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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 45

Otukapuarangi, or the Pink Terrace

Otukapuarangi, or the Pink Terrace.

About a mile distance from the White Terrace is, situated the Pink Terrace. Mr. Chantrey Harris thus describes this remarkable place:

"The terrace is of comparatively regular formation; the steps are massive, and, excepting the upper five, are level on the surface—not cupped like those of the White Terrace. They are covered with silicious incrustations, laid on with marvellous skill and cunning by that engraver of engravers, old Nature. Some of the steps are quite 10 feet high, and draped in front with incrustations superbly chiselled, and at the bottom fringed with stalactites. They may be compared to massive embossings and they fall like curtains in front of cavernous hollows in the steps, for if the latter are not cupped, many of them are hollow underneath, and the sides and ceilings of the hollows are covered with fretted work of silica, alum, and lime, with patches of sulphur just here and there. These cavities were once full of stalactitic growth, nearly all of which, however, has been removed by specimen hunters.

"Combined with the marvellous rippling, and engraving, and delicate tracery most fantastically laid on the steps, the great charm of the terrace is its colour, a delicate pink, but a delicate pink only in places. No visitor unbiassed by preconceived notions can fail to detect a dirty whiteness in others. Evidently, it is discolouration, the effect, we were informed, of a large fire amongst the dried fern, the burnt fragments of which were blown by the wind all over the steps, and so marred them, for dark marks of any kind made upon the steps are soon coated with silica and rendered page 75 indelible. Hence the pencilled names with which two of the steps are covered, are permanently set by a transparent coating of silicious varnish.

" Like the White Terrace, the Pink has a beautiful brow and summit. There, five of the steps are cupped and filled with water of lovely blue, and are also superb bathing-places in calm weather, when the water is thoroughly hot. But during stormy weather the water seems to be driven back to its source, and the pools of the steps are comparatively cool.

" The cauldron of the terrace is an extensive pool, 50 yards by 40 yards, about. Its condition of heat may be described rather as simmering, than boiling. At least, so we found it, and attributed the fact, in some measure, to the prevailing weather, for the wind was high, and light rain showers swept across the landscape. The pools of the upper steps were also only comfortably warm; and so, as we were bathing, and desirous of a higher temperature, we crawled along the top of the terrace to within twenty yards of the cauldron, but soon had to beat a retreat, when a more than usually copious overflowing occurred.

" Very charming indeed is the edging of the cauldron. It may be likened to pink rolls of moss-like corallines, upon which the hot blue water splashes and ripples."

The terraces may be comfortably inspected in a day, and a return may be effected to Wairoa. A walk or ride of 10 miles from the latter place takes the tourist back to Ohinemutu. A couple of pretty lakes are passed on the road, and a number of beautiful scenes can be inspected on the route.

The following passages from "Ranolf and Amohia," may not be out of place here, as they serve to illustrate the beauties of the terraces.