Glenorchy and Kinloch, the heads of navigation, soared a group of lofty, snow-clad mountains. There was the mighty, sprawling mass of Earnslaw (9165 feet), chief of them all; there was the huge bulk of Somnus; the fearful precipices of Mount Knox; and the impressive heights of Cosmos. These and other colossal forms were tumbled about as though dropped indiscriminately from the sky.
Bold Peak, one of them was called; but they were all bold peaks, standing out clearly defined and rising from six thousand to nine thousand feet. From the steamer the two peaks of Earnslaw seemed to rest on a rim half encircling their foundation. This rim was like the wall of a fractured basin, the floor of which was white with snow. Below the snow-line was a dense beech forest, which continued westward to the sea and southward to Fiordland.
Beyond the Crown Range, forty-eight miles northeast of Queenstown, is the river-like Wanaka, by some regarded as New Zealand's prettiest lake. A few miles from it is the large, rectangular Lake Hawea, famed for its deer stalking. Wanaka is thirty-five miles long, its surface is more than nine hundred feet above the sea, and its maximum depth is about one thousand feet. At its southern end it is so rambling that it resembles a greatly indented interrogation point.
Wanaka is surrounded by mountains from five thousand to nearly eight thousand feet high; and back of these leaps the glistening Aspiring (9975 feet), highest of all