7 April 1872
Next morning we had a very steep ascent – the road was not good, and the turns were sharp. The Scenery becomes Alpine. It is said by some to equal the Alps, but to my mind it is far inferior. The two ascents are called “Arthur’s Pass” and “Porter’s Pass”. We then come to a lake called “Sumner” The mountains are step on one side. Some of the Waterfalls lower down in this Gorge, dashing among the Ferns which now begin to shew themselves again are very picturesque - the glaciers, or remaining snows, in the heights, adding vastly to the effect. Soon we arrive at the commencement of the Canterbury Plains, with the tussock and other grass- forming food for the sheep which are here seen in large flocks, every few miles. We arrived at Christchurch at 5 o’clock, having accomplished the distance 180 miles in 2 days. I met my friends Watts, Russell and dined with them.
Some of the land on the Canterbury Plains is very good, but other parts are shingle plains. We had to pass thro’ some dangerous rivers, one called the Taipo being a torrent. We dismounted the coach and walked page 91 over a foot bridge; - the river had left a most expensive bridge, and found another channel. We had to cross the river several times. These numerous rivers are frequently impassable, and many people are drowned yearly in them. The crossing place can never be depended on, one river may be lower, and the next one very high from local rain. On the way a digger got in to the carriage, and when I began to question him, he seemed to think I wanted to jump his claim, for it took all the powers of Henderson and myself to pacify him, and nothing less than accepting his “Shout” all round once or twice would appease him. This is the usual thing with diggers, and had we not learned the dodge of taking a mouthful with a “good luck to you” – ejecting it in a scientific digger style, - and emptying the balance on the ground, we should have found it hard to distinguish our friends on arrival. Our luggage which had been sent from Wellington by Boat for Christchurch, had not arrived. We had a short allowance of clean clothes, but did our best with repeated washings, sometimes by ourselves, or by others as we could best manage. And thus we got landed for Sunday Service in a worn out condition indeed. We stayed at the “Clarendon” which was full of Volunteers who were shooting at the Rifle Matches. There is a nice Club at Christchurch, but we felt more at liberty at the Hotel.