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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 14, Issue 6 (September 1939)

The… Jean Batten Peaks

page 34

The… Jean Batten Peaks

In the southern lakes district, three peaks, unnamed hitherto, will in future be known as the Jean Batten Peaks, in honour of New Zealand's great aviatrix, Jean Batten. The naming is an outcome of a visit paid by Miss Batten to Walter Peak Station, Lake Wakatipu. Through the efforts of the owner of this station, Major Peter Mackenzie, the peaks were so named with the approval of the Geographic Board.

As the Government steamer sails up the lake on its way from Queenstown to Glenorchy, the traveller may catch a glimpse of the summit of the highest of these peaks. To see the peaks to the best advantage, however, it is necessary to take a long journey either on foot or on horse-back.

Near the wharf at Elfin Bay is the famous Greenstone Track. Hundreds of visitors each year traverse it on their way to see the beautiful Lake Rere which lies in the cleft of the hill a mile inland. Here placid jade waters play in a setting of tall birch trees, and grey ducks harbour in scores. But you, who would know the Jean Batten peaks, must go farther.

From the outlet to Rere, a small creek runs down to the Greenstone, and a larger one from the Tooth Peaks. The track crosses these and then descends downhill into the gorge of the Greenstone River. Across a white bridge it leads on, turning among trees, now past a tall waterfall, or now through a gushing creek.

Those wild and woolly savages, the cannibals of the New Hebrides won't eat smokers! They say tobacco spoils the flavour! De la Rue, the famous explorer, who ought to know, vouches for this. If it's as true as he declares it is, the moral would appear to be: “If you're going to the New Hebrides don't forget to take your pipe along and to keep a full pouch!” In savage lands or civilized ones tobacco is a boon and a blessing—especially “toasted” which provides the best of company in lonely hours, comfort in sorrow, solace in adversity. You never tire of “toasted,” so pure, sweet and mellow, and so harmless withal! Toasting (the manufacturer's unique process), rids it of its nicotine and makes it safe for even the heavy smoker. Over and over again attempts have been made to imitate this superb tobacco. But it can't be done! The secret is the manufacturer's. Refuse all substitutes. There's no substitute for Cut Plug No. 10 (Bullshead), Navy Cut No. 3 (Bulldog), Cavendish, Riverhead Gold and Desert Gold.*

Then out it comes into a grassy clearing in an enchanting woodland setting. Here, if you haven't had the wind behind you, you may see a herd of deer quietly feeding. You may even be lucky enough to see one of the white stags for which the Greenstone is famed. And up through the bush the track will lead on through the gorge till at last it leads you out into the great open valley of the Greenstone. Four or five miles farther on you will find a small hut (provided with two bunks) where a night's rest may be obtained.

(J. A. Speren, photo.) The Jean Batten Peaks as seen from the Caples, South Island.

(J. A. Speren, photo.)
The Jean Batten Peaks as seen from the Caples, South Island.

Early next morning you must hit the valley trail again, as it leads through moraine boulders. Onwards the track will lead you, as the valley narrows in, through a little gorge, and then out on to the last flat in the valley. Then you will wonder if you are dreaming! For here, where you least expected it, is quiet majesty. High above you, in cliffs and rocky faces, will rise the Jean Batten Peaks above the glory of their magnificent forest covering.

And if you are not too wearied by your journey of discovery, you will find Lake McKellar nestling its dark waters in the bush half a mile beyond. And farther again there is Lake Howden and still farther the famous Hollyford.