Page:Picturesque New Zealand, 1913.djvu/288

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184
PICTURESQUE NEW ZEALAND

regular, and for about twenty miles is uninteresting. On this monotonous stretch of fern-matted benches all excursions on the lake begin, and here halt for a night all travelers to Milford Sound via Milford Track, which begins at the lake's head.

Te Anau lies in the bed of a glacier that extended from the lake's southern extremity to the head of the Clinton River, a distance of more than fifty miles. It is about forty miles long and nine hundred feet deep, and its surface is seven hundred feet above the sea. Although only from one mile to six miles wide, Te Anau has a coast-line two hundred and fifty miles long. Hundreds of years ago its southeastern shores were peopled by Maoris, but late in the eighteenth century they mysteriously disappeared. Now this, the only inhabited part of the lake, is mainly a sheep run.

In the beauty of its fiords Te Anau worthily compares with Manapouri. These are from eleven to sixteen miles long, and the entrance to each is set with wooded islands. South Fiord, the longest, is almost half as long as the lake's main body. It lies between the wild, broken ridges and peaks of the Kepler and Murchison Mountains, and it is remarkable for the chain of small lakes that drain into it. There are more than a dozen, and one lies within two miles of Gear Arm, Thompson Sound. The Middle Fiord, widest of the arms, has two branches and an extreme length of thirteen miles. North Fiord, lying between the Stuart and Franklin ranges, looks like a river in a canyon.