The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 62
Next day we start by Cobb's coach, securing, of course, the coveted box seat, skirting the waters of Lake Whakatipu, past the overflow at Kawarau Falls, we pass through lovely scenery along Lake Hayes. Thence, ascending again, we cross the fertile Crown Terrace and Range, whence a wondrous view of Mount Aspiring is obtained, and drop down into the Cardrona Valley, and speedily arrive at Pembroke, on Roy's Bay, Lake Wanaka. This lake is considered the most beautiful of all, and as we note the magic transformation made by the rays of the now setting sun on the tops of the towering mountains which environ the lake we consider ourselves in a veritable fairy land. Resting and contemplating the beauties of the lake, we plan an excursion to the vicinity of the notable Mount Aspiring, 9,960 feet above sea level. We have a ride of twenty-five miles up the valley of the Matukituki River, and now view the snow fields and glaciers of the mountain in their splendour and beauty. The nearer and smaller ranges are covered with the dark beauty of the dense forest, behind them rises the giant peak of the mountain, solitary and lone, inaccessible, and culminating page 46 in a pinnacle of rock so perpendicular that not even snow and ice can rest there. Below this steeple-like apex are numerous glaciers, whitish-blue in colour, but cracked and torn with fissures.
We ascend the western branch of the river, and find nature at work in one of her awful moods. Almost above us the great shoulders of Aspiring, below which are almost precipitate cliffs of some thousands of feet in length, but capped with blue glaciers 30 to 40 feet in thickness, beneath which emerge waterfalls and cascades which dash foaming midst rainbow glints into the dark foliage of the forest below. Here and there the colour of the margin of the bush is broken by the resistless avalanche, which tears up and tosses aside as matchwood the giants of the forest steep. While generally surrounding our vantage ground the boom and din of falling glaciers, crashing rocks, crumbling boulders, and the roar of rushing waters almost bewilders. We return to our hotel at Pembroke awed with the grandeur and majesty of the Mountain King.