to wade through the many crossings of the Petane river. We were soon over the hill and passing the homesteads scattered along the Petane Valley for about three miles; then crossing the Mangakopikapiko creek, a short distance further on, we commenced the ascent of the river bed. This portion of the journey is very monotonous, as shut in by the high banks of the river on either side no extensive view can be had, and as there was a heavy load of horse feed on the waggon we travelled slowly. Altogether there are more than forty crossings of the stream. (I got tired of counting them, so took the driver's word for it.) Owing to the long continuance of dry weather the river was very low, at the deepest crossings only reaching to the middle of the wheels; but after heavy rains it must be a perfect torrent, and fording it exceedingly difficult and dangerous. The sky, which had looked a little threatening early in the morning, now cleared up bright, and the weather appeared to have settled fine. Coming to a pleasant greasy flat, the horses were given a feed and a rest of an hour and a half, and we partook of some lunch, and then crossing the river for the last time, commenced the ascent of Raiwaka hill - about half a mile of a very steep cutting in loose sandy ground - about the worst portion of the road between Napier and Taupo. From the top of the Raiwaka the travelling becomes easier, and we reached Pohui soon after 4p.m.; then, wishing the driver of the waggon good day, I shouldered my swag and commenced my tramp, intending to reach the Mohaka (9 miles) about dusk and remain there for the night. But by the time I had passed the Titiokura saddle I felt the want of some refreshment; so, lighting a fire, the billey was soon boiling, and some tea and biscuits having been disposed of, I made another start, getting to the Mohaka bridge about 8 o'clock. The lights shone brightly from the windows of the accommodation house, and looked very inviting, but as I felt still fresh I passed on, intending to cover a few miles before resting for the night. From the Mohaka to Te Haroto, about seven miles, is mostly uphill, and getting there a little before 10 o'clock and not caring to disturb the natives at such a late hour, I made myself as comfortable as I could in my blanket amongst the fern just below the old blockhouse, it being too dark to choose a suitable camping-place. Found the night very cold, preventing me getting much sleep, and on waking early next morning found a thick fog, and exceedingly heavy dew, my blanket being nearly saturated; so shaking myself together a bit and repacking my swag, I was on the road again before 8 o'clock, and passing the native village a brisk walk soon made me feel warm again. This portion of the road, winding as it does through bush, and heading some tremendous ravines, would be very charming on a fine bright day; but the heavy fog that hung about quite spoiled the scene. Coming out of the bush at Turangakuma, at an elevation of about 2000 feet, the fog suddenly cleared off and a strikingly romantic view burst upon the sight. A deep valley lies in front, surrounded by majestic hills of every conceivable form, partly clothed in bush, the road winding down the steep face of the hill to the Waipunga Valley below, which is flanked by high broken terraces, with patches of bush and fern interspersed. A waggon is seen below just commencing the toilsome ascent; the whole scene is one of wild grandeur, and not soon to be forgotten. Before descending the hill I boiled the billy and breakfasted, and then proceeded on to Tarawera, ten miles from my last night's resting place, which place I reached soon after noon. There are some pretty stiff hills to be negotiated on the way, and the day being very warm I found carrying a load rather tiring work; but the scenery all along is remarkably fine, and I rested many times in order to enjoy the views. Undoubtedly, the scenery for a few miles on either side of Tarawera is the finest met with between Napier and Taupo; all, however, is almost in a state of nature, and extremely wild - if there were a few little hamlets dispersed through the valley, or a homestead or mansion here and there on the hillsides, it would add much to the charm of the scene, but that is a very remote possibility, for the country is not of a nature to support a population. After dinner, and a rest at the Tarawera Hotel, resumed my journey, and a mile or so farther on, coming close to a turn in the Waipunga river, availed myself of the opportunity to have a bath, but the water was far too cold to remain long in it. About two miles beyond Tarawera the Waipunga river is crossed, and the road becomes exceedingly winding, with many sharp turns at the headings of the various gullies that lead down to the Waipunga, and being a succession of ups and downs, but on the whole rising considerably. About dusk, having walked nineteen miles during the day, 1 looked out for a camping place, and finding some slabs stacked alongside the road, managed to erect a sort of shelter with them among the scrub, under which I could spread my blanket, and after refreshing myself again with tea and biscuits, turned in for the night. A party of natives from a pah a short distance away soon came along, and stopped to ask me if I had seen a certain ghost or spirit which they appeared to be greatly alarmed about, and which they said they had seen about that spot on previous nights, flitting about and then vanishing in a mysterious manner. As I could not enlighten them on the subject they soon left; but I afterwards learned from one of the Constabulary stationed near at hand that what had so alarmed them was nothing more than some practical joking by himself and his mate, who had been amusing themselves at the expense of the superstitious nature of the natives. Passed another cold night, finding in the morning there had been a slight frost.
Sunday, the 20th. - Turned out at half-past 7 o'clock, and as it was still too cold and damp to bother about breakfast, proceeded onwards, the road still on the ascent for about three miles. The bush is left behind, and the country assumes a very wild and gloomy appearance. On the left, about 300ft below, the Waipunga river runs in a narrow ravine, and on the opposite side fern-clad hills shut in the view. Descending rapidly for about a mile the Waipunga is again crossed by a small bridge; and while the billy was boiling for breakfast I performed my morning's wash in the river. I quite enjoyed my meals prepared in this rough manner, and partaken of in the open air. Intending to reach Opepe by the evening, and as there was still twenty-six miles to be got over, I did not tarry long; so packing up my traps started again, passing Runanga, and was soon plodding along across the Taupo plains. A few miles further on the solitary mountain of Tauhara, situate between Opepe and Taupo, looms above the horizon, and about midday I reached the Rangitikei river, and took an hour's rest, boiling up some portable soup for lunch. Crossing these plains, even on such a fine day as I was favored with, is very monotonous, there being so little to attract the attention, and the heavy, sandy nature of the ground makes walking exceedingly tiring; but by steadily moving on I reached the Opepe Hotel just as darkness was coming on, and was agreeably surprised to find in this out-of-the-way place a capital dinner prepared and nicely cooked, to which I was able to do full justice.
Monday, 2lst. - After breakfast, and a look at what is to be seen at Opepe, which is about confined to the old stockade (now used as quarters for the few constabulary stationed there), and a few whares about the edge of the bush, besides the hotel, I started for Taupo (eleven miles), getting there by 1 o'clock, just in time for dinner. Opepe is about the highest point on the plains between Runanga and Taupo, and is very bleak and cold, being 300ft or so above Taupo. I noticed during my journey through this elevated region, as far or beyond Ohinemutu, a wonderful difference in the temperature of the days and nights; the days being very warm, but the nights exceedingly cold and frosty, although this was but the last month of summer; and what is remarkable is the suddenness of the change which takes place a little before sunset, when the atmosphere, which was previously quite warm, at once becomes cold and searching. Before reaching Taupo a very pleasant gentlemanly member of the Constabulary (Mr. Salmon), overtook me, and on striking the lake he pointed out a place where we could indulge in a warm bath, and I came near scalding myself, for the hot water appeared to issue in jets from below, the heat varying considerably within the space of a few yards, in some places being too hot to bear. Never having visited Taupo until this occasion the view of the lake struck me as being particularly fine, its calm, clear, blue waters extending more than twenty miles, almost enclosed by high hills, which, descending in many places abruptly to the water's edge, are reflected on its surface. In the background, miles beyond the farther shore of the lake, Tongariro and Ruapehu tower high above everything, and impart the finishing touch to the picture. No doubt under other aspects and in rough stormy weather the sight may not be so pleasing, but I saw it under very favorable conditions. Arrived at the township Mr Salmon kindly showed me over the Constabulary barracks and their reading-room and theatre (which is a very creditable little building for the purpose), pointed out the principal buildings in the place -which certainly are not many, though on the whole the township has a pleasing appearance - and afterwards piloted me down to Lofley's sanitorium. To those who are not acquainted with Lofley's, I may say that it is a perfect little retreat, situate in a narrow glen which leads into the Waikato, rather more than a mile below the township - just such a place as a hermit would rejoice in (though Lofley is anything but a hermit in his mode of life). The place he has selected was originally a swampy piece of land, but by draining and planting trees he has made the place perfectly dry. Besides his own cottage, in which meals are served to visitors, and where they can pass the evening if so inclined, he has a large reading and sitting-room and several small whares scattered round among the trees, which are used as bedrooms, so that persons staying there can have as much privacy as they choose. The natural hot and cold bath combined, affording room for a short swim, is splendidly arranged, though to some extent - especially as regards the dressing room - capable of improvement. The feeling experienced on bathing there is simply delightful, having an effect both soothing and invigorating. Taking a bath immediately on my arrival, I found it so enjoyable that another was indulged in before going to bed.
Tuesday, 22nd. - Arranged with Mr Spencer, photographer, who was taking views in the Taupo district, to walk over to Rotokawa, a lake situated in a northeast direction, about eight or nine miles. The track lies between Tauhara and the Waikato, and appears to be little used. The lake, which is rather more than a mile in length, lies in a considerable depression in the plains, is bounded on the north side by low, broken hills, and with the clouds of steam rising from the numerous boiling pools at the foot of the hills forms rather a pleasing picture. Approaching from the south a capital photographic view was obtained by Mr Spencer, and we descended to the lake, skirting round its western shore until we arrived at the upper end, where several views were taken of the principal boiling sulphur pools and mud holes. Here splendid specimens of almost pure sulphur can be picked up, but in fossicking about great caution is necessary, as the ground in many places, though to all appearances firm and solid, is nothing but a thin crust with boiling mud beneath; and twice, though feeling my way carefully, one foot went through over the ankle, coming out plastered with hot slimy mud, looking very much like dirty red paint, and smelling horribly. At the north-east side of the lake a small stream leads into the Waikato river, and at the southern end good fresh water is found in a little creek running into the lake. Here we disposed of our lunch, returning to Lofley's by 4 pm.
Wednesday, 23rd. - Found there had been a sharp frost during the night, and morning very misty; but by 10 o'clock it had cleared up bright and sunny. Started to visit the Crow's Nest geyser, but was not fortunate enough to see it in a state of eruption. I understood that it was active at that time at intervals of about two hours, so after waiting half-an-hour in expectation of seeing the display, and inspecting the Witches' Cauldron and other boiling holes in the vicinity, proceeded to Taupo, then, after dinner and another look at the lake, crossed the Waikato bridge, and followed the track on the west side of the river down to the Huka falls. These falls have been often described in a much better manner than I am able to do, so I shall merely say that I was by no means disappointed in the sight - in fact it rather exceeded my expectations than otherwise. The river rushing with tremendous force in one mass of foam through the narrow channel between the two perpendicular walls of rock, making the ground tremble, and then plunging, roaring, into the deep pool below, forms altogether a grand sight. I was fortunate in seeing it while the sun was still shining on it, and the rainbow tints reflected in the spray added greatly to the general effect. Mr Lofley had told me there was a way, by scrambling down the bank amongst the scrub, of getting underneath the fall, so that the water passed clear over anyone standing there; but it looked too dangerous for me to make the attempt. About two miles or so from the falls is Wairakei station, which was to be my stopping place for the night, so, following the track, which led over a few low hills and across grassy flats, a very pretty walk brought me to my destination in good time to have a nice bath (baths are here being arranged on a similar plan to those at Lofley's - hot and cold adjoining) before tea. Wairakei is an extensive property belonging to Mr B. Graham, and embraces within its area the principal of the wonderful Wairakei geysers, which are situate about a mile from the homestead. A fine hot stream (the Kiriohinekai) flows through the estate, passing close to the station and joining the Waikato less than a mile below, affording every facility for the erection of baths. A large building for the accommodation of visitors has been erected, and as the distance from Taupo is only about seven miles, with the many attractions of the place it cannot fail to become a favorite resort of Taupo tourist. An excellent road has been surveyed from Taupo, passing by the Huka falls to Wairakei, and joining the present coach road about twelve miles from Taupo. This will be a shorter and better line than the old road, and I was told the formation of it is to be undertaken soon. I was rather amused here with a recent importation from the Old Country, who was employed as general farm hand by the manager of the station (Mr Cullen), and who could do nothing but grumble and find fault with things - after the fashion of the new chum - although treated by the manager and his wife on a footing of equality, eating at the same table, &c., and doubtless being in a better position than he had ever been in before.
April 24th. - Turning out for a bath in the hot stream before breakfast I found there had been another sharp frost, so that undressing in the open air was scarcely pleasant. The arrangements for bathing were not then complete, but a dressing-room was about to be erected. By the time breakfast was over the frost had vanished, the air began to feel warm and pleasant, and soon after 9 o'clock I was on my way to the geysers. Crossing the flat on which the farm is situated, and then over a long spur of the hills, in less than half-an-hour I was in view of these great boiling springs. To describe the whole, or even half, of what is to be seen here would take up too much space, so a general description must suffice. The geysers are situated in a wild and wooded glen, through which the Wairakei stream flows, and are scattered along its precipitous banks on either side for the space of a quarter of a mile or more, the principal ones being on the south side, but by far the greatest number on the north, besides hundreds of small steam jets issuing in every direction from fissures in the rock or from amongst the scrub. From the largest of these boiling springs immense clouds of vapour are constantly rising, and at short intervals columns of boiling water are thrown up, while all around is steam, splashing and bubbling of water, and muffled explosions. The scene is wild and weird, and I must confess to a sort of feeling of awe in finding myself alone in the midst of these strange sights and sounds. Narrow foot tracks are found leading to the various points of interest, and I had been cautioned not to risk wandering away from them, as the ground is in many place very unsafe, and by following this advice I managed to steer clear of accident. At a point where the stream widens out into a large pool, what is known as the Steam Hammer, is heard at work - at intervals of a few minutes the ground in the vicinity being shaken by a dull heavy sounding explosion occurring somewhere in the depths below, causing a slight commotion on the surface of the water; it is a mysterious kind of sound, and it is almost impossible to guess from what direction it proceeds. What struck me as the grandest of these geysers is the one called Tuhuatahi, situate near the Steam Hammer - a large pool about 40ft; across, and apparently of immense depth, backed and partly surrounded by high rocks, down which the condensed vapour is constantly trickling, and on which beautiful mosses thrive. The water is very clear and of an intense blue color, and boiling violently; and at frequent intervals, after boiling more furiously for about a minute, a column of water is thrown up falling back in a shower of sparkling crystals; while round the sides of the basin for a great depth below the surface of the water masses of beautiful incrustations and deposits resembling coral can be seen. The water, as it boils over the edge of the huge basin, runs away over a series of encrusted terraces into the creek below. After viewing the great Wairakei geyser and other sights on the south side of the creek, I crossed to the north side by a small foot-bridge of manuka, and had some difficulty in finding anything like a track to follow. Of the many objects of interest along this bank, that known as 'The Funnel' appeared to me one of the most striking and remarkable, It consists of a large opening in the rocks, of a triangular shape, having the appearance of having been violently rent open by the great pressure of steam within. It is not easy to get a sight down the narrow opening, as steam is constantly pouring out with a rushing sound, and frequently a fountain of boiling water is sent flying up. The pure fresh air of Wairakei, which is more than 1000 feet above the sea, combined with the exercise of clambering about the steep banks of the creek for about three hours, had given me an appetite, so the sandwiches I had provided myself with on leaving the station were very acceptable, and with some cold water from the creek above, where the boiling springs mingled with it, and some watercress growing there, made a very good lunch. I could well have spent the rest of the day about this interesting place, but as there was at least eighteen miles to walk to Orakeikorako, which I intended should be my halting place for the night, I had to push on, picking up the surveyors' cut line for the new road without much trouble, and following it for about seven miles through manuka and fern, and up an open grass valley between low terraced hills, gradually ascending all the way, It brought me out on to the coach road. This is a capitally laid out line, there being no steep gradients in it. Proceeding along the main road for about a mile, passing a very high summit, which I believe is called Puketarata, from which a fine view is obtained of the surrounding forest-clad hills, and the Kiangaroa plains on the right stretching away towards the Bay of Plenty, I began to look for the track leading to Orakeikorako, which I had been informed followed pretty closely the line of telegraph wires, but there being several small tracks thereabouts leading pretty much in the same direction, it was not easy to decide which to take, so that much time was lost before finally picking up the right one, besides fatiguing myself walking up and down the hill, through the fern, in the loose pumice soil. It was now getting dusk and as there was no chance of reaching my intended destination that evening, had to make up my mind to pass another night in the open air, so pushing along at a smart pace for about an hour - the track chiefly descending on the side of a narrow valley - chose a camping place among some high fern. A short time previously I was very near coming to grief, for suddenly the light pumice ground gave way under one of my feet, the weight of the swag causing me to lose my balance, and I came down a regular 'cropper,' but fortunately sustained no hurt. After making up a good fire and getting tea I arranged my sleeping place as comfortably as possible, and rolled myself in the blanket, but found it difficult to sleep on account of the cold. About thirteen miles was the distance made since leaving Wairakei in the morning.
April 25th. - Turned out at 7 o'clock; too cold to bother preparing about breakfast, everything being covered with a heavy white frost; so hastily packing my things I was soon thoroughly warmed with the exercise of walking, though legs and feet were drenched with the frost dripping off the fern and grass. A walk of about seven miles over fern hills and grass flats, crossing several small creeks on the way, brought me to Orakeikorako, on the south bank of the Waikato river, about half-past nine o'clock, but to my disappointment I found the settlement deserted, not a single native being about, and most of the whares being locked up, the only living things in the village being the ugliest old sow imaginable, who, with a. few young pigs, seemed inclined to dispute the road with me. My intention had been to have got the Maoris to put me across the river in a canoe, and thus proceed by the old track along the telegraph line to Kaitereria, and so on to the Wairoa and Rotomahana, having been advised by Lofley (who is an anthority) to take this route in preference to the coach road to Ohinemutu, as being far more interesting as regards scenery and objects of interest, as well as shorter. I also wished to view the Alum Cave on the opposite bank of the river near Orakeikorako, so felt considerably disappointed at not being able to cross the Waikato, which is here both wide and rapid. By this time I began to feel rather hungry, but the only thing in the way of food I could find was a few potatoes in one of the Maori gardens, which I put in a kit in one of the steam cooking holes, and while waiting for them refreshed myself with a wash in the creek close by. The potatoes, with the help of some portable soup and some biscuits I had with me, made a passable breakfast, while discussing which the sandflies and fleas, which appeared to be particularly lively in the settlement (attracted I suppose by the warmth of the springs), were attacking me in a most vigorous and determined manner, so I was glad to get on my way again. Noticing a pretty well beaten track following down the river bank, I determined to take it, conjecturing that it must; lead to Ateamuri, on the main coach road, and such proved to be the case. It was now past midday, and not wishing to camp out again, I proceeded briskly forward, the track soon entering a wild rocky gorge of the Waikato, and a short; distance further on the finest piece of scenery I had yet met with came into view. Several small wooded islands partly obstruct the course of the river, which rushes foaming on either side amongst high rocks, in a series of rapids, for nearly half a mile, the high towering hills confining the river are broken and rugged, the lower portion being mostly clothed with bush; and the varied hues of the foliage, the charming variety of outline, and the clear sparkling river giving life to the scene, together form a really grand and beautiful picture. Viewed from either end of the gorge the scene is very fine, but I prefer that from the upper end. After passing the gorge the river opens out wider and flows quietly between rather low banks with some swampy ground on the left, the track leaving the river and ascending a steep hill. The hard climb over this with a swag (the day being very warm) was no joke, and when I found the track descending on the other side and bearing away to the south, I did not feel very pleased, as I knew that I must have missed the proper track; but as there was a small native settlement a quarter of a mile further on at the edge of a bush, I proceeded there to make enquiries, and a good natured native rejoicing in the name of Sampson very kindly went back with me some distance and put me on the right track, also making for me a rough sketch of the line, showing how many creeks had to be crossed before striking the main road. His little boy, who had been skipping along in front,and whose dress counsisted of a very dirty white shirt, I rewarded with a shilling, which seemed to please him immensely. Descending again to the river flat, and then over hills, terraces, and ravines - the surrounding scenery being exceedingly wild and picturesque - and finally up a rather steep and narrow rocky gorge, I came on to the main road just as the shades of evening were closing in, and two miles further on reached the accommodation at Oteamuri at 6 o'clock, thoroughly tired, having had a pretty rough walk of about twenty-two miles. The house is merely a large raupo whare, without flooring, and the furniture and fittings very scanty and of the roughest description, and on entering the view presented was not over prepossessing. The evening meal apparently was just over, and a rather dirty looking Maori woman with a pipe in her mouth, was busy washing up the dishes on the table, while three small Maori boys were feeding - I need scarcely say without the aid of knives and forks - on the remains of the repast. It was not a pretty picture by any means, but when you are hungry and tired with travelling it does not do to be too fastidious, and I must say that when in a short time a very decent tea was prepared for me, and I sat down near a good fire, I felt pretty comfortable, and after a good night's rest was quite ready for the next day's journey.
26th. - A cold morning, and everything obscured by a thick fog. About 10 o'clock I left Ateamuri, the fog having partially cleared off, though it was still too misty to make out very much of the scenery in the vicinity; but it appeared to be very wild looking, the Waikato river at this place rushing through a very narrow gorge. I noticed one very remarkably shaped hill about a mile away on the south side of the river, resembling a huge hat. Crossing the Waikato bridge and winding round a large hill on the right, you are soon on the open plains, extending for about twenty miles towards Rotorua, the road to Auckland via Cambridge here branching off to the left. There is very little to interest or attract attention along this portion of the road. Two or three small streams are passed, and some rather peculiar looking hills serve to break the monotony of the plains, while here and there some huge rocks are seen jutting out of the ground - one in particular I observed on an elevation near the road, which had the appearance of an immense arm-chair. Feeling rather tired I travelled but slowly, and took a long rest for dinner, and towards evening, coming to an unoccupied Government hut, took up my quarters there for the night, having only made about fifteen miles in the day. The night was bitterly cold, and notwithstanding the shelter afforded by the hut I found my single blanket an insufficient protection.
April 27th. - Heavy white frost again and fog, but by the time I had breakfasted as well as I could on my biscuits and tea, the sun was dispersing the mists, and I made a start for Ohinemutu soon after 9 o'clock. It had been my intention to reach Ohinemutu the previous evening, so as to have had a day's rest on the Sunday; but I found the distance from Oteamuri (a good 30 miles) too much for one day. Rather more than a mile away on the left the Horohoro mountain is passed, presenting a bold precipitous face of some three miles in length, with an almost uniform level summit, which I should judge to be about 1500ft above the plains, the lower portion of the mountain, which is not so precipitous, being covered with bush, and on the undulating land immediately below there are one or two small native settlements and cultivations. This mountain is a very remarkable feature in the landscape, and is seen for many miles rising like an immense wall of rock. The country over which the road passes now becomes more undulating, rising considerably towards the Hemo Gorge, at the foot of which I rested for lunch; then, proceeding through the gorge, soon obtained a view of Lake Rotorua, about four miles distant, with the newly erected Government buildings immediately in front. Descending the gorge, the approach to Ohinemutu is by no means attractive - about two miles of a poor pumice flat, covered with stunted fern, having to be traversed before it is reached. Arriving about four o'clock, I had time for a refreshing dip in one of the natural hot baths on the shore of the lake, and after a good tea enjoyed a comfortable night's rest again.
28th. - Ohinemutu is a very primitive looking place, and appears to consist chiefly of stores and hotels confined to one small, narrow street, or rather portion of the main road. There are several general stores, three hotels, a butcher; with a few small private residences. Judging from the number of stores and the class of goods sold I should imagine a large trade with the Maoris is carried on. Between the road and the shore of the lake is the native village, which contains a large population, who mostly seem to be enjoying a life of happy idleness. The new Government township of Rotorua (less than a mile from the old village) is progressing rather slowly. A very handsome post and telegraph office has been erected, the hospital and bath-house are approaching completion, and comfortable residences have been built for the doctor and bath-house keeper, while the courthouse and several small buildings have been removed from their old site at Ohinemutu and re-erected. Streets are in course of formation, fencing going on, &c., but the place hardly presents the appearance of a township at present, there being not a single store or hotel in it. The hospital consists of three separate buildings, the centre one containing a large dining hall, kitchen, &c., and offices on the ground floor, with a few small rooms above, and a bell-tower erected over the entrance porch. The two detached cottages (forming wings to the main building) each contain a large sitting-room and several bedrooms for the patients. The whole has been very tastefully designed and substantially built, but, I think, will soon prove too small for all requirements, as the number of invalids visiting the place is on the increase. In the garden, notwithstanding the poor-looking pumice soil, vegetables of all kinds are growing to perfection, plenty of manure appears to be used; and there are 'also thousands of young trees and shrubs for planting out
on the Government reserves, all looking healthy and vigorous. The bathhouse, or pavilion, is a large building containing several open baths formed of concrete, large enough for swimming, which are protected from the sun or rain when required by awnings. There are dressing-rooms adjoining, and a number of separate small private baths for those who prefer them. The bather can choose a bath according to his fancy or the particular requirements of his case - the one recommended to me as being particularly pleasant was that known as Madame Rachel's, which I found to be of a nice gentle heat, and the water remarkably soft and smooth, containing, I should think, a quantity of soda, and it is without any sulphurous smell. I went to look at the spring which is the source of the supply for this bath, and whence the water is conveyed in earthenware pipes, bedded in concrete, a distance of about 150 yards. The spring is rather a horrible looking hole, about 20 feet in diameter, with a rocky margin, the water of a dark blue color, and very clear; and by approaching the edge carefully you can look down an immense depth, and see jutting out from the sides some peculiar encrusted formations. The surface of the water in constantly simmering and steaming, and in some places the margin appears to be only a thin crust overhanging the water, and you get away from the fearful-looking place with a feeling of relief lest you should be suddenly precipitated into its terrible boiling depths. Mr and Mrs Hall, who have the charge and management of the baths, seem to be admirably fitted for their position, and enthusiastic in the success of the undertaking, which to a great extent is experimental at present.
29th. - At 10 a.m. started to walk to Te Wairoa (twelve miles), en route for the celebrated terraces of Rotomahana. Getting clear of the dreary fern flats, the road gradually ascended the range to the south of the lake, passing over a saddle several hundred feet above Ohinemutu, and here a very pleasing view of Rotorua is to be had - the island of Mokoia on the right, with Ohinemutu to the left, while the gently sloping hills to the west of the lake form the background. The lake was very calm, and a sailing boat was slowly making its way across to Mokoia, and the road winding down the bill amongst patches of scrub in front, filled in the foreground and completed the picture. Gazing at the scene I had almost forgotten where I was, when, a buggy coming down the hill with a party of Maoris who saluted me good-naturedly with 'tenakoe,' I was recalled to myself, and resumed my walk. After passing the saddle on the top of the ascent, through a narrow gorge on the right a distant view of Horohoro mountain is obtained, and descending the hill, then passing over some extent of level ground and up a gentle rise, I entered the Tikitapu bush, and for about a mile passed through the most charming forest scenery imaginable. On either side of the road is a rich growth of ferns of great variety, and the tall trees in many places meet overhead and form a delightful shady avenue, while here and there through the various openings the sun breaks in, giving brightness and life to the whole; and as I passed along the place seemed to he literally alive with this, which filled the air with their melodious notes. The road next runs along the western shores of the Blue and Green Lakes, the Blue Lake, or Tikitapu, being a very beautiful sheet of water about a mile and a-half long and nearly a mile wide, with white sandy beaches at each end, and entirely surrounded by hills, which on two sides are covered with bush. The color of the water is an intense blue, and it appears to be very deep. Tikitapu, as its name implies, is tapu, and I was informed at Wairoa that no canoes are allowed upon it, and that no wild fowl are ever seen there; but that may be caused by the absence of suitable shelter and feeding ground round its margin. Passing on, you next come to Rotokakahi, or the Green Lake, which at this point is only separated from the Blue Lake by a low saddle in the hills of about 200 yards across, but it lies considerably lower, 80ft being the difference in their levels I was told. Rotokakahi does not possess the beauty of Tikitapu, the hills surrounding it having a very barren, stony appearance, but still it is a fine lake of three or four miles in length, and about Three-quarters of a mile wide; and as you pass along the road skirting one end of it the view, looking clown its entire length, the high, bold hills rising up on either side, with the island of Motutawa at the far end, is very effective. At the point where you leave the lake a small stream flows out of it and flows into Lake Tarawera, a mile and a half below, passing through the settlement of Wairoa, and forming a little lower down a pretty waterfall. About a mile brought me to the Wairoa, which I reached at 1 o'clock, and was immediately 'spotted' by some natives anxious to know if I required a guide to the terraces. Wairoa is a rather straggling native village, and contains, besides two hotels, the old mission station, where a Captain Way now resides. There is also one of those monuments of the folly of Government and the indolence of the Maori (a native flourmill) which has long since gone to wreck and ruin. These mills were provided by the Government in years gone by at enormous cost in many native districts for the benefit of the Maoris, but I believe in nearly every case the result has been the same - they have been scarcely used and are now falling to decay. I found excellent accommodation at M'Rae's hotel, and spent the afternoon in inspecting the village, carved house, &c., and strolling down to Lake Tarawera at the starting place from the terraces, and in gathering ferns which can be found here in great variety. I was surprised to see the number of boats employed by the natives in conveying visitors to Rotomahana, there being no fewer than five large whaleboats. The place of embarkation is a very convenient one, being at the head of a long narrow inlet of the lake, at the point where the Wairoa stream enters it. I did not; ascertain the level of the lake, but judging from the great fall in the ground, I should put it down at about l5ft below the Green Lake.
April 30th. - As the party I had intended joining for the trip by boat to the terraces had not yet arrived from Ohinemutu, I decided not to wait another day, so engaging a Maori youth as guide, and a horse - for which service I was charged thirty shillings - by 10 o'clock we were cantering over the hills towards Rotomahana. The track is a very rugged one, and apparently not often used, as it is hardly discernable in places, winding along steep sidings, up and down sharp inclines, through fern and manuka, with an occasional stretch of grassy flats. Nevertheless our wiry little Maori horses did the ten miles to the terraces in an hour and a-half with ease. I shall not attempt a full description of the terraces, as they have already often been described in a better way than I could do it, and any description must fail to convey a proper idea of the extreme beauty and delicacy of their formation and of the grandeur and massiveness of their whole appearance. Neither do photographs, however well taken, give the mind a just impression of their actual appearance. But for the benefit of those who have never seen them I will give a brief description. Commencing then with the white terrace. It is semi-circular in form, and consists of a series of irregular steps or terraces, increasing in height as you ascend, the lower ones being only a few inches high, but very broad, increasing to one, two, and three feet towards the top, while one or two are as much as five feet in height. The height of the whole cannot, I think, be lees than forty feet. The formation very much resembles coral in appearance, and crushes under the foot as you step lightly over it. Arrived at the top, a deep pool of boiling water about twenty feet across, and of a beautiful blue color, is seen. This is constantly flowing over the edge of the basin, and thence in a series of small cascades and trickling streams from terrace to terrace until it reaches the bottom (by which time it is cold), where it finds its way into a small stream running into the lake. Some of the terraces are flat, while others are, as it were, excavated, forming splendid natural hot baths, and you can choose any temperature you desire by ascending or descending. The height of the white terrace, from the base to the pool at top, cannot be less than forty or fifty feet. At the back of the pool a rocky wall rises, crowned with a little scrub, the sides of the terrace being fringed with scrub, ferns, and mosses, the darker hues of which serve to bring it out in strong relief. My guide next took me round by the back of the terrace to view some remarkably active geysers, which at frequent intervals ejected columns of boiling water with great force; also, several other interesting objects in the immediate vicinity (boiling mud springs, mud cones, a small pool or lake containing water of a most brilliant green color, &c.). But what specially took my notice was an immense quantity of steam constantly rushing out from between two rocks with a noise such as a large powerful engine makes in blowing off steam. We next proceeded to the pink terrace, which is not above half a mile distant, leaving the horses to feed on the margin of a swampy creek, and finishing the distance on foot. The pink terrace, though resembling the white in general form and structure, differs from it considerably; being much higher (sixty or seventy feet), of a pale salmon color, and looking and feeling to the touch more like smooth sandstone than coral; I think also the average height of the various steps or terraces is greater. Like the white terrace, it has a small boiling lake at top, but of a paler and more beautiful blue color, which is constantly overflowing, and runs down into Lake Rotomahana, immediately at the foot of the terrace. After a delightful bath in one of the large hot water basins, which my Maori friend pronounced to be 'kapai,' and a short rest for lunch, we returned to where the horses had been left, having spent three hours in viewing the terraces. I was sorry to see the appearance of the pink terrace was being greatly spoiled by numbers of visitors scribbling their names about it. This is British snobbism completely, which tends to make English tourists on the Continent objects of ridicule. Wherever they go, Brown carves his name in some place or other frequented by tourists, to show those who come after him that he has been there; then Tompkins comes along and thinks he must do the same, he is followed by Jones and a host of others who think they have just as good a right to perpetuate their names as Brown has, as if the world in general cared a straw whether either Brown, Tompkins, or Jones had ever visited the spot. Thus beautiful natural objects are spoiled by people who cannot appreciate them. Another thing I noticed, which I certainly wonder at the natives permitting, and that is the heaps of bottles and empty tins left by visitors who have been picnicking about the margin of the terraces. Remounting, we started on the return to Wairoa, getting there at a quarter to four o'clock, and doing the ten miles of a very rough track in one hour and a quarter, which shows what some of the small Maori horses will do without any pushing. At four p.m. I started on my return walk to Ohinemutu, where I arrived at a quarter to seven o'clock, having had a very pleasant two days' trip. A sharp frost again at night.
May 1st. Repacking my swag, by 10 o'clock I was on the road to Tauranga, which is forty-two miles from Ohinemutu, and as I passed the school at the end of the village the children were singing to the tune of the 'Carnival de Venice,' and 'British Grenadier's March,' accompanied by a flutina, keeping pretty good time, but not producing much melody. A short distance further on the road ascends some rising ground, and hereabout the best view of Ohinemutu is obtained - the Pukeroa hill forming a good background to the buildings seen peeping from among the trees, the native village on the left, partially bidden by the steam rising from the various boiling springs, with the lake and hills around it, while in the distance is seen the top of Tarawera mountain. The road runs for about eight miles near the western shore of Lake Rotorua, passing a few small native settlements and a school; then leaving the lake and ascending gradually for about two miles, enters the Oropi bush, through which it passes a distance of eighteen miles. In about six miles the highest point on the road is reached, at 800ft above the lake, and it then winds round the Mangorewa Gorge (l75Oft above the sea) amongst some grand scenery. The sides of the gorge are steep and precipitous; at the bottom the pleasing sound of rushing water is heard, and looking down through the dense foliage the Mangorewa river can be seen flowing over a solid rocky bed. The opposite side is an almost perpendicular wall of rock, towering high above, and mostly clothed with bush, the trees growing and clinging to the steep face in an extraordinary manner. The way in which the road has been taken and cut through this gorge shows considerable engineering skill. About four miles further on just as 'the shades of night were falling fast' - I hove in sight of the halfway house between Ohinemutu and Tauranga, having walked twenty-one miles since morning. I cannot say much for the accommodation provided here, the only liquor to be had being whisky, which I did not care to try, while I had to be content with a shake-down on the floor of the common living room, which had neither carpet or matting of any kind on it, the said shake-down consisting of a couple of bags of chaff and some blankets. However I got a very good tea and ditto breakfast, with fresh eggs, hot scones, &c. I believe an execution had recently been put in the house and a pretty clean sweep made of the furniture, which accounted for the want of bedroom accommodation.
May 2nd. - Made a start shortly before 9 o'clock - a mild morning, with slight rain falling, and I began to think I was in for an unpleasant day's travel. The road is a succession of ups and downs, but on the whole descending considerably for nine miles, until Aropi is reached, and you are again in open country. Aropi consists of only about half-a-dozen houses, it is 1100 feet above the sea, and from it a good view is obtained of Tauranga harbor, twelve miles away, and the Bay of Plenty. The weather had now cleared up quite fine, though from the clouds and mist still hanging about the wooded ranges, it was evidently raining there. The road from Aropi is a gradual descent all the way to Tauranga; for the first few miles over fern hills; then on the left farms are seen scattered about, increasing in number as the town is approached. The character of the country is a sort of elevated plateau, sloping towards the harbor, with broad ravines and streams intersecting it; the soil of poor quality, suitable for grazing only. On the right the country is more hilly and broken, and very little occupied. Nearing the town the soil is of better quality, the land undulating and well occupied by dairy farms, &c. The road from Ohinemutu to within a short distance of Tauranga is very sandy, except in some parts of the bush, and walking therefore rather fatiguing. I took my midday rest for lunch by the Waimapu stream, but the sandflies were so ferocious that I was glad to move on again, and, jogging leisurely along, entered the pretty little town of Tauranga about half - past four o'clock. There appears to be a considerable trade carried on between Tauranga and Ohinemutu and surrounding district, as during my two days' travel I met about a dozen teams (horse and bullock waggons and drays), all loaded up with stores for that place. The following day (Saturday) I spent chiefly in strolling about Tauranga and suburbs, and on Sunday visited the old cemetery to see the graves of the officers and men who were killed at the Gate Pah and Rangiriri fights with the
- natives about twenty years ago. Having some business which detained me for a few days, I had abundant time to thoroughly explore Tauranga and the vicinity, and did not get away until the 14th. Tauranga is a very quiet little place, its population being only about 1800. It occupies a kind of triangular shaped peninsula between the main portion of the harbor and one of its bays; the main road into the town, which is two chains wide outside the town boundary and a chain and a half within, is laid out along the highest ground (about fifty or sixty feet above sea level), and from this cross streets slope gently down to the harbor. There is only one street which presents anything like a business appearance - this is called the Strand, and runs along the shore of the harbor, one side being closely occupied by shops, &c., the other side open to the wharves. Several of the streets are very wide, and planted with trees on both sides at the edge of the walks, forming delightful shady avenues, and as (with the exception of a narrow strip in the centre) they are mostly covered with grass, they have quite a country look. The only road metal used is sea-shells, which are got by the ship-load just at the heads, and appear to answer well where the traffic is not heavy, the streets being remarkably clean and free from mud in wet weather. The town is considerably scattered, and there are numbers of pretty villa residences and cottages, with nice gardens, apparently occupied by persons in good circumstances; but it was a puzzle to see how they were all existing, as there seemed to be nothing at all doing in the place - no building or works of any kind going on with the exception of the buildings for the Sulphuric Acid Company. This company is formed for the purpose of extracting sulphuric acid and other chemicals from the immense deposits of nearly pure sulphur found at White Island. The building, retorts, evaporating chambers, &c., were all being erected under the personal direction and supervision of the company's manager, Mr Jensen, who is a thoroughly practical chemist, and has been employed in similar works in Australia; and they were expected to be completed and ready to commence operations in about four months. A contract had been entered into for the supply to the company of so many tons of sulphur per month. The works are close to the harbor, and a small jetty, on which a tram is laid, has been run out, so that vessels can unload into trucks, which run at once into the works, thus giving every facility for carrying on the work at a small expense. The prosperity or otherwise of Tauranga depends, I believe, in a great measure upon the stream of visitors passing through on their way to the lakes district, and the townspeople are now looking forward to the construction of the Tauranga and Rotorua railway as a means of increasing the number of tourists, and giving an impetus to business. Fish is very plentiful and in great variety In Tauranga. The soil in the vicinity, though not very rich, seems well suited for the growth of maize, fruit, and vegetables, and root crops. Cattle thrive, and are the chief stock raised; but sheep, for some reason not yet explained, do not succeed well - they contract a sort of lung disease and die off rapidly, as many as fifty or seventy-five per cent of the lambs in some cases being carried off by it, so that there is very little increase. Some attribute the want of lime in the soil as the cause, but at present there is no satisfactory solution of the mystery.
14th. - Left Tauranga shortly after ten o'clock for Te Aroha on the Upper Thames Goldfield, intending to make Clarke's hotel, near Katikati (twenty-six miles), by the evening. At about four miles out the Wairoa river, which is here a fine broad stream about six chains wide, is crossed by a substantial pile bridge. There - are a few Maori whares here, and another of these dilapidated old native flour-mills. From this point the country traversed by the road becomes very poor and sandy, covered chiefly with miserable stunted fern, scarcely any cultivation being seen until nearing Katikati, and but few houses; the travelling is very dreary and monotonous, there being so little variety of scenery. On the left is the lofty Thames range, from which numberless spurs descend to the harbor on the right, necessitating continual windings and ups and downs on the road, and in order to avoid some of the many deep indentations of the harbor two or three considerable detours have to be made, bringing the road close, to the foot of the range. There seems to be very little traffic on this road, though a coach runs twice a week between Tauranga and Katikati, and there is not a hotel or any place where refreshments can be had until you reach Clarke's, but fortunately I had provided myself with some lunch before starting in the morning, and found plenty of good water in the various streams. Just as darkness came on the lights from Clarke's Hotel appeared about a mile away, and I arrived there a little before 6 o'clock, and was soon enjoying some pigeon stew and tea.
May 15th. - By no means a promising looking morning for crossing the range to Te Aroha, as the wind was coming in from the sea, with occasional showers, the upper part of the range being obscured by mist, and things generally damp and unpleasant. But as from the appearance of the weather it would have been unwise to delay in hopes of the next day being fine, I decided to proceed, and at 9 o'clock left Clarke's. The track, which is merely a bridle one, at once commences to ascend a large spur of the main range, from which on a fine day the view would be exceedingly pretty. On either side are creeks winding down, with patches of bush and scrub growing in their beds, or scattered along the banks, and a few comfortable looking homesteads dotted about; the land is of an exceedingly broken character, especially on the left, and only suitable for cattle. Numerous land-slips have occurred, showing the rotten nature of the soil, which looks like a red and yellow sandy loam. In about three miles the track enters the bush, winding along the sides of a deep gorge for another six miles, until the saddle is reached at 1850 feet above the sea, the ascent being so gradual that it is not in the least fatiguing. The descent on the other side is somewhat steep, and follows down the right-hand side of an immense gorge, and a short distance down a splendid view is got of the Upper Thames Valley and part of Mr Firth's Matamata estate, with one of his homesteads, surrounded by numerous cottages, plainly visible in the 'distance. Looking down over a perfect sea of bush stretching away to the foot of the range, a large extent of country is spread out in front like a panorama. At about five miles from the summit, the level land is reached, and you soon after strike the main road, and three or four miles further on pass the mining township of Waiorongamai, just off to the right, immediately at the base of the range; and two miles further is Te Aroha, which I reached at 4 o'clock - exactly four weeks since leaving Napier. Slight showers had fallen at intervals during the day, but not sufficient to cause me any discomfort, and I congratulated myself on having thus got to the end of my walking tour with so little rain. Te Aroha, like most comparatively new townships in mining districts, has a very rough unfinished appearance. The main street is partially formed and metalled, but the rest are unformed. There are two or three good large hotels, a good number of shops and stores, telegraph office and court-house, besides a few other substantial buildings, and a good many respectable private residences; but there are numbers of many small shanties stuck about without any regard to order or regularity. The town is built just on the foot of the spurs of the range, which here comes pretty close to the Thames river, and forms a convenient depot for the supply of stores to the mines two or three miles away, the river being navigable for small steamers to this point. The river is crossed here by a ferry, from whence the road runs to Morrinsville and on to Cambridge, but a large bridge is being erected, which will be a great convenience to inhabitants and to travellers. The small steamers run between Te Aroha and Shortland on alternate days, the distance being about sixty miles, while by the road it is not much above half that distance, the river being extremely tortuous. The next boat being notified to leave at 5 o'clock the following morning, I turned in early, to be up in time to catch it, not caring to spend any more time in Te Aroha.
16th. - Woke at half-past 4. A most miserable wet windy morning - just time to dress and wash -then, leaving the hotel, made my way down to the steamer, ten minutes floundering and splashing in the dark, through the mud and puddles, bringing me to the wharf. Much to my astonishment and disgust, I found the cabin of the steamer packed with about twenty miners, who had apparently passed the night on board, and were playing cards, drinking, and smoking. These men had just been paid off at some of the mines, and were going down to Grahamstown. Finding the atmosphere of the cabin too strong, I was glad to go on deck again and try to make myself as comfortable as possible, though it was cold and still raining. As we were just on the point of starting, and the last whistle sounded, a distant 'cooey' was heard, and the captain (a good natured man) delayed a few minutes, occasionally sounding the whistle to hurry on the belated passenger, but as no answering shouts were heard, he concluded that whoever it was had fallen down in the mud and given up the attempt in despair, when just at the last moment a stout gentleman with a big portmanteau, and accompanied by his wife - both breathless with their exertions - appeared, and were hauled aboard. About half-an-hour after starting, just about daybreak, in rounding one of the sharp turns in the river, the steamer got on a mud bank and refused to budge, a line having to be got ashore by which to haul her off, when away we went again, gliding round the many sharp bends with wonderfu1 quickness and precision. Owing to the high banks of the river it is impossib1e to obtain any extensive view of the country, but what could be seen was not of a very interesting nature. The land on each side seemed to be principally swampy, with patches of bush (chiefly white pine) here and there. We passed several peach groves (some very large trees), but all looking very sickly, the trees being covered with moss; also one or two small native settlements, and a few solitary houses of settlers. The day being dull, cold, and showery, everything appeared to disadvantage; but probably on a fine sunny day a more favorable impression may be left on the mind, and a trip down the river may be very enjoyable. At the junction with the Ohinemuri a stay of a minute was made to take in a passenger and some cabbages. Te Paeroa is the name of the place, and it is a very pretty spot. The land is undulating; some grass paddocks extend down to the river, and with the clumps of bush about and one or two large old-fashioned houses seen among the trees, the view presented is very pleasing. Calls were made at two or three other places for passengers - at one place some half-dozen men who had been working cutting drains being taken on board, and they were soon engaged with the miners, card playing and drinking down in the cabin. These men, with one or two exceptions, were the roughest and most ill-mannered set I have ever travelled with; they completely monopolised the cabin, and although there were two or three ladies on board who would have been glad of its shelter, they rendered it so disgusting that it was impossible for the ladies to remain there. Two or three of them were stretched at full length on the seats, in a more than half-drunken condition, every other sitting place being occupied by their mates, and the cabin full of smoke. The steward wore a happy smile, as well he might, for he seemed continually opening bottles, but I think restrictions should be put on these small steamers supplying men with drink ad libitum, to the discomfort of other passengers: The lower part of the river becomes very broad, soon increasing to a third and then to half a mile in width, until, as Grahamstown is approached, it opens out several miles across into the Firth of Thames, but the water is very shallow, and there appears to be only a narrow channel by which the Shortland pier can be reached. The appearance of Shortland and Grahamstown from the river is not at all prepossessing, the hills immediately at the back of the town having been cut and chopped about in every direction for several hundred feet in height, by the prospectors, until they now present nothing but bare clay and rocks, except in patches towards the summit, all their natural beauty being destroyed. By 1 o'clock we were landed, and the stout gentleman I mentioned, who knew the place, piloted me to a good hotel, and after dinner I sallied out to see the place. Shortland and Grahamstown, which in reality form one town, is a long straggling place, spreading over about three miles in length. It contains some good buildings, - a large public school, handsome banks, good hotels, and substantial warehouses; and the retail stores are exceedingly numerous. It must have been a fine business place when the claims were turning out rich yields, but its glory seems to have departed, and everything appears very dull. Several of the crushing batteries are idle, and some only working half time. I walked up the once famous Tararu Creek; all is silent there now, batteries apparently abandoned and going to ruin. The town appears to be rather a dirty, muddy place, and I should think very damp and unwholesome in wet weather, owing to the amount of drainage from the range immediately at the back, and the extensive mud flats along the foreshore.
The following morning (the 17th) I left by steamer for Auckland at 10 o'clock, and we were not long before we were pitching about in the face of a strong gale, nearly all on board being sea-sick myself included, of course - and we did not reach Auckland until 1 o'clock, although the distance is only about 50 miles. Auckland is so generally known that I shall say but very little about it. further than that I consider it by far the finest city in New Zealand, taking everything into consideration. There is room for improvement in the laying out of some portions of it; but there is plenty of room for the city to extend, which is not the case with several of the New Zealand sea-port towns. The suburbs are very pretty and homelike, especially in the vicinity of Mount Eden; and walking from there to Onehunga a stranger may almost fancy himself in some rural district in the old country, the scenery being beautiful, and more like what is met with in England than anything I have yet seen in the colony, the land being generally undulating, and mostly under cultivation, or in grass paddocks, while along the roadside villas and cottages are numerous, with two or three small hamlets. I found plenty to see and occupy my time during the four or five days I remained in Auckland, but unfortunately the weather was very unsettled and wet, which prevented me getting about so much as I should have wished. But I had already extended my trip longer than intended, so at noon on the 22nd left per Rotomahana for Napier, with my usual luck at sea, getting a very rough passage - head winds and heavy sea all the way - reaching Napier by daylight on the 24th May, thus finishing a very pleasant five weeks' holiday.
I have extended these notes to a far greater length than I at first intended, and I do not suppose that I have described anything new or that has not already been made familiar by others better qualified than myself. I have simply jotted down what appeared to me interesting in the course of my rambles; and as there are still numbers of persons who have never visited the places I have attempted to pourtray, or perhaps even heard much about them, possibly they may derive some little pleasure from the perusal of these notes. In conclusion, I would advise anyone who requires change of air and scene for their health's sake, to 'throw physic to the dogs,' and take a trip through the Taupo and Lakes district. The pure air of this elevated country will soon give them renewed health, and they will also witness sights and scenes that are to be met with in no other part of New Zealand, and in but few other places in the world. Those who are not well accustomed to walking should provide themselves with a hardy little horse - one that will pick up his feed along the road on the native herbage, if need be - and always make a point of getting to some place where shelter can be had for the night, as it is decidedly unpleasant to have to pass the nights in the open air tilled in a blanket, unless the weather is very warm.