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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 76

New Zealand at the Present Time

New Zealand at the Present Time.

In the present day almost any part of New Zealand can be reached by means of railways, good carriage roads, or well-appointed steamers on the coasts and on the lakes and rivers; but in earlier years, when I with a friend first made a journey far into the interior of the North Island, accompanied by a party of natives to carry our tents, provisions, and baggage, the travelling had to be done on foot, or by canoes on the waterways, and the paths through the dense but grand forests and over the mountains were very rugged and fatiguing. Yet it was delightful to be quite away from European life, amongst a race of people but recently brought out of a savage, and even cannibal, condition of life to a considerable advance in civilisation and Christianity by the zealous labours of missionaries sent by the Church of England and the Wesleyan Mission Societies, and to find oneself perfectly secure in life and property far from police protection. Every evening when our tent was pitched and the kettle on the fire by page 42 some pleasant stream or in a sheltering wood, the natives assembled to sing their hymns and join in prayer. This was repeated before starting on our pleasant way each morning of a journey of several weeks, during which time we visited the great central lake Taupo, overshadowed by the volcanic peaks of Tongariro Mountain. The unique and wonderful terraces on the mountain sides of lake Rotomahana were then existing in all their marvellous beauty. These terraces were formed by streams of clear, boiling water flowing from a lake on the mountain side, and depositing the sulphate of lime with which it was strongly impregnated in the form of wide and broad sets of steps, as if leading to some gigantic palace, and adorned by fantastic, arabesque-like formations on the outside, and into smooth-lined, marble-like baths on the inside, where it was delightful indeed to swim in spacious pools of refreshing and health-giving hot water. But alas! these singular formations, which would have drawn visitors from all parts of the world, have disappeared, smashed, broken up, and covered by the débris of a high neighbouring mountain shattered by an earthquake. It is to be hoped that the same stream may in the course of ages form again similar enticing and beautiful depositions. But there are still many interesting volcanic phenomena in that part of New Zealand, together with extensive natural hot baths, and excellent hotel accommodation, which attract many visitors to such page 43 a delightful and picturesque resort for health and enjoyment.