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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 64

The New Guide. — The New Guide. — Chapter I. — Guide to Tauranga, Rotorua, Whakarewarewa, Rotomahana, and the Terraces

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The New Guide.

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The New Guide.

Chapter I.

Guide to Tauranga, Rotorua, Whakarewarewa, Rotomahana, and the Terraces.

The round tour of the above places need not occupy more than four clear days, nor cost more than £10, under the following plan of action:—

To begin with, note that the Northern S.S. Company's steamers run between Auckland and Tauranga twice a-week: starting Mondays and Thursdays at 5 p.m., from Auckland; Wednesdays and Fridays, at 1 p.m., from Tauranga.

Leaving Auckland, then, on any Monday afternoon, the tourist finds himself in Tauranga very early on Tuesday morning. Return fare by steamer, £2 10s. Breakfast at any of the first-class hotels at Tauranga, 2s. 6d.; and have sandwiches, or biscuits, put up for that day's lunch on the road for 1s. more. After breakfast, start per coach for Ohinemutu, a journey of forty-six miles; fare, £1 each way. If you travel by Robertson's line, with Robertson or Cookson driving, you have the advantage of good, safe vehicles and an amiable and communicative driver. The journey is a pleasant one; the points of interest numerous. Two miles or so out from Tauranga, you come to the site of the Gate Pa, the scene of the disastrous skirmish of May, 1864. Ten miles further is Oropi, where you enter the forest, and travel through lovely scenery for several hours. Midway through this is the magnificent Mangorewa Gorge. And not far from it are the stables, where a halt is called for lunch and change of horses. At Werenga, twelve miles from page 4 the gorge, the bush terminates, and you pass over open undulating country right on to Ohinemutu; another twelve miles, six of which skirt Rotorua on the western side. About 6 p.m. the coach reaches the township, and here you have choice of three hotels. Individual experience, as well as previous report, impels me to strong recommendation of Lake House, for comfort, convenience, and attention. It is admirably situated, too; commands a splendid view of the lake; possesses a bath-house, with hot mineral and sulphur baths for invalids and others, and is admirably appointed and ably managed.

Wednesday morning may be most profitably occupied in visiting Sulphur Point,—the site of the world's great sanitarium,—the pa on the little peninsula, and the various hot spring phenomena in the immediate neighbourhood. After lunch, start per coach for Wairoa; fare, 10s. each way; distance, about ten miles At about two miles from Ohinemutu, you branch off the main road to visit Whakarewarewa—geysers and hot springs of a marvellous character, that engage the attention for at least an hour. To the guide here a shilling fee must be paid.

Getting back to the main road after Whakarewarewa, the coach makes a winding ascent till it enters the lovely Tikitapu Bush, about six miles out of Ohinemutu. A mile or so through this beautiful bit of forest brings you to Tikitapu Lake, and, right adjoining it, the lake Rotokakihi. Passing these, you find yourself almost immediately at Wairoa. Here are two accommodation houses. The Terrace Hotel, where we stopped, is connected with Lake House, at Ohinemutu, and therefore offers similar advantages and comforts. The interval between arrival here and dinner-time may be spent in seeing the waterfall (fee to guide, 1s.), the temple (admission, 1s.), and in making acquaintance with the natives and guide under whose care you will visit the Terraces on the morrow.

At six on Thursday morning you rise to a good breakfast, and start for Tarawera, where the boat and crew await you. The natives charge £2 for rowing one person across Tarawera to Rotomahana, and, for every additional passenger, 5s. more. It page 5 will be seen, then, that the larger the party, the cheaper will be tie trip to each individual. But say that two are going, the expense, then, of boat and crew will be £2 5s.; fee to the guide, 10s. The guide gets only this fee whether the party numbers one or many.

A walk of about a mile through Waituwhera Gorge brings you from the hotel to Tarawera beach, where you embark. An eight-mile row or sail brings you to the head of Te Ariki, the south-east arm of Tarawera, where you land. Then a walk of a mile, in the wake of your guide, introduces you to the main wonder of the place, Te Tarata, the White Terrace. From this you visit all the proximate marvels; then halt for lunch on the shore of Rotomahana (you will, of course, have brought a liberal lunch with you from Wairoa); then cross the lake in a canoe to Otukapuarangi, the Pink Terrace. The canoe fare across Roto-mahana is 10s., whether there be one passenger or several. For permission to see the Terraces, there is another charge of 2s. 6d. for each tourist. This land belongs to the Wairoa natives, and they have learnt from the pakeha to charge for admission to their show—small blame to them!

After all the sights, you re-embark on Rotomahana, and are paddled down the hot stream Kaiwaka back to Te Ariki. Here you change from the canoe to the boat again, and return across Tarawera to Wairoa. A refreshing cup of tea awaits you at the hotel, and the coach for Ohinemutu is at the door. In two hours more you are dining comfortably at Lake House. Next morning, six o'clock breakfast, coach to Tauranga in time for the afternoon steamer, a night at sea, and lo! you are back in Auckland in time for breakfast on Saturday morning. You have been absent Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday—four clear days; and your outlay has been:—
£ S. D.
For return-ticket by steamer (including meals on board) 2 10 0
Breakfast at Tauranga, and lunch for mid-day 0 3 6
Coach fares between Tauranga and Ohinemutu 2 0 0page 6
Coach fares between Ohinemutu and Wairoa 1 0 0
Guide to Whakarewarewa 0 1 0
Guide to Wairoa Waterfall 0 1 0
Admission to temple 0 1 0
Share of Tarawera boat fare, say 1 2 6
Share in guide fee, say 0 5 0
Admission to Terraces 0 2 6
Share of Rotomahana canoe fare, say 0 5 0
Hotel expenses, all told (meals and beds, 3s. each) 1 13 0
Lunch for return journey to Tauranga 0 1 0
£9 5 6

The odd 14s. 6d. may be well dispensed in judicious tips to natives and waiters; and thus the total expense of a trip at once magnificent and unique, may be covered by a modest ten-pound note. The Maori guides will shew you all that is to be seen, and give you the Maori and English appellation of everything.

To those who like accurate information as to heights and distances, the following table may be useful and interesting:—
Distance from Tauranga to Oropi 12
Distance from Oropi to Mangorewa Gorgt 10
Distance from Mangorewa Gorge to Werenga 12
Distance from Werenga to Rotorua 12
Distance from Rotorua to Tikitapu 6
Distance from Tikatapu to Rotokakahi, less than 1
Distance from Rotokakahi to Tarawera 3
Distance from Tarawera to Rotomahana 9
Height of Oropi above the sea level 964
Height of Mangorewa the sea level 1,455
Height of Werenga the sea level 1,228
Height of Rotorua the sea level 790
(Lake House stands 100 feet above the Lake). page 7
Height of Tikitapu above the sea level 1,198
Height of Rotokakalii above the sea level 1,127
Height of Tarawera above the sea level 816
Height of Rotomahana above the sea level 834
Height of Terraces above the sea level 940
Height of Green Lake above the sea level 905

'Twould, I fancy, be only travellers with very limited time who would quit Rotorua without seeing Tikitere, the wonderful patch of hot property lying north-east of the Lake. It is easy of access by either horse or buggy; and hire is not extravagant here. The road is a pretty one, skirting Rotorua right round for about nine miles, then branching to the right and over the hills for another two miles or so. On the way you pass Rotokawa (Bitter Lake), a small sheet of acidulous water about four miles from Ohinemutu; and Te Ngae, the old missionary settlement, four or five miles further on.

After Tikitere, if you are on horseback, it is more than worthwhile to turn aside to see Rotokawau—a little gem of a lake, reached through half-a-mile or so of the loveliest bush I ever saw. All this district may be easily explored in a short day, and it is something to be remembered for many a long day afterwards.

This day's delay, however, necessitates staying at Ohinemutu until the following Tuesday or Wednesday morning. But the time need not hang heavily on your hands. There is Mokoia—the island in Rotorua—that may be easily attained by boat at trifling expense; especially when there is a large party to share expenses. Whoever has heard, or read, of Hinemoa—and who has not?—will desire to see Mokoia, and the bath wherein that daring damsel dipped. This makes one delightful half-day's excursion. A visit to Te Koutu—Mr. Graham's private residence, on the border of the lake, about a mile from the hotel—will help to pass another pleasant day. "He who would climb" can, on another day, do Ngongotaha—the stately, tree-clad mountain, 2,282 feet high, which forms a striking landmark on the south-west of Rotorua. From the top of page 8 this eminence the view is immense; extending as far as the Bay of Plenty and Whakari—or White Island—which is distinguishable by the perpetual cloud of vapour rising from its crater. And your intervals may be passed in dolce far nienle on Lake House balconies, whence you can watch the Maori youth of both sexes bathing in the lake, and their elders superintending cooking operations in the hot springs.

By taking your time over the trip in this way, you avoid the overfatigue and "rushed-through" feeling that you are apt to experience when it is crowded into four days.

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Big Gepser Wairakei

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