NEW PLYMOUTH TO WELLINGTON" OVERLAND.
A JOURNEY IN COBB'S COACH. The following is the conclusion of Mr. Giflford's account of his journey to Wellington in Cobb'g coach :—: — The Whenaakurn was crossed by a punt, and some smaller streams on rough bridges. We passed through WAIBOA, where there is a considerable neighbourhood, a public house, a store, and a redoubt, and on through rich level agricultural country to the banks of the Waitotara. This is a large stream, and its valley is of considerable extent and rare beauty. On an eminence on the opposite bank conld be seen the far-famed Wereroa redoubt, and I much regretted not being able to visit it. Descending from the terrace by a long side cutting, we reached Kelt's Hotel, twenty miles from Patea, where we had dinner, and changed horses. Crossing the river by a punt, we ascended to the tableland again and on to Nukuraaru, passing within one hundred yards of Tito Kowaru's celebrated pah at Tauranga Ika, now only a series of earthen mounds. The country is peculiarly favorable for military operations, and it seems singular that the place was not invested on all sides. The view from this spot is beautiful, several lakes adding to the picturesque appearance of the landscape. FEARFUL STATE OF THE ROADS. The most direct route to Wanganui is by Woodall's redoubt, but the absence of a bridge over the Kai Iwi, which the Inspector or Engineer of the district roads has been bungling at for some months, compels the coach to make a detonr by the mouth of the river. This involves travelling over a mile or two of sand hammocks, where the pnlling is frightful, and descending a dangerous bank on to the beach, in order to cross the Kai I wi . This can only be accomplished at low water, and the coach has frequently to wait for hours before a crossing can be effected. We were fortunate in hitting the tide, but were obliged to walk up an execrable hill on the other side, reaching on the top O'Hanlon's publichouse, a very uninviting hostelry, forming a small island in a sea of mud and filth. For the next five miles the road was in a most disgraceful state. It lay in a lane between hedges, and the horses plunged and floundered through it generally up to their bellies, and the coach axle deep. Of course, progress was slow nnder such circumstances, and night was falling when got on to a little firmer gronnd in the neighbourhood of Westmere. But in reality we found nothing to call good road until we got into Victoria Avenue. I was much rejoiced when I found myself at last in really comfortable quarters at the Rutland Hotel, under the fostering care of Host Chavannes, and I made the most of my opportunity. WANGANUI. Monday, the fourth day of my journey, proved clear and fine, and having secnred a box seat on Mr. Young's seat, I walked across the new bridge over the Wanganui Eiver, which I found to be a really fine structure, fast verging on completion. I do not think there is any similar work in the Colony which will bear comparison with it ; it is in every respect superior to the much vaunted bridge over the Tamaki at Panmnre. Although it is only passable for people on foot, no time has been lost in levying tolls, and, trnth to tell, the charge is pretty stiff — three halfpenoe each way, and after or before certain hours threepence. No doubt the Government have in view showing as large a snm as possible in receipts, when the tolls are put up to tender. ON TO WELLINGTON. The coach, full of passengers, started after 7 o'clock at a spanking pace, and to me the brighb cheerful morning, the rapid yet easy motion, and the capital road, formed altogether a most delightful change from my experiences of the last few days. The road between Wanganui and Wellington being so often travelled, and the public having abundantly proved by their large patronage how much they appreciate Mr. Young's well-appointed line of coaches, any praise of mine would be snperfluons ; but I may venture an opinion that uutil the great Yogel railway is opened for traffic, no better or more pleasant mode of overland travelling can possibly be fouud. cobb's coaches. It is worthy of notice that during all the journey from New Plymouth to Wanganui, along; most difficult and trying roads, not a single misadventure occurred, no horse — even doing twenty-five mile stages — offered to "jib," nor did a strap or buckle of the harness break, ergo, it may fairly be assumed that horses, coaches, and harness are good, and the drivers up to their > work. lam not prepared to say that this service is worth to the Colony the £3,000 annually bestowed upon it as a subsidy ; but I certainly consider it an important step in the direction of colonising that portion of the country through which it runs. It must not be forgotten, however, that its continuance depends entirely on the pleasure of the Maoris, who are in a position to exercise complete control over it. Should the slightest interruption of the existing harmony between us and them take place, no coach could run. I believe the Ministry are convinced that no such interruption will take place, and it is to be earnestly hoped that their confidence is well I placed. As to the manuerin which Mr. Shepard > has carried out his part of the contract, there can be no two opinions — it would be impossible to procure a better or more suitable plant, or to provide more skilful and obliging drivers. The stages are arranged as equally as circumstances will allow, and the rate of travelling is as fast as the state of the roads will admit of. My journey being made in the depth of winter, and iv very rough weather to boot, I of course saw everythiug under its worst aspect, and Ihave no doubt that in su Timer time a similar trip would be an exceedingly pleasant one. I would especially recommend it to some of those gentlemen in the Southern Island who boast so loudly of their magnificent waste lands and decry the barrenness and poverty of the North ; I may safely venture to affirm that they would thereafter hold modified opinions.
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NEW PLYMOUTH TO WELLINGTON" OVERLAND., Taranaki Herald, Volume XIX, Issue 1111, 2 August 1871
NEW PLYMOUTH TO WELLINGTON" OVERLAND. Taranaki Herald, Volume XIX, Issue 1111, 2 August 1871
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