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A Cruise In The Islands: Tonga, Samoa, Fiji

The Company's Trades

The Company's Trades.

The Trades in which the Company's Fleet is regularly employed are:—
1.Intercolonial Trade between New Zealand and Australia.
2.Intercolonial Trade between Australia and Tasmania.
3.Intercolonial Trade between New Zealand, Australia, and South Sea Islands.
4.Coastal Trade of New Zealand.
5.Cargo Trade between New Zealand and Calcutta.
6.San Francisco Mail Service.

The most important of these is the Intercolonial passenger and cargo trade between New Zealand and Australia. This is maintained by a fleet of ten steamers, which provides a weekly service between East Coast ports of New Zealand and Melbourne, a weekly service between East Coast ports and Sydney, and an additional weekly service between East Coast ports of the South Island and Sydney. In carrying out these, a steamer leaves Melbourne every week for New Zealand, calling at Holart (Tasmania) en route. Her first port of call in New Zealand is Bluff, whence she proceeds to Dunedin, Lyttleton, Wellington, Napier, Gisborne, Auckland, and thence across to Sydney, occupying nineteen days on the trip, and travelling 3765 miles. Similarly a steamer leaves Sydney every week carrying out the same service in the opposite direction. Additional communication with Sydney is secured by the weekly sailing of a steamer from Dunedin, which calls at Lyttelton and Wellington, proceeding thence direct to Sydney, occupying seven days en the trip, and travelling page break 1612 miles. Weekly departures are similarly made from Sydney for Dunedin over the same route reversed. Occasionally the complete circuit is made by the Company's steamers crossing between Melbourne and Sydney, but the journey between these two ports is usually made by rail, or by one of the several lines of steamers that run regularly between Melbourne and Sydney, and with which the Company has arranged special transhipment rates of fare. In the round trip, the passenger has ample opportunity of making himself acquainted with the several ports of call, as the steamer remains in each port during the day, while at Dunedin and Auckland she remains over night.

In the Intercolonial trade between Tasmania and Australia there are four steamers employed. A steamer runs twice a week between Launceston and Melbourne, a distance of 277 miles, the trip occupying a day and a night; another runs between Hobart and Sydney every ten days, a distance of 623 miles, making the trip in two days and nights, while a third runs at -regular intervals between Launceston and Sydney, via West Coast ports, and a fourth between North-west ports and Melbourne. In addition to these, there is weekly connection between Hobart and Melbourne by the steamers which call there en route to and from Melbourne and New Zealand.

The South Sea Island services of the Company are growing in importance each year, and travellers by means of these enjoy opportunities of visiting the beautiful and interesting groups of the South Pacific that were undreamed of a few years ago. There are four passenger steamers engaged regularly in this trade, and these are supplemented by occasional cargo steamers during the sugar season.

A steamer leaves Auckland every four weeks for the Fiji Islands, the round trip occupying fifteen days, five of which are spent in the group, the distance run being 2400 miles. During the winter season, the best time of the year to visit the Islands, the steamer remains a few days longer at Fiji. One of the Company's steamers is stationed in the Fiji group, and runs regular services between the more important islands. Once a month a steamer leaves Auckland for the Tongan and Samoan groups, the trip occupying about 21 days, and the distance run being 3300 miles. During the winter excursion season the steamer proceeds from Samoa to Fiji and returns to Auckland via Tonga. This trip occupies about 26 days, during which the more important islands of the different groups are visited, the distance run being 3800. A steamer leaves Sydney every four weeks for. Fiji, Samoa, and Tonga, the round trip occupying twenty-four to twenty-six days, and the distance run being 4880 miles.

The services of the Company on the New Zealand coast are too numerous and frequent to particularise. A large number of steamers are engaged in them exclusively, and, these being supplemented by the services of the Intercolonial steamers, there is almost daily com- page break munication between the principal ports. A considerable number of the Company's steamers are employed in the coal and cargo trade between the Colonies, and on the coast of New Zealand, and in 1887 the Directors embarked in the trade between New Zealand and Calcutta, shipping horses from the Colony, and bringing back jute goods and other Eastern lines for the New Zealand market.

The Company are joint contractors with the Oceanic Steamship Company of San Francisco for the San Francisco mail service. A steamer leaves Sydney every fourth Monday for Auckland, Apia, Honolulu, and San Francisco. The steamers engaged in this service are the Monowai (3433 tons), Alameda (3000 tons), and Mariposa (3000 tons), and the voyage is usually made in 24 days, including stoppages. The through route from the Colonies to Europe by this line is now popularly known as the "A. and A. Route" (American and Australian route), and not the least valuable of its attractions is the privilege which those who travel by it enjoy of using the Union Company's Intercolonial and South Sea Island Services in conjunction with the mail steamers. They are permitted to proceed in advance by any of the Company's steamers, joining the mail boat at any port en route, or they can leave the mail steamer and complete their voyage at pleasure by the Company's ordinary services.

In the regular trades of the Company, there may be included the Annual Excursions to the West Coast Sounds of New Zealand. These have been run without interruption since 1877, and from small beginnings have developed into trips that attract excursionists from all parts of the world. During January and February of each year, the steamer Tarawera makes two (and occasionally three) trips, each occupying nine days from Dunedin, during which the most attractive of the Sounds are visited. She remains two days in Milford Sound, to give excursionists an opportunity of visiting the Sutherland Falls, to which a comparatively easy track has been made by the Government of New Zealand. The social enjoyment of passengers is made a special feature of these excursions, the whole trip taking the form of an extended picnic.