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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 45

Lakes Wanaka and Hawea

Lakes Wanaka and Hawea.

and we can promise him that there is a treat of no ordinary nature in store for him. Wanaka and Hawea can be reached by two different routes. One of these is the main Dunedin road, on which he can proceed by coach as far as Cromwell, a distance of 40 miles, at which place he will diverge and ride over on horseback to Pembroke, where he will find a comfortable hotel. The ride can be accomplished with ease in a few hours, and the track is a good one. There is another track from Arrowtown, which leads over the Crown Range, from the top of which a magnificent view of the surrounding country can be obtained. This is the rougher route of the two, but it is certainly the most enjoy- page 25 able one to the visitor who has an eye for the sublime and beautiful in nature. This track passes through the Cardrona township and diggings, where snug accommodation is procurable at a couple of well-managed hostelries.

It is impossible in a short sketchy article like this, to give the reader anything but the faintest conception of the beauties and the picturesqueness of the two lakes under notice. The hills which sentinel the placid waters of Wanaka and Hawea, have not it is true, with one or two notable exceptions, the stupendous grandeur of the volcanic giants that frown above the shores of Wakatipu; but for charming scenery and landscape loveliness, the lakes of which we are treating excel their fuller grown sister. The limpid waters of Wanaka and Hawea are skirted by undulating terraces, embroidered with rich vegetation, and mantled with luxuriant verdure and ever-green foliage. These terraces are flanked by majestic hills, behind which a wild and romantic country stretches far and wide. Prominent among the exceptions in the form of hills, to which we have made reference, is a majestic mountain which towers in Alpine grandeur far above the heads of its fellows. This stupendous hill is crowned with craggy glaciers, and when the deep blue and purple tints of sunset are resting on the enormous masses of ice and snow that ornament the tall peaks reclining against the sky, the effect is extremely grand. Tumbling down the breast of this mountain, is a silver stream of water, known as Minaret Creek. A peculiarity about this mountain torrent is that it is shaped exactly like the letter V. Another peculiarity about this country is the difference in the elevation of the lakes. Hawea is divided from Wanaka by a narrow neck of land, and the former occupies a much higher level than the latter. As we have previously remarked it is impossible with the limited space at our disposal to do anything like adequate justice to this charming locality, so we must dismiss Wanaka and Hawea with the following lines of John Wilson, addressed by him to "Loughrig Tarn." They are even more applicable to this lovely region than they are to the Windermere Country:—

" This is the solitude that reason loves!
Even he who yearns for human sympathies,
page 26 And hears a music in the breath of man,
Dearer than voice of mountain or of flood,
Might live a hermit here, and mark the sun
Rising or setting mid the beauteous calm,
Devoutly blending in his happy soul
Thoughts both of earth and heaven."

The distance from Cromwell to Dunedin is 165 miles, and a coach runs regularly to Lawrence, from which place the tourist can ride by rail to the capital of Otago, a distance of 72 miles. The Cromwell coach passes through Clyde (the Dunstan diggings), Alexandra, and Roxburgh. The fast flowing Clutha is crossed at Alexandra, and here the traveller can have a good view of the old gold-workings along the banks of the river. In this portion of Otago occurred one of the first and richest rushes, and numbers of "piles" were made here in the early days of the gold-fields. The Clutha at Alexandra and Clyde is better known by the name of the Molyneux.

Roxburgh is a pretty little township, surrounded by some rich pastoral and agricultural land. If the tourist feels disposed to inspect the far-famed Gabriel's Gully and Blue Spur, he can put up at Lawrence for a day, where there are two or three excellent hotels. If, however, he has no curiosity to inspect the auriferous country around Tuapeka, he can leave for Dunedin by the morning or evening train, and reach there in less than four hours. He will pass through the rich agricultural country of Tokomairiro and the celebrated Taieri Plains.