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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 7, Issue 8 (February 1, 1933)



The wise tramper and camper comes to realise that quite half the charm of a holiday journey consists in the interest that human associations give to a district. Mere scenery is not enough. So he, or she, makes some attempt to discover the history of the place, the origin and significance of the place-names, whatever is known of the past of mountain, river and lake. The geology, too, and the forest life; all work into a fascinating story when they are understood. Many of our “Mystery Train” trampers discovered quite a new world of interest in this way through the publications of the Railway Department. They had no idea that so much of history and legend and poetry attached to familiar scenes. As for new and unfamiliar places, they are vastly enhanced in interest when a little pains are taken to search out the recorded stories of the past as a preliminary to the journey.

Maps, too, are indispensable to a full understanding of this tramping country. Large scale maps of the district intended to be traversed are procurable from any Survey Office, and it will be found a useful plan to set down beforehand, in marginal notes or otherwise, brief memoranda concerning the places on the route. On the tramp, too, much can be added to these notes, from Maori and pakeha residents, of such a district as the King Country for example. The present writer has quite a collection of such route-maps of other days—but it must be said they were in a woefully tattered condition by the time the backblocks expeditions were over, and weather and wear had had their will of them.