Page:Picturesque New Zealand, 1913.djvu/234

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150
PICTURESQUE NEW ZEALAND

cuttings, and steep grades; and some tunnels and more regrades are yet to come. In one respect, that of lofty homes, Wellington surpasses Seattle and closely approaches San Francisco. Some of its residences are nearly seven hundred feet above the sea, and back of the city proper are many unoccupied building sites on higher elevations.

On its gorse- and broom-sprinkled hills of yellow clay and soft brown rock, Wellington's residential quarter occupies a commanding position, yet not from any one point is the whole of it, or of the city, visible. Much of it is hidden in canyons and narrow valleys and by curving hills. Although the city has a certain shut-in appearance, its hills have a charm peculiarly their own. They afford a grandeur of outlook which, though limited, is inspiring. Rising at every point of the compass, they form a mighty amphitheatre, of which the sea is the floor. On their slopes, in city and in pretty suburbs, are many exclusive homes, some standing in new, exposed grounds, others half revealing themselves behind imported trees. The whole effect is brightened with hundreds of red roofs.

In the lower part of the city. Government buildings and massive fronts of banks and hotels make an imposing appearance in an architectural way. With the exception of a part of Lambton Quay, the main business streets are narrow. Indeed, it is this very narrowness which lends impressiveness to many of the principal buildings. These thoroughfares are paved with blocks surfaced with tar and sand or shingle. The residential