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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 45

The Bowen Falls

The Bowen Falls

are a grand spectacle, and could they be removed from among the surrounding mountains, they would be still more impressive. Even when one remembers that Niagara is famous for its gigantic volume of water rather than its height, it is difficult page 56 to realise that the Bowen Falls are quite 60 feet more than three times the height of Niagara. Of course, as regards volume, the likening of the two falls is a comparing of great things with small, for the water which leaps into Milford Sound is hardly deserving of the name of river, but merely forms a good sized stream. Yet the fall has strange and peculiar beauties of its own, for as it shoots over the edge of the cliff it is confined in a rocky channel for perhaps a sixth of its height, when it falls into a hollow in the rock, whence the water, as if indignant at being thus unceremoniously hurled down the crag, springs upwards and outwards with a strong rebound to be again precipitated in a broad white cascade, composed of ever-changing jets of whiteness shooting downwards like rocket stars till it again meets the rock about half-way, whence it is precipitated in one over large and several small white streams into the chaldron below. From this and from the fall itself there arose a cloud of spray, which, borne on the current of air created by the rushing water, fell in a drenching shower around. From the foot of the fall the stream ran across the delta, which was covered with birch trees, to the waters of the Sound."

The excursion steamer makes a longer stay at Milford than at any of the other Sounds, and the usual fern-gathering, sketching, geological and fishing parties are organized here, and it is almost needless to remark that those composing them manage to enjoy themselves thoroughly. After "doing" Milford, the boat heads towards Dunedin again. The excursion occupies from 8 to 10 days. In this brief sketch of the West Coast Sounds we have not attempted to indulge in over-colouring, and therefore we have allowed a pleasure-seeker to tell his own story of the wonders which await the tourist in those romantic scenes. And if a lawyer can go into ecstacies over the scenery of the Sounds, the effect they would produce on one endowed with a large share of the "faculty divine," may be more easily imagined than described. If that High Priest of Nature, Wordsworth, had been privileged to feast his spirit on such scenes, and to commune with his beloved mistress in those sublime solitudes of hers, the world of letters might page 57 have been enriched with even a grander legacy than "Tintern Abbey." Here indeed, the immortal bard of the North, after surveying the gorgeous scenery of the Sounds, might exclaim:—

"The sounding cataract
Haunted me like a passion, the tall rock,
The mountain and the deep, gloomy wood,
Their colours and their forms were then to me
An appetite, a feeling, and a love;
They had no need of a remoter charm,
By thought supplied."

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