Page:Picturesque New Zealand, 1913.djvu/332

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.

passes through large sheep ranges, where people are seldom seen, and where, in a distance of seventy miles, there are only three hotels, which are from thirty to forty miles apart. Between Pukaki and the Hermitage the traveler may go twenty miles before meeting a human being; and as for trees, excepting where they have been planted at hotels and sheep stations, there are virtually none; while on the stone-littered Mackenzie Plains even the tussock grass grows poorly.

By this route I obtained my first good view of the Alps near the foot of Burke Pass. Forty miles away, over a yellow tussock sea, stretched a long, undulating line of white above one apparently interminable line of blue. For miles this sublime picture broke the monotony of plain and hill; and finally, after being obscured for some distance by rising ground, it was enhanced by a magnificent view of Aorangi.

Beyond Burke's Pass the first object of interest passed was Tekapo, highest of the principal lakes of New Zealand, which washes the base of the Two Thumb Range twenty-five miles from Fairlie. Tekapo lies more than twenty-three hundred feet above the sea, and its area is thirty-two square miles. Like Pukaki, thirty miles distant by road, it is fed by large and turbulent glacial streams, and these so discolor it that it looks like a basin of water-diluted milk.

Tekapo's grassed slopes are not inviting to lovers of sylvan shades, but much less inviting are the unfruitful benches of Pukaki. On Pukaki's southern shore,