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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 45

Te Tarata, or the White Terrace

Te Tarata, or the White Terrace.

"Viewed in fine weather, when the sunshine glints on the lake, and sparkles in coruscations upon the alabaster page 73 like lips of the terraces, and dances joyously upon the cerulean water in their cups, whilst the terrace itself, a pyramidal side, comparable with frozen snow, rises grandly above all—the scene presented can be compared to nothing earthly. To us, the peculiarity above mentioned found explanation in 'weirdness.' Yes, that is the term to denote the toute ensemble of a scene that might be dreamt of by an Eastern storyteller—might be shaddowed forth by the scene of a fairy pantomime—might be vaguely pourtrayed by the imagination of a visionary enthusiast, but is like nothing in nature, save itself. Outre and yet beautiful is the greenness of the lake's sedgy fringe and the dinginess of its water, combined with the quaintness of outline and general appearance of the three islands, which, gnome-like, seem to mock the beholder.

"Amazement expands as the lower steps of the terrace are ascended, and the outlines of the glorious summit, crowned with clouds of vapour, become partially defined; whilst all around are crystal cups brimming with sky-blue water, contrasted with which the greenness of the lake deepens to jealous tint. Fairyland is pourtrayed by it, and the scene one that Mab herself, with Puck as henchman, might be charmed to preside over. With such vividness was this idea presented to us, that had the three islands suddenly become alive with fauns and satyrs, and fairies danced in groups on the steps of the terrace, and a lovely enchantress with outstretched wand had stood above all, beckoning us upwards, we should not have experienced the least surprise, but, hat in hand, picking our way amongst the groups of naiads and kelpies, would have followed the conductress wheresoever she might have led.

"Beautiful in itself, the charms of the White Terrace are enhanced fourfold by the grandeur of its setting. Loveliness, fascination, and the terrible, are its striking characteristics. Fold upon fold of purest white, the terrace covers the hill-side as with a mantle, is fringed with verdant shrubs, and surmounted by a cauldron of clearest, bluest water, that almost wooes the beholder to deadly embrace, and at the back of it, round the hill, are roaring, moaning, hissing, page 74 boiling, steam-holes and geysers, and hot springs, and mud holes, and the hill all over steams and fumes with the intensity of its internal heat."

The following are a few of the places of peculiar interest in connection with the White Terrace, "The Burning Hill," "Nga Hutu," "The Devil's Hole," "The Mud Springs," "The Green Pool," and "Whatapoho."