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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 9, Issue 2 (May 1, 1934.)



When Mr. George Bernard Shaw, on his return voyage to England, has time to assemble and analyse his impressions of New Zealand, it may well be that he will think of this country as a land of contrasts. Even in the one region in which he spent most of his time, there are most amazing transitions from the one extreme of scenic wonder to the other. What places could be more different than, say, Tikitere and the forest road from Rotoiti to Lake Okataina? There are scores of such contrasts in Geyserland and Lakeland. Mr. Shaw found Tikitere “damnable.” I am tolerably certain that he found the lakes and the bush entrancing. The one kind of landscape is a foil to the other. Everyone, in my view, should go through the valley of sulphurous horrors at Tikitere, if for no other reason than to enjoy the better the cool and fragrant loveliness of the near-by bush.

A contrast of another kind was noted lately by two visiting Englishwomen. They had seen the fiords and glaciers of Norway, and were able to appreciate all the more the New Zealand alpine scenes, which seemed the more friendly of the two. “Friendly” is an excellent descriptive phrase in this relation. The Norwegian mountains and ice were hard, inaccessible. Here, on both sides of the Alps, the ice-scapes are more intimate; you may stroll up the glacier and lay your hand upon them playfully, so to say. Particularly so on the wonderful West Coast, where forest and ice all but brush each other. Rata flowers, and a more than tropic glory of ferns— you can't see that in Norway's iceland.