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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington N.Z. Vol. 9, No. 1. March 1, 1946

Cook's Tour in Westland

Cook's Tour in Westland

A pictorial brochure which appeared on the notice board late in October describing the scenic glory of South Westland attracted considerable interest, but when the tour left Wellington on January 11, personally conducted by the Tramping Club's Chief Guide, Peter McGill, the number had dwindled to seven. The Company's organisation had arranged for a special car at Hoki-tika station to drive us to our hotel; later in the evening another special car was commandeered for the scenic drive to the hotel at Lake Mahinapoua. The following day we travelled by motor-coach to Paringa and retired at an early hour in preparation for several days' arduous tramping. Feeling very fit after weeks of daily training between the hours of 5 and 6 p.m., we found it comparatively easy to reach Haast in three days (most parties require fully two days to make this trip) and settled down to three days' recuperation. A day's fishing in the Haast River brought in a good catch—a dozen bottles of stout being landed without difficulty.

The ladies in the party in the meanwhile had discovered that the men who inhabit this outpost of Empire are extremely virile, and promptly engaged one of them and his packhorse to make the rest of the journey more easy and enjoyable. The only female inhabitant, however, was, although wealthy, rather unattractive, so the men marched off into the bush, discussing abstract modern philosophy as they went. From Haast onwards the route lies along the proposed motor road which will connect South Westland with Central Otago. From time to time one comes across ferro-concrete bridges and a hundred yards of super-highway; in between these lies miles of bush and numerous river flats. At the heads of the valleys are the magnificent peaks of the Landsborough Valley and the Haast Range and occasional glimpses of the peaks in the Wilkin and Hunter Valleys are seen. The Southern Alps are crossed at a relatively low point, the source of the Makarora River which leads ultimately to the head of Lake Wanaka. The next call is obviously the Wanaka Hotel, where, although the Scottish proprietor was most uncooperative, the kitchen staff welcomed us nobly, the pub-owners being the main losers as a result. The company's organisation came into operation again at this point, and we proceeded at a leisurely pace in a series of motor coaches through the Arrowtown Hotel, The White Star, Eichardt's, and the Mountaineer Hotels (Queenstown), the Hotel Cromwell, the Tarras Arms Hotel, the Omarama Settlers' Public House, Warner's in Christchurch and so back to the Carlton.