Diary of a Trip From Lake te Anau to Sutherland Falls.
The following diary is an exact account of what happened, and of what was seen; no rhapsodical imagination is introduced, and the reader may accept all that is said as being unvarnished truth, both as regards merits and demerits. This statement is made, because the writer has seen many descriptions which are very long-drawn, and which really do harm to the district when visited by readers of those accounts.page break
Diary of a Trip
Saturday, February 9th, 1889.
E writer started from Quinten McKinnon's (track cutting) camp, now called Trackton, in company with Daniel McKinnon, on a trip up the Clinton Valley and over the McKinnon Pass, to the now celebrated Sutherland Falls; Trackton is situated a short distance from Lake Te Anau, at the mouth of the Clinton river.
For about three miles the pair were accompanied by J. Barber and Quinten McKinnon, and the whole party had lunch at the junction of the East and West Clinton rivers opposite Mount McKenzie, when Barber and Quinten McKinnon left to return to Trackton. A short distance from luncheon-place the writer and his companion came to a creek, which they, taking it to be the Clinton, followed on its left bank, as they had been told to do, but upon which they failed to find any track blazes. After spending all day in searching this creek for blazes, they camped at the confluence of two smaller tributary streams, and grilled a couple of grey ducks in Maori fashion, i.e., stuck a stick through the ducks and placed them over a camp fire.
After considering their position, they decided to return to the luncheon-place of the previous day, there to pitch the tent, while the writer returned to Trackton to get fresh instructions and explanations from Quinten McKinnon. After much teasing and sarcasm, he returned to luncheon-place (East and West Clinton junction) camp, not having obtained any particularly fresh or useful information. Arrived at about 6 p.m.
Started early, determined to find track, and soon arrived at greek where the befogging occurred on Saturday. After much searching it was found that this creek had been mistaken for the Clinton itself, and that we had to cross it instead of going up it. The track was at last found on the further side, where it commences lower down the creek, which creek was found to be merely a Clinton tributary: if the track had crossed in a straight line, this mistake would not have been made. Having found the track, which is here very clear, and being in much better spirits, better progress was made. A Paradise duck was shot on our way, and a creek called Bruce Creek was reached at about 6 p.m. Tent was pitched here, and better progress having been made this day, it was thought possible to get over the Pass or Saddle (now in sight) the next day.
Left early and found clear blazes leading out of Clinton river-bed, which were followed, but which led in a short distance to a large fallen tree over which no track is visible, and no progress could be made through such thick bush as lay beyond it. The track up to this tree is clearly blazed and well beaten, and later information says that nearly all the parties of tourists have been misled into following it as far as the tree, and then retracing their steps to the Clinton. There was no help for it but to return to the river-bed, which was done, the conviction being that this part of the track is simply fooling people. Clinton bank was searched for any other track for some hours, but without avail, and ultimately the character of tourist was abandoned and that of explorer page 7 adopted, for there was no help for it but to make ones own track: there is no doubt but that all traces of a clearly blazed legitimate track ceases at Bruce Creek. It was therefore decided to keep to the Clinton river-bed until the Pass was reached, and after much wading and boulder climbing a grassy flat was reached near to the shores of a small lakelet called Montara. Since so much time had been wasted by following false blazings, and then looking for true and correct ones, the day was nearly spent, and it was decided to camp here, although earlier in the day than usual for pitching the tent. Since however this flat was right at the foot of the Pass, it seemed reasonable to expect that the following day would see it crossed, and the Beech Hut (tho destination) arrived at, for the Hut is only about two miles from the foot of the other (western) side of the Pass. But "blessed is he that expecteth nothing, for he shall not be disappointed," as the sequel showeth. The conclusion arrived at as regards the track is, that it ceases at Bruce Creek, and that from that place the tourist may just do the best he can; this is confirmed by others.
Rose at daylight and struck tent; and also decided to leave gun, and heavy portion of swag so as to make the ascent of the Pass less laborious, for every pound in weight feels ten upon such grades. Also had the last meal of animal food, in this trip, at this place. Skirted the shores of Lake Montara, and found a camp site, with memo saying that R. Hay, F. King, and R. Henry were camped there three days by reason of wet weather. Took to bush immediately behind this camp, and started to rise over Saddle (or Pass). Being a warm day, it was very hard work, for the grade is in places about 1 in 2, and it was necessary to pull oneself up by means of the trees and scrub. This took longer than was expected, for ever so light a swag feels heavy on such grades and in such country, and the summit of the Saddle was not reached until about 2 p.m. And now for a slight description of the scenery en route, and from the view at the Pass: the Clinton Valley from its very commencement at Lake Te Anau is a combination of all that is beautiful in Alpine scenery while it presents many unusual features not page 8 known in other Alpine countries, and by no means frequent or common in New Zealand. The river winds about through a comparatively narrow valley, over a bed composed of boulders of unusual size, and between ranges of mountains whose peaks are from 4,000 to 8,000 feet in height, and which mountains are clad in evergreen forest (colonially called bush) up to the snow line, while from this line upwards the clothing is snow—in many cases perpetual. Waterfalls of many feet, snow-slips of large extent, and turbulent creeks and torrents are of course common, but which all add to the beauty of the landscape of this part of the "Wonderland of the World" as the Union Steamship Company calls it. The very track through the forest is of great beauty and charm to the naturalist and botanist, for it consists of many varieties of trees and shrub, including red and black birch, red, white, and black pine, totara, rata, &c.; while it abounds in ferns, among which the writer noticed the Todea superba, Todea hymenophylloides, Gleichena Cunninghami and dicarpa, Hymenophyllum scabrum, Trichomanes reniforme, Davallia Novæ Zealandiæ, Pteris scaberula, Lomaria Alpina, and Asplenium flabellifolium, among others; wild fowl are abundant, including grey, blue, and paradise ducks, grebe, wekas, kakapos, kiwis, teal, black swans, &c., while the lake and parts of the river abound in eels, some of which approach conger eels in sire. On and around the tracks there are several lakelets, grassy flats, and (by no means least to the pedestrian) hogs. It is noticeable that all the water about this district is very pellucid, except in flood time, and a very striking and pleasing feature with these lakelets is, that they seem coloured with different varieties of shades of colour,—one, for instance, being an emerald green, another deep blue (nearly purple), while others represent almost any degree of shade between these extremes. The scenery from the summit of the Pass is superbly grand and beautiful. On the one side the view is down the Clinton Valley with its evergreen clothing, snow-covered peaks and granite crags, while to the right (looking down the Clinton) is an amphitheatre of rocks, snow-slips, and avalanches, forming the head and end of the Clinton Valley. To the left the Pass is bounded by a very lofty peak called Balloon Peak, and said to be 9,000 feet in height, while turning round and looking towards the West Coast, the page 9 Arthur Valley is in view with its extremely grand surroundings. To the writer, the Clinton side of the Pass seemed to present a combination of grandeur and beauty, while the Arthur side seemed grander but hardly so beautiful, although this may be from the fact that, while the view is nearly straight down the Clinton Valley, it is very quickly intercepted in the Arthur Valley by a projecting mountain range. Certain it is, however, that the scenery is more grand and majestic on the Arthur side, for its mountains are higher, its glaciers more abundant, its creeks and rivers more turbulent, its valley sides so precipitous that the word gorge seems more fitting than valley, while all around old father Time's mills are hoard grinding away in the form of avalanches, slow but exceedingly sure in their work of bringing on the time when literally "the valleys shall be exalted, the mountains laid low, the crooked straight, and the waste places plain," for, without doubt, the mountains are slowly being levelled and the valleys filled up. All the grandeur and beauty makes one realise what a splendid asset this poor depressed Colony has been so long neglecting, for in no part of the world is so magnificent a combination of the grand and beautiful, of the immense and minute, of the intricate and simple to be found; at any rate, not in New Zealand or Switzerland, for the writer has seen all the former, and a great portion of the latter. The Saddle itself is covered with a kind of mountain grass and is studded all over with Ranunculus Lyalli (mountain lily), several forms of Celmesia (mountain daisy), and with Edelweiss plants, which were all in blossom at the time of the writer's visit, making the whole surroundings a veritable tourist's Arcadia.
Having spent an hour or so on the Pass, and after a "billy" of tea in addition to drinking in the district's magnificent surrounding spectacle, the journey was resumed, and the very precipitous western side of the Pass negotiated. Delay in ascending the Clinton side, and delay on the top for the purposes of admiration, caused another tent pitching, although the Beach Hut was now only two miles distant. The tent was therefore pitched about halfway down the Pass, on what was comparatively a level place, but, for all that, the writer's sleeping bunk had its head about three feet higher than its foot.
Continued the descent until Roaring Creek was reached, when its bed was kept, the travel being a continuation of the Clinton boulder climbing and wading, considerably exaggerated. No track signs visible except a few amateur blazings here and there, which were not heeded, and a bee line was made for Mount Pillans, under whose shadow (and on the banks of Arthur river), the Beech Hut is situated. This hut was expected to come in sight in an hour or so, when suddenly a tree, which the hand of man had fallen, was sighted, and in a few paces more the hut itself was in sight, forming an agreeable surprise, for fatigue was apparent as was likewise shortness of "tucker."
The Beech Hut is built of slabs with a tree-fern roof, and contains eight sleeping berths, which berths are filled with dry fern leaves by way of mattress. There is a fireplace nearly the width of the end of the hut, at anyrate, wide enough to take logs 5 to 6 feet in length, but the hut has no door and no signs of ever having had one: possibly, this is to show that it is built pro bono publico, and to prevent anyone from fastening it up, or, to use an Americanism, to prevent any housebreaking. Records of visitors were found (more or less egotistical) in the shape of names pencilled and carved all over the place, and on every available piece of timber and on all the surrounding trees.
This name-carving on tress becomes an atrocious piece of vandalism and desecration, and the writer would respectfully suggest that visitors might more suitably, if less distinctly, leave their marks behind them in the form of seed sowing, and planting useful shrubs, &c.
The writer has put his opinion into practice by sowing grass seeds and hardy annuals, and by planting strawberry, blackberry, and raspberry plants, everywhere he has made any stay. A small stock of oatmeal, sugar, biscuits, and a much larger supply of tea in all sorts of packages as left by various visitors, was found and was gladly hailed, for the lengthened period of travel had very ominously reduced the provision part of the two swags. The hut was a great page 11 relief after so much of tent living, and it was decided to stop for a day or two and regain some lost strength for negotiating that awful track homewards.
Started this morning for a visit to the now celebrated Sutherland Falls. The track is for the first part along the Arthur river-bed, and then it is very clearly blazed right up to the Falls, the distance being about two miles. The Falls were soon arrived at, and standing at their foot, upon a little terrace of cutty grass, a full and front view was obtained. Judging from somewhat derogatory and depreciatory remarks as to their size which have been made, it was an agreeable surprise to see the large body of water (and this in fine, dry weather) which falls just on 2,000 feet. From the volume of tail water which here forms fully half the Arthur river, and to which must be added the large body of water dispersed in the form of spray which is blown by the wind in every direction, and which never reaches this tail water, it is possible to get a rough idea of the immense power and general magnitude of the Falls. It is only possible to imagine that those persons who were disappointed had, in the first place, become so much accustomed to great heights and depths that their eyes failed to estimate the correct appearance; and in the second place, it is probable they had no idea of Hydraulics. But when it is remembered that the pressure of this water, if placed in a pipe, would be nearly 1,000 lbs. to the square inch at the bottom, and that a supply of water at this pressure would give one mechanical horse-power for about every 30 gallons, while the amount falling represents fully two million gallons, it follows that about 70,000 horse-power of energy is here. This from the utilitarian and hydraulic point of view may help to form some idea of the body of water. From the scenic point of view, the falls are (according to the person's mind) awe inspiring, even although the eye is accustomed to very high peaks, turbulent rivers, and general magnificence. Not being of a rhapsodical turn of mind, the writer cannot fly off into realms or figurative and laudatory descriptions, but will simply say that the Sutherland Falls are extremely and supremely grand, and falling in three jumps such a great page 12 distance over a rugged and precipitous mountain side, partly clothed in green by ferns of the Asplenium flabellifolium and other kinds, they are really magnificent to anyone capable of being appealed to by nature's magnificence.
The hut was returned to about mid-day, and a good rest taken.
A week to-day since the trip was started upon, and a hard week's work, too, but the "light is worth the candle." Decided to stop in the hut to-day, and fully recover for the return trip.
Started at about six in the morning on the return journey with the idea that the thorough rest and perfect acclimatisation experienced to Alpine climbing, would see this night's camp on the banks of the Clinton and therefore over the Pass. Very good progress made up the Roaring Creek bed, and after keeping to it until it was thought safe and correct to leave it, the creek was left at right angles, and the ascent of the Pass began. The bed of a dry tributory creek was taken, which after a little while became very steep; the ascent was continued, however, but as the bed of this dry creek now became smooth steep rock, impossible to negotiate, its sides had to be used, where, by means of bush, it was possible to pull oneself up. The grade kept on increasing until it was almost a case of "hanging on by one's eyebrows," and the higher the ascent the worse it got; in some cases the rocks wore overhanging, and but for plenty of scrub and grass by which to hold on and pull oneself up by, it could not have been attempted. Proof was now apparent that the Roaring Creek bed had been left too early, and that the journey ought to have been continued up its bed until the base of Balloon Peak was reached.
[N.B.—The proper and only way to safely ascend this side is to go up the Roaring Creek bed until the base of Balloon Peak is reached, and then by rising on its base a fair track can be made; all the rest of this side of the Pass is precipitous, and a great deal of it worse than perpendicular (for pedestrians), for it is overhanging.]page 13
But by a sort of determination, only to be call foolhardiness, and for which the writer is chiefly to blame, this mode of ascent was continued, when presently a sort of mantelpiece on a rock presented itself, and along which it was necessary to crawl; it was moreover so much overhung with scrub, &c., that it was impossible to retain the swags in the orthodox place, viz., on one's back, so they were taken off, and each dragged behind its owner. During this mode of travel, the writer found a tuft he was clutching was giving way, and to save himself from falling down a precipice he clutched at a stronger hold, and in doing so released his swag which fell over the precipice, thus taking the writer's place in the falling. All that was seen of it was its making one or two bounds as it touched the rocks, then it disappeared, and, according to the writer's companion's opinion, never to be seen again. The writer, however, does not take quite so pessimistic a view of the matter, for he believes that when the Colony has progressed "by leaps and bounds," (to quote Sir Julius), and has sufficient population to people these alpine districts, then some alpine mountaineer settler may find a vestige of other days in the shape of the decaying remnants of the writer's swag. The loss of the swag was, however, very serious, for all the matches (packed in a glass bottle for keeping dry) were in it, as was also all the writer's spare clothes, blankets and papers, but fortunately no provisions or tent. After much more hard work the summit of the Saddle was reached, the time taken making it quite late in the evening; but endeavours were made to descend the other side to camp on the Clinton bank, for spending all night in a tent 3,000 feet above sea level is not very enticing. Only a short distance was descended, however, when it became too dark to think of getting down that night, and since it was also too dark to pitch tent, it was used to roll round our bodies as we lay on the earth. Unfortunately it came on to rain in the night, and in a short time everybody and everything was wet through, and it was therefore best to stand up and wait till morning, for it was too dangerous to walk about in the dark. After much anxious waiting, daylight appeared, but only to bring a dense fog, which rendered any progress as impossible as the darkness did.
After a few attempts to descend to the Clinton through wet scrub winch felt fully as bad as being up to one's waist in water, the fog made it impossible to continue, and so the summit was returned to, since it was there possible to walk about while waiting for the fog to clear away. This was very cold work, for a driving wind made the fog and damp atmosphere very piercing and worse than the rain to persons thinly clad in football jerseys, &c., and wet through to begin with. In spite of walking about, a feeling of torpor came over the writer, and but for the exertions of his companion, who insisted on his moving, he would probably have laid down never to rise again. Since the fog did not clear up, and since the matches were lost and both persons wet through, it was at last decided to return to the Beech Hut, there to get the clothing dried, to get matches, to get a little more oatmeal, &c., and also to get a blanket which some person had (as it happened) most opportunely left. It was easier to go backwards than forwards in the fog (in spite of the previous mishaps and mistakes on this side), for by going on the Saddle summit right up to Balloon Peak, and descending on its base until Roaring Creek was reached, the grade and travelling is comparatively easy. Once down to Roaring Creek it had only to be followed to lead to the hut, where 3 o'clock p.m. saw the writer and his companion quartered again. Having lit a large fire and having gone to bed in a state of nature, wrapped up in tents and the solitary blanket found in the hut, it was compulsory to stay in this position until the wearing apparel was dry.
The garments not being dry this morning it was impossible to start until mid-day. Having provided ourselves with matches, a little oatmeal and crumbled biscuits, and the writer taking the blanket found in the hut, a fresh start to return to Trackton was made. Before 100 yards had been travelled the writer found that a feeling he had experienced all night was intensified by walking, and he was fearful of a return of paralysis of the lower limbs, for they had been almost totally paralysed some three years ago by reason of an accident which then happened to him. At any rate, he found page 15 it impossible to walk even on the easy part of the track, to say nothing of the harder part ahead, and to save having to stop on the way and perhaps jeopardise the safety of his companion also, he decided to return to the hut, while his companion, who was a stronger man and in better condition, went on to Trackton, from which place he promised to send relief. The writer, therefore, returned to the hut, arriving there about 3 o'clock, and having lit a fire and turned in to a bunk, he covered himself well with tents, sacks, clothing, &c., with the idea that by getting thoroughly warm, he would avoid the horrible paralysis which was making itself very prominent.
Since there is now only the writer to talk about, the first person singular will be taken.
In solitary grandeur, I remained in bed best part of day, conserving as much as possible of the small stock of energy remaining in me. My only provisions were a pannikin full of a mixture of breadcrumbs, oatmeal, biscuits, and flour, with tea in abundance, but no sugar. This was eaten by being soaked in tea, and lasted four days, as will be seen: had a little to-day. Glad to feel that with continual warmth and rest the paralytic feeling was abating. Nothing special occurred this day.
Still lord of all I survey, as far as any individual to dispute my possession is concerned. My only daily companion was a Maori hen (weka) who inquisitively inquires into all pertaining, to sundry preserved meat tins (would they were full) left by former tourists, but she declined to come inside the hut; well for her safety she didn't. My night visitors were, among, other nocturnal birds, the kakapo. I mention him because he makes himself heard (oftentimes disagreeably) at night. I have heard of "the kakapo modulating his voice, awed by the grandeur of the surrounding scenery." Well, all I can say is, that my surrounding scenery was in all conscience grand enough, but my kakapos did by no means modulate their voices to my nightly disgust. Another small portion of biscuits, &c., in tea.
Another day of loneliness; and now getting past feeling hunger. Have often surveyed my past life and the many special feeds of which I thought nothing then, but of which a 100th part would now have been very, very welcome. Never realised before how much a man's stomach may influence his feelings, but that is now past, and I suppose I am now approaching the in extremis state (in an extreme mess I undoubtedly was). Also never realised before how much of a man's life in all its trivialities, as well as its more important parts, may pass through his mind when in solitude, and when he has had little or no food for some days, and now, next to none at all.
Nothing has happened to vary the monotony of loneliness, and now find I am getting too weak to waste energy in chopping firewood, so collected chips which lie about the hut, and which were left during the slab-splitting and tree falling for its erection. Have got to realise that man is a gregarious animal, and, although there are such beings as hermits, they are the exception that proves the rule. A man may desire to get away from "the hum of cities and the wrath of human life," and be can doubless do the former, but the latter is more prominent than when in the hurley-burley of human strife, and amid thousands of persons.
Unfortunately to-day saw the expiration of the solitary luxury possible to me, for my tobacco was finished. With only my short experience of bush life, I can fully endorse the bushman's choice, viz., that he would rather go without food than a smoke: I believe it serves in some degree as a sudorific, at any rate it seems to palliate the troubles one may be in. Tried smoking tea leaves, but they are a long way off the correct thing, so only took about half dozen puffs at a time,—just enough to satisfy my imagination that I had had a smoke, but no more. I believe the thought of the grand finale is far worse to man in full vigour of life, than the feeling present when the end actually draws near. At any-rate I was now too weak to care about anything (not even eating), and yet I felt no pain, but was quite as comfortable page 17 and satisfied as if in the most luxurious home. About 2 or 3 o'clock I was suddenly startled by the fire-fly which I had hung over the door space, being suddenly pulled on one side, and with it the appearance of Quinten McKinnon and Charles Brown, both members of the Professor Brown search party, and now forming my relief party.
At the time of their arriving, I had just been four days alone, for I was left at mid-day on Tuesday, and my relief arrived at mid-day on Saturday. They brought a good supply of provisions, not omitting a little whiskey and a bottle of Perry Davis' Painkiller, the latter a valuable bush medicine, for it has a healing, stimulating and satisfying effect when taken internally by a person in my state. After a careful meal and the luxury of a real genuine smoke, I went back to my bunk again, and by the morning felt fifty per cent better.
Feel much better, and almost ready to tackle the return trip, but fully believe what was said, that it was only excitement. McKinnon and Brown decided to go down to Lake Ada (about nine miles towards Milford Sound), to arrange for the transport of some stores from the Sound to the Beach Hut, for McKinnon's track cutting men, when they get towards this end of the track he is making for the Government. They left me in the Hut, so that I might have a full day to feed, rest, and get myself into condition for starting back next day, They returned at about 5 p.m. with sundry cock and bull" stories as to where they had been, whom they had seen, and what they had heard, seen, and done.
Started on the return trip early, McKinnon leading, and prospecting the country as he went to find the best route to cut his track on this side of the Saddle. Did not therefore keep the Soaring Creek bed this time, but went through the bush alongside it, blazing as we went, so that the men will know where to cut the 5 feet wide track when they arrive in this neighbourhood. Made very good progress and reached the summit of Saddle about mid-day. Nature seems to smile upon us to-day, for it is a magnificent day after several days of rain and fog, page 18 and the view from the summit seemed clearer and more grand and beautiful than at either time I had been on it. After collecting several roots of Ranunculus Lyalli and Celmesia, we hurried on to get down the Clinton side of the Saddle. Having accomplished this by much sudden dropping a few-feet at a time, we skirted Lake Montara and arrived at the grassy terrace where Daniel McKinnon and myself had camped on our fourth day out (Tuesday), and where we had left the gun. The three of us now camped on the same site.
Started early with the intention of reaching home by night, i.e., we were going to get from Beech Hut to Trackton in two days, whereas it took Daniel McKinnon and the writer five days to do the same distance outwards. Pushed ahead very hard, and had lunch at our old camping place at Bruce Creek, and where a clear track begins. About mid-day it commenced raining, which was very uncomfortable through bush tracks and with the speed we were hurrying. The writer had no swag the whole of this trip, or he never could have done the work in the time in his then condition. As it was, it was extremely fatiguing, but having been relieved once, he was not going to stop while the others went on so long as he could move one foot before the other. For the last four or five miles the pain in the writer's lower limbs was horrible, his knees felt like a hinge without oil, and ached most excruciatingly when going down hill or in stepping down from a fallen log lying across the track, which latter is a common occurrence. However we finally reached the camp, where we were joyfully received. We were soaking wet, tired, dirty, and hungry; and so the writer, after a bath in the Clinton river (sandflies notwithstanding), a change of borrowed clothing, (for he was now very little better off than the day he was born), and a good meal, he turned into his tent and slept as only a downright fatigued man can sleep.
N.B.—This second day's journey is too much for anyone to do in one day with any degree of comfort, especially if he has a 30lb. swag to carry. It is really from the Saddle to the Clinton mouth, or in other words, it is the full length of the Clinton, and two days should be taken, pending the com pletion of the Government track.
The scenery is most grand and beautiful, and worth a lot of trouble to see; but the present state of affairs is really dangerous to the average tourist. What is wanted is a fairly good and clearly distinct track, with shelter huts—say every eight to ten miles—for to a person wishing to notice and enjoy the scenery (and it follows that is the reason of his presence), this is quite enough walking to do in one day, and over such country; for if the Government do all that can be reasonably expected, it will not be an asphalted or macadamised road. The huts would avoid the necessity of carrying heavy swags, for no tents would be necessary; a very little weight of provisions would be needed; and the best part of these could be carried in the well-known "billy." All this will be accomplished in a few months, and in time for 1889 tourist season, for the Government have let a contract for the track and shelter huts, and the work is now in progress. Then a good hotel is needed at Lake Te Anau, so that tourists may rest and recover themselves, while they enjoy the scenery of the lake itself.
Lake te Anau.
Lake Te Anau is the largest lake in the Middle Island of New Zealand, and this is disagreeably realised sometimes by the boat travellers when a strong head-wind arises, for the waves are really surprising on an inland body of water. The lake is very beautiful, and is very plentifully besprinkled with small islands covered with trees and bush, while its shores are greatly indented, thus forming numerous harbours. At the first approach from Lumsden Railway Station, the shores are clear, the adjacent country being what is called fern land. The land is covered with bracken (Pteris aquilina). A little way up the lake on this side and the forest and mountains form its shores, and on the farther side (the western), its shores are everywhere mountainous and forest-covered. On this western side also there are three large arms or fiords, and these fiords, together with the Clinton end (which might almost be called a northern fiord), page 20 furnish the opportunity for a fortnight of picnicking which cannot he surpassed either for beauty, comfort, and variety. With a launch capable of providing sleeping and cooking accommodation for—say six to eight people—there would be no tent-pitching, no swag-carrying, and only as much pedes-trianism as the person chose by landing. Then, with shooting, fishing, botanising, &c., &c., while the eye is continually being charmed or astonished by some new natural wonder or beauty, it is possible to spend the acmé of perfection of a holiday. For this purpose it is understood that next tourist season will see an entire novelty on this side of the Equator, for it is proposed to place an electric launch upon the lake. This launch will be able to carry thirty persons, and to provide sleeping accommodation for eight, and since an electric boat has no visible machinery, no noise or vibration, and ran conveniently carry double the number of passengers, the same size steamboat could (since there is no room needed for engine and boiler). Next season Te Anau will be enabled to offer unusual, unique, and unsurpassed attractions to tourists. The launch in question is to be charged by electricity generated on shore by water-power, of which the district contains many thousands of horse-power in its turbulent rivers and creeks. The cost of propelling it, is then, merely the interest on the water-power outlay, with average depreciation.
A twenty-two roomed Alpine Hotel (Swiss chalet style of architecture), is also about to be built, and as the table will be good, the accommodation comfortable and suitable, while its general surroundings will be such as no other hotel in the Colony can boast, there will be every inducement and no drawbacks to cause all the Australasian tourist world to hasten to spend so glorious and complete a holiday.
Printed at the "Times" Office, Gloucester Street, Christchurch.