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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 64

Prefatory Remarks

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Prefatory Remarks.

Much has been already said and written about the Wonderland of New Zealand. Fifty or sixty volumes of travel and description have I waded through, skipped through, laughed through, cried through (cried because the authors hadn't died before they learned to write); been bored by, interested by, edified by, and deceived by; and now, I say unto everyone: Never mind the books, trust not oral information, but go and see the wonders for yourself.

It is said that Dr. Johnson used to say that the best and pleasantest way to travel is to sit at your own fireside and read how other people have done it. If the dictionary hero ever did say that, the only excuses one can offer for him are, that he lived in an age that, in this advanced one, may be politely described as unus equus; that it took almost a lifetime then to do a journey that can now be easily performed in less than half-a-year, and that the worthy doctor hadn't heard of the Pink and White Terraces, Lakes, and Hot Springs of New Zealand.

The best time to read travels is after you have seen the places; then, to sit down and peruse the page vi other fellow's experience, to make notes of all the fibs he has told, to write a letter to the newspapers showing him up, if he is alive, or abusing him if he is dead,—all this amounts to positive luxury.

No description of the Great Geyserland of this hemisphere—no painting or photograph whatsoever, can convey anything like an adequate idea of the beauties and marvels now within easy and comparatively inexpensive reach of everyone; therefore, readers, let me repeat myself and say, "Go and see."

They who are limited as to time, and need only a guide, will find, in the concise instructions, brief mention of main points of interest, and table of expenses, immediately following—all they desire or require. To others who have more leisure, and like to apply my own advice, in re scribbling travellers, to myself, the pages descriptive of my own experience in the wonder-country may prove interesting.

There is a system of travelling with "through tickets" at present very popular; but I would not recommend it. It is much better to make the tour independently—without being hurried through upon a routine plan and compelled by agents to press on regardless of weather and one's own health and inclinations. Moreover, it is quite easy to make the trip at as low rates as those incurred by the "through ticket." And to show how this may be satisfactorily done is the present and pleasant duty of this little Guide.