The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 45
The North Island
The North Island.
he trip across from Lyttelton occupies about 14 hours, and the passage is generally a very smooth one. The Union S.S. Co.'s boats run regularly to and fro, and berths can be secured by applying at the Company's offices. The steamer approaches Cook's Strait and enters Port Nicholson. The entrance is through a channel about three miles in length, and this is flanked on either hand by lofty precipitous hills. Port Nicholson is a magnificent harbour, and to this fact Wellington owes much of its commercial prosperity. With the exception of one small reef which runs a short distance into the channel, there is deep water everywhere. Vessels of any size can always find a secure anchorage here, and though at times the Port is visited by some strong gales, shipping accidents are never heard of. The city is built on the shore of Lambton Harbour. There are several well-constructed quays and piers stretching along the shore, and at the principal one of these, the Queen's Wharf, vessels of over 2000 tons register can lie with ease and safety. Wellington is one of the principal ports of call for the U.S. S. Co.'s steamers, besides which it is the chief coal depot on the coast of the North Island. The hotel accommodation to be had in Wellington is second to none in the Colony, and two or three of the principal houses have porters in uniform, who receive visitors on landing and attend to their luggage. The tourist can pass a few days in this city with great advantage. The town itself will repay inspection, for although the majority of the buildings are of wood, there are some really fine warehouses and shops in the principal thoroughfares. Lambton Quay and Willis Street are the busiest portions of the city, and the crowds of well-dressed page 59 people which are to be met with in these thoroughfares are indicative of the commercial prosperity of the place. Steam tram-cars run through the main streets at all hours of the day, and for the fare of threepence the traveller is conveyed over two miles in these comfortable conveyances. As Wellington is the seat of the Colonial Government, the principal public buildings are erected here, and strangers who desire to inspect any of these institutions are privileged to do so. The building known as the Government Offices, is said to be the largest wooden edifice in the world. Although by no means an ornamental, it is certainly a most imposing structure, and should be visited by the tourist. Government House, the residence of the Governor, is a handsome building, and the Houses of Parliament are worthy of inspection. The New Zealand Legislature is generally in session about the latter end of winter and the beginning of spring, and should the tourist be fortunate enough to reach Wellington about this time, an opportunity will be afforded him of hearing some good speeches and warm debates. Our New Zealand politicians are, as a rule, capital speakers, although it must be confessed, that, as is the case in the sister colonies, a few "duffers" always manage to get themselves squeezed into Parliament. The Colonial Museum should certainly be visited. There is a fine collection of exhibits in this institution, the principal of which is a wonderfully carved Maori house. There are two cathedrals in Wellington and about fifteen other churches and places of worship. Several brick and concrete buildings have been recently erected in the Empire City, and now that the old earthquake scare, which frightened the inhabitants in the olden times, is dying out, we may expect to see a great portion of the town rebuilt, and the timber replaced by brick, concrete, or stone in a few years time. The population of Wellington is about 20,000, and year by year the town is spreading to afford room for the numbers of new settlers who are establishing homes for themselves in the great political centre. The Wellington people go in thoroughly for evening enjoyment, and the Theatre Royal which, is a spacious and comfortable temple of the drama, is patronised better than is any other play-house in the Colony Until the recent fire occurred, there was another fine theatre, the Imperialpage break