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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 45

Otira Gorge

Otira Gorge.

"The scenery which is encountered in journeying from Christchurch to the coast of New Zealand is romantic and picturesque in the extreme, but that in the region of the gorge of the Otira surpasses all others for grandeur and variety of effect. It is a succession of forests, mountains, lakes, and waterfalls, as brilliant and fascinating as the most exacting eye could desire. There are bold hills crowned with luxuriant foliage, the rich trees waving in the transparent air, backed by the white summits of their loftier ranges, page 43 upon whose surface, delicate and lovely, now beauteous or grotesque, the changeful light disports itself into a magical variety of contrasted colours; deep solitary ravines, walled in by precipitous cliffs destitute of vegetation, and seeming to hover with grim satisfaction over the dark and troubled waters that lash and fret themselves at their feet. There are hundreds of fairy nooks, festooned with trailing ferns and carpeted with fairy o'erhangings, which are dripping boughs that catch a brighter green from the translucent stream that flows from a shelf of rock 100 feet above, and comes leaping down all sparkling and radiant, clear as crystal."

The foregoing picture of this grand country has received the stamp of endorsement from thousands of travellers. One of the best-written descriptions of the West Coast scenery was given, a few years back, by the Rev. Charles Clark, who gave vent to his delight in a series of word-pictures, which have seldom been excelled in the line of descriptive writing. We regret that the limited space at our disposal will not permit us to quote his articles.

The tourist has now to consider whether it would be advisable on his part to proceed through to Hokitika, or to make a stay at this point and return to Christchurch next day. If time be no object, he would do well to proceed right through, as there is some grand scenery yet in store for him. In either case we would strongly advise him to return to Christchurch by the same route. Should he elect to proceed on his trip by sea from Hokitika he must be prepared for some delay there, as the communication with Nelson is maintained mainly by a small class of steamers, which run at irregular intervals. The town itself is worthy of inspection if the tourist has a day or two to spare for that purpose, but when this is accomplished, he should by all means return to Christchurch overland.

The tourist, having seen the sights of Canterbury, will prepare to take his departure for Wellington, the Empire City of New Zealand. Here the Union S.S. Co.'s time table will again be found useful, and a berth can be secured at page 44 the Company's offices at Christchurch or Lyttelton. Vessels belonging to this line are despatched regularly between the ports, and the trip across only occupies from 14 to 16 hours.

Before accompanying our visitor to the North Island, however, we will proceed to give a short descriptive sketch of the far-famed