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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Otago & Southland Provincial Districts]



Glenorchy lies at the head of Lake Wakatipu, thirty-three miles from Queenstown, fifty-two miles from Kingstom, 229 north-west of Dunedin, and 134 miles from Inver-cargill. It has communication three times a week with Queenstown, by means of the Government steamers, and continuously by means of a road; distance, thirty-eight miles. Glenorchy is a convenient starting-point for excursions to many places of interest. The sheelite mines on Mount Judah, only four miles away, are reached by horse and buggy. Diamond Lake and Paradise Flat are fourteen miles distant by way of the Rees Gorge and river, and can be reached by vehicles. Then there are the magnificent Mount Earnslaw
Kinloch Jetty, Head Of Lake Wakatipu.

Kinloch Jetty, Head Of Lake Wakatipu.

page 1029 slaw glaciers, a journey by buggy across Rees river to Diamond Lake, and on to a ridge 2,800 feet high. Following the summit of the spur by a sheep track for three miles, a great mass of rock is met, and then there is a descent to Earnslaw creek, where the glacier ice is piled to a height of 200 feet. This trip can be undertaken by ladies, and the view is very grand. To reach the summit of Mount Earnslaw, the journey is continued up the Rees Valley, past the Lennox Fallls (1,000 feet), and Hunter's Gorge, with a splendid view of Mount An-stead, and Mount Earnslaw on the left. The party will camp for the night at a hut in Drummond Gorge. Curtis Peak will be reached next morning, about 8,665 feet high or 500 feet below the summit. The view includes Mount Aspiring (9,940 feet), Mount Edwards (8,439 feet), Mount Tyndall (8,116 feet), Mount Anstead (8,147 feet), Kosmos Peaks (8,000 feet), Mount Christina (7,222 feet), and Mounts Arima and Oram. Roto-kea lake, lying between two high peaks of the Kosmos, is visible from Gibson's Knoll. The whole journey, going and returning, occupies nearly three days. Then excursions to Mount Edwards, via Rees Valley are also full of charm and excitement, as the scenery embraces snow-clad peaks, glaciers, and mountain lakes. Tourists, too, may visit Mount Anstead Glacier, Lennox Falls, the Invincible quartz mines, Mount Larkins (7,632 feet), the Sylvan Lake, Lake Harris, with the Ocean Peak and Falls, Lakes Manapouri and Te Anau, Lake Luna, Kinlock, Mount Alfred, Stone Peak (7,222 feet), Martin's Bay, and finally Mount Bonpland, with Hathaway Peak and glaciers. In fact, time can never hang heavily at Glenorchy with the healthy and active visitor. Alpine climbing can be varied by sport, as rabbits and wild duck abound in the neighbourhood, and the streams teem with trout. Visitors, too, can obtain excellent accommodation at Glenorchy. The settlement is in the Greenstone riding of the Lake county, and in the Wakatipu electorate. The population of the entire riding at the census of 1901, was 221, of which Glenorchy had eighteen, and Kinloch, four miles to the nort-east, forty-four. The public school at Glenorchy is attended by an average of twenty children.

The Post And Telegraph Office at Glenorchy is subordinate to the Chief Postmaster, Invercargill, whence mails are despatched to Glenorchy on Wednesday and Saturday at 10.45 a.m., arriving at 2 p.m. on Monday and 2.30 p.m. on Thursday; and are despatched from the post town for Invercargill at 3.30 p.m. on Monday and 3 p.m. on Thursday. Mr Harry Birley is postmaster.

Mr. Harry Birley (Alpine explorer).

Mr. Harry Birley
(Alpine explorer).

Mount Earnslaw Hotel , Glenorchy, Lake Wakatipu. This well-known and extensively patronised hotel is situated at the head of Lake Wakatipu. Tourists visiting Queenstown cannot fully realise the beauty and grandeur of the lake scenery without visiting Glenorchy. The view from the balcony of the hotel includes such mountain giants as Mounts Earnslaw and Bonpland, Kosmos Peak and Forbes Peaks, whose snow-clad slopes and summits rise against the clear sky in silent grandeur, and fill the beholder with awe, reverence, and delight. Special arrangements can be made for rowing parties on the lake, or excursions to Paradise Valley, and the rivers Rees and Dart, as well as to Lake Harris and the West Coast Sounds.

Mr. Joseph Karley Birley , Proprietor of Mount Earnslaw Hotel, Glenorchy, is a native of Yorkshire, England, where he was born in 1828. He has visited many American and Colonial goldfields and his recitals of Californian, Australian, and New Zealand mining experiences are highly entertaining. Mr. Birley left England for California in 1849, went to Victoria in 1852, came to Otago in 1863 and engaged in mining at the head of Lake Wakatipu, which is now known as Glenorchy. He was very successful at the Buckler Burn river, where he had one of the best claims in the district. Mr. Birley alleges he was the first to introduce hydraulic sluicing in Otago. He was married in 1866 to Sarah Ann, daughter of Mr. John Plummer, of Norfolk, and has three children, one of whom is Mr. Harry Birley, the well-known alpine climber, guide, and explorer, who was the first to make the ascent of Mount Earnslaw, a feat which was doubted for some years until confirmed by Mr. Malcolm Ross and others, who found actual traces of Mr. Birley's performance.

Mount Earnslaw Hotel, Glenorchy.

Mount Earnslaw Hotel, Glenorchy.