by John Bradshaw, J.P. 1883.
CHAPTER VIII. THE NEW ZEALAND ALPS.
The one feature which lends perhaps its greatest beauty to the Southern Island is the range of mountains, covered with perpetual snow, that stretches from the Southern Lakes in Otago in one unbroken chain almost to the Otira Gorge. This pass is situated on the high road between Hokitika and Christchurch, and is the principal way used when crossing from the east to the west coast. The highest point of this range is Mount Cook, attaining a height, according to some, of 13,000 feet according to others, of but 12,600 feet. However this may be, the comparatively slight elevation above the sea at which its actual base is situated, causes the mountain itself to assume a grandeur unknown to many snowcapped peaks of greater altitude. The New Zealand Alps, with their broken glaciers, rocky precipices, and virgin summits, present to the Alpine climber as tempting a field for the exercise of endurance and real "grit" as can be found in older haunts.
Between the higher and lower ranges two groups of lakes have been formed, the one in Otago, and the other in the so-called "Mackenzie country," a district which is part of the Province of Canterbury. The principal lakes in Otago are Lakes Wanaka and Hawea to the north, and Lake Wakatipu further south. On these several towns are situated, while steamers already ply on Wakatipu. Taking these lakes as a basis for operations, several mountain peaks are within easy distance. We may mention those of Earnshaw, 9165 feet high ; of Mount Aspiring, 9910 feet ; of Castor and Pollux, 8633 feet ; with many others of an almost equal altitude. Still further south are Lakes Te Anau and Makipori. Of them all Lake Wakatipu is the longest, covering in its sinuous course a length of more than forty-five statute miles. Te Anau presents a wider expanse, besides which its western shore is intersected by large arms running up between the mountains, after the manner of the fiords common to the coast of Norway. This group of lakes is approached from Dunedin by those who wish to commence their tour from the north, and from Invercargill by those to whom the southern route is more convenient.
The Canterbury lakes, consisting of Lakes Tekapo, Pukaki, and Ohau, lie more or less near to the base of Mount Cook, Mount Darwin, and other peaks around. Amidst these ranges are to be found the celebrated Tasman and Godley glaciers. We confess that our own days of Alpine climbing are long since past and gone ; that at the best we never became much more than the summer tourist; that the "arete" of the Weiss-Thor was the most dangerous work which ever fell to our lot, whilst the Ober-Aar-Jock was the most uncomfortable, thanks to the Oberland guides, who insisted upon hauling our person over the rocks as if it had been a kitten at the end of a string. Yet only once to have gone down a "crevasse," not knowing where the fall might end, until, jerked up by trusty guides, one found oneself again in the light of day, gives more idea of the difficulties which beset the path of the mountaineer than could be learned without that grim experiment. Although then our experience has been limited, we will undertake to say that in the Tasman and Godley glaciers, with their surrounding peaks, the mountaineer will have work cut out worthy of the first sealer of the Matterhorn. Lake Tekapo is generally reached by the high road passing over Burke's Pass, which, running through Fairlie Creek, Albury, and Pleasant Point, takes its start from Timaru.
Many smaller lakes than those mentioned are scattered here and there over the
country, but those mentioned are most noticed by tourists. From all we have
heard, or gathered from photographs, the scenery about the Otira Gorge offers
great attractions to travellers in the Southern Island. Not that its beauty is
Alpine as the country already indicated ; but it is described as possessing a
character all its own, its native forests and tree ferns giving in summer almost
the idea of subtropical vegetation. Whether such a description be right or
wrong, " the gorge "is no doubt one of those things which the traveller ought to
"do." While on the subject of scenery the hot lakes in the North Island must not
But "the tourist element," said a public man, as quoted by the Timaru Herald, "is going to be one of the chief factors in our prosperity." The Herald is inclined to think that the public man was not far wrong, and goes on to state that " This may at first sight be thought an insignificant source of wealth to a colony of the importance of New Zealand ; but if it consists, as it undoubtedly does for all practical purposes, of an accession of several thousands of rich people, it manifestly signifies a great deal. In our opinion and we are not altogether without data to go upon it already produces an appreciable effect upon the revenue." Individually we have but little doubt that the exhilarating air, our beautiful scenery and bright climate, will offer, as time rolls on, sufficient attractions to the Australian to cause him to visit spots where he may secure a thorough change from the parching heats of his own home. New Zealand is distant from Australia but four days by steam, and the communication between the two countries presents each year greater facilities, combined with gradually extending mercantile relations. The American comes it is difficult to say why or wherefore, except on the supposition that he comes to drink the waters. Many young Englishmen too are to be found travelling about the country for pleasure, and perhaps instruction.
When we recall to mind what Switzerland was forty years ago, and compare her then condition with her present, we cannot fail to realize the large amount of riches that the habitual traveller can pour into a country which he has selected for an annual playground. It is probable that hotels for summer use will be built in beautiful localities, where at present only rock and tussock can be seen. Perhaps in days to come the story of our camping out may possess no greater significance for the traveller than the already almost forgotten coaching reminiscences of our grandfathers and grandmothers.
In our case the camping out was to be of short duration, and the preliminary preparations occupied but little time. Our "buggies," a generic term in the colony for every description of vehicle on springs short of the "express" waggon, were carefully overhauled, all loose bolts screwed tight, and the wheels well oiled. Our horses' feet were seen to, and loading operations were commenced. The kit which it was thought necessary to take consisted of leather bags, containing a change of raiment, rolls of rugs and blankets in which to sleep, water-proof sheeting to prevent the damp from rising during the night, tents with their poles strapped to the sides of the buggies, tether ropes for the horses, with iron pins for securing those ropes at night. The above, and "billies" in which to cook and make the tea, a small hatchet, a screw wrench, a little oil, and some spare rope, comprised the gentlemen's part of the preparations. To the ladies fell the victualling department, and this, it is almost needless to say, was well attended to. Tinned salmon, bloater paste, cakes, bread, jam, butter, and a round of cold corned beef as a piece de resistance, provided ample security against starvation. Plates, spoons, knives and forks, and other necessary implements, were not forgotten ; nor, wonderful to say, were pepper, salt, and mustard. Added to these an allowance of flour and baking-powder with which to make scones in case the bread fell short, and our victualling department was a miracle of forethought, well worthy the attention of an army commissariat staff. Hidden away in one of the traps was a bottle of Hollands for the parting cup at night. Before setting out on our homeward route we sincerely wished that the bottle had been two.
The party consisted of four ladies and three gentlemen, one of the latter a boy from school, whose duty it was to make himself generally useful. A cheerful young fellow, best known by the pseudonym of "Bruny," joined us en route, and acted as out-rider and chef-de-cuisine. To make such an expedition as ours successful, it is very desirable for its component members to be fairly intimate, and of a cheerful disposition. This was certainly the case in the present instance; and we all look back on our "camping out," as one of many pleasant episodes.
The first day's journey was forty-eight miles from point to point, and terminated at the pretty station- house of Ashwick. Leaving Timaru, and skirting the New Zealand and Australian Land Company's Station of the Levels a large estate comprising about 80,000 acres the first village reached was Pleasant Point, a place of some importance, and including among its buildings two hotels, a railway station, both a Scotch and English church, a public cemetery, and public park. The latter at present is in the condition of some American cities, very imposing on paper, but as a matter of fact existing in little more than name. In the locality are many good residences, with farms attached. Passing on we camped for the mid-day halt a mile or two beyond the "Cave" a solitary hotel and railway station, looking dreary and uninviting in its lonely desolation. We had taken the precaution to borrow a feed of oats from a friend's stable by the way, and whilst we attended to the horses, the ladies boiled the "billy." On this occasion, but on this occasion only, we enjoyed the luxury of a table-cloth for table-cloths being considered unnecessary to camp life, the destiny of the present one was to be relegated almost immediately to the service of the washing-up department. The ladies were but "letting us down gently," as an artist of our acquaintance used to say when caught with an early B. and S., from the refinements of civilization to the rougher experiences of the camp. Before we broke up the final camp at the Pukaki, we began to think that if we were ever again to become respectable members of a refined society it was time to make a start homewards. As day succeeded day, and meal followed meal, our "table" was spread with more regard for the useful, and less for the aesthetic. Each began to look after his or her individual necessities more than after general effect. Camping out is very pleasant, but also demoralizing. After a pleasant halt, our General who by the way was a retired officer of the Royal Navy, and quite at sea when commanding field forces of mixed sexes gave the order to proceed. But the young lady portion of the brigade required two or three separate and distinct commands before resuming their allotted seats. At last we were away, and rolling along in quiet vetturino fashion towards Albury, a small settlement, and the present terminus of the Timaru and Albury branch line. It consists of a store, a blacksmith's shop, two or three houses, and two somewhat pretentious hotels. To the ordinary mind, one hotel would have been thought sufficient under the surrounding circumstances. Here a halt was made, during which the ladies filled their pockets with "lollies," and the gentlemen made an opportunity for a quiet " nip."
Leaving Albury, the road followed the course of the new railway works, which, when completed, will carry the line about fourteen miles further, to a new terminus at the village of Fairlie Creek. Shortly, the hills between which we had been travelling began to recede, leaving a pleasant and fertile valley, dotted with numerous well- to-do-looking homesteads. These followed us until the valley once more contracted, at a point where the road commenced slowly to ascend towards Burke's Pass. At Fairlie Creek another short halt was ordered by the commander-in-chief, for the avowed purpose of buying some twine wherewith the better to secure his hat. But this done, a quiet beckon with the fore-finger brings us once more face to face with the question, "Well, what will you take?" "I can't think," said one of the young ladies, "what business father can have at all these places." Possibly not, but the business, whatever it was, was not of that intoxicating character which the uninitiated reader might be led to expect. The glasses were very small, the liquor much diluted, and the price of sixpence a glass unproportionally exorbitant, when viewed with regard to the actual alcohol. It must be remembered too, that coffee and milk had formed the mid-day beverage, instead of the "Sherry, sir ? " of the modern luncheon table. Just as daylight began to fail, we arrived at our destination for the night Ashwick. Situated at the foot of a rather steep hill, embowered among luxuriantly growing conifers and deciduous trees, Ashwick presents a good type of the run- holder's home in New Zealand. Before the hall door a well-grassed lawn slopes towards a pleasant stream, while a verandah, adorned with the spoils and implements of the chase, running the length of the entire front, gives an idea of comfort agreeable to the senses. Needless to say, we were received with the proverbial hospitality. Ashwick presents to those fortunate enough to have been sheltered beneath its roof, a homelike welcome quite its own. At many stations we meet with well-furnished rooms, good libraries, and the ordinary accompaniments of a refined life. Here something more is to be found. It is not that money has been expended in lavish profusion ; perhaps had such been the case the charm would have been broken ; but we find what money cannot buy, and seem under the subtle influence of artistic genius. We are recalled once more to scenes familiar in far distant lands, whether it be by the photograph of our old school-chapel, or by the familiar faces to be met with in the drawing-room album : by the pictures hanging upon the walls, copies and mementos of our academies ; or may be by those little nothings which, collected during a long course of travel, and comparatively valueless in themselves, possess from old associations a special value to their owner. All these and suchlike things recall scenes far different from the present, and remind us of a culture which can be met with only at the centre of the Old World. Let art, we thought, pursue her way amid difficulties and inevitable discouragements, rejoicing in the thought that after all her influence may be world wide, and give to people unknown a better idea of the ethereal and sublime.
The next morning opened with a relentless drizzle, precluding all idea of departure. It looked as if we were in for a three days south-wester. Ourselves, a party of seven, with two other casuals in the house, we were sponging upon our host's kindness. But we were in for it, and had to manage as best we could. Being self-invited we were hardly in the position of invited guests. The morning we wiled away by smoking, and eating figs plucked from the verandah trellis. Most of the afternoon was spent in the display of some rather extraordinary acrobatic feats upon the ropes of the woodshed hoist. The evening was devoted to dancing. Nothing would content our host, who is himself a perfect performer, but that the carpet should be taken up in the drawing-room. We are sorry to say that the talents of the male sex were hardly up to the requirements of the occasion. But there was one dear old fellow, very amiable, but very large, who performed most successfully ; and it was interesting to watch how light his step, when compared to his specific gravity. His movements almost bordered on the graceful, and would have put to shame many a man of lighter build. After the ladies had retired, a few songs, a couple of speeches, and "Auld Lang Syne," with hands united, sung in honour of one of the number who was about to pay a visit to the old home, concluded what was, in spite of the weather, a most enjoyable day. Could we but repeat the little jokes which were played, or the intermittent chaff which was thrown about, we should give a much better idea than we have done of station life under difficulties, and of the harmless fun, which is one of the characteristics of the colony. But better as it is. The fun, good in itself, would hardly bear repeating, when removed from its surroundings.
Next morning gave promise of better weather, and we started after breakfast, if not overwhelmed by showers of rice and satin slippers, yet still accompanied by the good wishes of those we left behind. After a pretty drive of eight miles we arrived at Burke's Pass, where we were most hospitably entertained by the engineer of the Mount Cook Road Board, who resides there in a most comfortable house, with his wife and family. Burke's Pass is a pleasant little place, with its houses situated on either side of what we can compare to nothing better than an English country green. It is situated some 500 feet below the top of the Pass, and contains a church, schools, the inevitable hotel, and several other buildings. The tout-ensemble gives more idea of home and the old country than many a more extensive and important place. Being on the high road to the Mackenzie country, and a necessary halting-place for travellers, a considerable traffic passes through at certain seasons of the year.
Soon we top the Pass, and are looking down upon the Mackenzie Plain. The day is lovely, the sky a pure blue, but a spur of the mountains to the right shuts out from view Mount Cook and the snow-capped ranges. After a drive of some twelve miles, we breast the ridge and immediately Lake Tekapo, with Mount Cook in the distance, opens to the view. The lake lies at our feet. On our right, a station house, surrounded by trees and built upon a small peninsula, presenting from its narrow neck almost the appearance of an island, forms a fore-ground. On our left, the new bridge which spans the outlet of the lake, and the hotel, with its gardens, stabling, and surroundings, perform the same office. The setting sun has just begun to bathe the hills with a flooded light, the atmosphere is perfectly clear, with the exception of one solitary dense white cloud, which nestling in a mountain valley appeared held down by an almost supernatural power so clear were the peaks above it. The effect was very fine, and Tekapo is certainly a beautiful lake, but hardly equal to Pukaki, at least from the bottom end. A few moments spent in enjoying the calm and beauteous scene, and we are away across the bridge, standing at the hotel door.
Such a well-ordered hotel too, it was a dear little Scotch wife attending to all that was necessary indoors, whilst her husband divided his attention between the bar and stables. Nursing by times her baby, and by times attending to her guests, it struck us all that, if that woman failed in life it would be her husband'sfault, not hers. There was much to attend to that evening. A four-in-hand from Geraldine, consisting of a fine team of chestnuts, imported from Sydney, had just deposited five guests, exclusive of the groom. We formed a party of eight, for "Bruny " had joined us by the way. An American lecturer and two young Englishmen, who were travelling a cheval, with gun-cases at saddle-bow, completed the party. The two latter, with guns and "swag," could hardly, we presume, do more than travel at a walk, and "Bruny " incontinently pronounced them to be " new chums." As a rule, " new chums " have but little chaff to encounter. We have had a cadet who looked as much like an old chum on the day of his arrival as he does to-day. But if a new hand elects to go to festive gatherings of the "gentle shepherds " with spats beneath his trousers, he must expect to suffer. We always thought the fashion of wearing spats affected and idiotic in young men, even at home. If it appeared so there, what effect must it not have upon the dwellers in a back country ? Adding up the numbers, it will be seen that our hostess had to provide for sixteen guests in the parlour, besides any servants or teamsters in the hall. She was fully equal to the occasion, and if dinner was a little late, it was, when served, quite worthy of her reputation. Remember we were far up country, where travellers arrive in uncertain numbers, and where the facilities for catering to their wants are naturally few. Strolling about that night in the clear moonlight, we could not but compare the present surroundings with those of many a small Swiss hotel amid the mountains in days gone by. In both cases we saw nature in one of her grandest forms in both cases all that was wanted to make the rock evolve its hidden gold was man. As in Switzerland, the natural beauty of the country has conduced to its present prosperity, so in the mountain valleys of New Zealand the same cause must gradually be effective. It is difficult to conceive that men who live so near to a second Switzerland, distant but 100 or 200 miles from their very doors, can hesitate long before turning such an opportunity to a profit. We cannot but think that the few pioneers who have already tested its advantages will prove the forerunners of comparatively large numbers.
The most prominent object at Tekapo is the handsome bridge which crosses the river close to the spot where it issues from the lake. This has lately been erected by the Mount Cook Road Board, at a cost, including the approaches, of about 7000l. The Board recoups itself for the expenditure by charging a small toll, which is cheerfully paid in consideration of the great convenience afforded. A single horseman is charped one shilling, a carriage and pair three shillings, while foot passengers can pass free of toll. The principle of the bridge is suspension ; but it is rendered almost perfectly rigid by being directly suspended on three ropes on either side, instead of on one. The longest ropes passing over the heads of solid stone-and-concrete piers, almost meet near the centre. The other two also passing over the piers, meet the roadway at points which make the spaces between the point of contact of the first rope, themselves, and the bases of the piers equidistant. By this principle we should conceive that an equal bearing power is given to the whole length of the structure. The rigidity is further increased by timbers that support the bridge from beneath, their heads far out over the stream, which runs swift and strong below, their bases resting against the foot of the piers. The sole designer and architect of the bridge was Mr. Marchant, the engineer to the Road Board. Mr. Marchant has also designed a bridge to span the Ohau, another river, in the Mackenzie country, and which the board may probably begin before long. This design, which we had the pleasure of inspecting in the offices at Burke's Pass, appears a model of strength, combined with cheapness in construction.
Next morning the sun shone warm and bright, no cloud visible, save our friend of the previous evening, still resting in the little mountain valley, where it seemed determined to make a permanent abode. That cloud began to haunt us. By what persistency could it keep its solid cumulus unbroken when all around was bright and clear? Driving over the Mackenzie plain, we forded two or three creeks and rivers, passing, as we travelled along, several of the up-country stations. We had been led to expect that we should find but rough- and-tumble buildings : instead of these we saw comfortable houses, surrounded by trees and trim paddocks. The present aspect of the country is wild in the extreme, and the only signs of life which we encountered were a few stray sheep and horses, with a couple of bullock teams taking heavy bales of wool down to Albury. However wild the country may seem at present, it is capable of better things. We have the authority of the Government surveyor for stating that he has tasted good fruit here. We have ourselves seen a fine sample of wheat grown at one of the stations, whilst it is well known that good oats, mangolds, and turnips can be produced. Certain kinds of trees grow luxuriantly so soon as they have obtained sufficient hold upon the soil. It is alleged that the winters make the country too cold for farming purposes, and strong nor'-westers during summer make it too dangerous. But what cannot thehand of man accomplish ? The soil is in many parts rich, and the summer warm, if short. The country which it most nearly resembles is Sweden, and Sweden, we know, produces excellent cereals. Ignorance, and perhaps vested interests, tend to delay settlement ; but when the railway is carried beyond Fairlie Creek to Burke's Pass, and perhaps to Tekapo, we venture to predict that a fair future lies before this generally despised district.
A somewhat tedious drive of twenty-eight miles was all forgotten when the beautiful panorama that gradually unfolded itself as we skirted the shores of Lake Pukaki, occupied our sole attention. The sun lit up a scene on which the eye could dwell with long and undiminished pleasure. As a foreground, the ferry house with its island garden, and the ferry itself, with one or two boats lying in the stream, gave life to the picture. Out upon the lake a few small islands, covered with scrub and venerable trees, gave strength to the middle distance ; and as a background Mount Cook towered heavenwards, its peak some thirty miles beyond the further extremity of the lake, but looking in the liquid atmosphere as if it sprang perpendicularly from its very surface. The snow-line appeared to descend almost to the level of the water. Seldom, if ever, can a giant mountain be seen in such perfection standing alone in the full splendour of its white-robed glory. Here no lower ranges intercept the view or detract from its pure symmetry. The minor peaks on either side, snow-capped as itself, served but to lend a greater grandeur to the principal object in the landscape. What an unrivalled situation, we thought, for a new Lucerne or Thun ! What fair beauties, hidden from the gaze of all but a favoured few! But the sun was already verging towards the horizon, the ferry had got to be crossed, and the camp pitched. Let us away then for the moment. The duties entailed by travelling in a country where hotels are not, and servants are distant, must be attended to. After crossing the ferry, a site for the camp was soon chosen, conveniently near to the river bank ; horses were tethered, and the ladies' tent erected. The pot was soon boiling merrily on a blazing fire, lighted at the foot of a grand old boulder. We colonials, accustomed at all times to do many things for ourselves, felt quite at home under these circumstances, and our halting-place soon presented all the appearance of an old-established camp. Those dear old camping days ! The perfect freedom from care of that camp life ; the merry jest and yarn told at night as we lay stretched at length round the flickering flame; the pleasure of the passing hour the source of many a future reminiscence ! If hotels be built upon the very spot, the luxury may be greater, the expense certainly more considerable ; but where then will be the perfect freedom, the self-reliant " camaraderie," which can only exist under the open vault of heaven ? But even in a camp troubles will not altogether forbear us. During breakfast next morning, our horses, having broken their tether, trotted gently past. "Halloo!" said our commander; "there go your horses." "Never mind," we said, " don't bother about them ; they'll stop and browse on the other side of the hill; we can get them after breakfast," But could we ? Not at all ; the wilful brutes must have felt the pleasure of an unaccustomed freedom, and started at once full tilt on a voluntary gallop of fifteen miles. For hours we toiled over that hot plain, lured by hazy objects, which looked at a distance like horses quietly feeding, but which, on a nearer approach, proved to be but weather-worn boulders.
To make a long story short, we did not get them back for two days, when the ferry man kindly secured them for us. The sensation of being horseless in a wild country, like the one we were in, is not pleasant. The probability is discussed as to whether the animals will cross the rivers or not ; whether they may not work their way back to the country where they were foaled or reared. Their instinct in this respect stops little short of the marvellous. When once they break from camp, a frequent occurrence, they are often not to be found until they turn up browsing in the accustomed paddock as quietly as if it had never been left. The "Donkey," for so was " Bruny's" horse christened by the young people, for no reason that we could learn except that he was so long-suffering and forbearing, was the only one of the animals which behaved with perfect decency. If the Donkey did break his tether, he was always to be found with his nose in the oat-sack, or quietly nibbling at the grass in the best pasture he could find. He often got loose when wanting water, but after satisfying his thirst, he invariably returned to his favourite feeding-ground. Would that all horses were in this respect like the "Donkey." Owing to the loss of our horses, the further extension of the trip to Lake Ohau had to be abandoned, but we believe that lake to possess its own wild beauty. Our time was, however, fully occupied by the necessary camp duties and pleasant boating excursions on the lake. On the latter occasions the "General" assumed the more appropriate duties of High Admiral, but we fear that he had an awful crowd of lubbers for a crew. Something of this kind used to take place. He would sing out "Starboard your helm ! Starboard, can't you ? Don't you see you are taking us bow on to that rock ? "To whom the helmsman, "Which is starboard, father?" "Put your helm to the right, can't your" came the order. Or when the admiral was at the helm himself, and was endeavouring to make the port in true seaman- like fashion : "Ship your oars!" he would shout ; when of course some fair rower would persist in leaving hers at right angles to the gunwale. After repeated commands we did sometimes manage to bring-to pretty creditably, although the admiral would insist upon giving orders with a pipe between his teeth, which may partly account for a somewhat indistinct utterance and the consequent confusion. We may casually mention that it has not yet been ascertained whether the admiral or the writer are the greatest smokers in South Canterbury. But if we both have a weakness, it is for "baccy." One day our camp was enlivened by the arrival of a party of three ladies and three gentlemen, on their way to the Tasman Glacier. The united muster of buggies and horses caused it to present quite an important appearance. We lunched together, and thoroughly enjoyed such a social gathering in the wilds. Perhaps the magnificent chicken pasty, and excellent preserved milk, which the strangers brought luxuries unknown to our camp gave an additional zest to the meal. It was a sad day when the hour arrived for breaking up camp and returning, on our tracks. Sadder still when we gave one long last look upon the dear Pukaki Lake and its beautiful surroundings. But we were supported by the hope, which it is to be trusted may be realized, of a similar expedition to be organized in the future.
The Irish Times, Monday July 22, 1889
Fairlie Creek is a village located on the edge of the Ashwick Flat which is bounded on one side by the Two Thumb range, rising to Fox's Peak to 7,009 feet, and on the other by Mount Four Peaks and The Brothers Hills, while at the back the Albury Hill closes in the circuit. A week could be well spent here, as the hills abound in gorges and rocky peaks, and the rivers in trout. In winter wild fowl shooting maybe had and when the swamps are frozen a day's pukaki shooting is very good sport. In the old days when Melville Gray lived at Ashwick Station and both there and at Three springs, just opposite, every visitor was very welcome. Pig hunting in the ranges, blue duck shooting in the Opihi Gorge, and pukaki down in the river bed. What a merry party there used to be. Melville Gray himself, the first; Lachlan Macpherson, from the far off valley of Hakatarmera; Richardson, from Albury; John Raine, from Sherwood Downs, "Geordie" Black and Charlie Delamain and dozens of others whose names are household words to everyone who knew anything of the South Island in those days.