RAGLAN AND ITS NEIGHBOURHOOD. (By our Special Reporter.) 111.
KROM THE MATA TO THE WAITETUNA. Leaving the homestead of Mr Licldell, at Paparata, we retraced our steps for nine miles until we reached the Mata Creek, near Messrs Charltou's farm, at which point the branch road to the Waitetuna Valley leaves the main Kaglan road. For si couple of miles we proceeded over rising ground, the track having been cut through the bush, which has been felled for some distance on either hand. We passed several jjretty little cottages in these clearings, and were pleased to observe that in many instances the dwellings were surrounded by gardens, while here and there attempts had been made to plant orchards and plantations with varying, but on the whole with much success. The pastures appeared to be very fair, and the cattle in good condition. We also encountered numbers of well-bred pigs, which appeared to thrive well on the outskirts of the bush. Descending, we gain the bottom of the picturesque valley of the Kauroa, along which runs a more than ordinarily good road, with well-constructed bridges crossing the creeks and swampy places. Here we seemed to have again returned to civilisation, for along the road arc several well cultivated farms in the occupation of Messrs McDonald, Gilmour, Kescell and Harsant, the dwellings and outhouses connected with which appeared I to be extremely well kept, while the fences and hedges were in the best possible state. Owing to the plentiful supply of timber the fences are principally con&tructed of posts and rails, but we were not a little surprised to fall in with thorn hedge rows far excelling in size any I have seen in the Waikato. Tree planting lias also been carried on with vigor, and willows and other ornamental trees are frequently met with. In consequence of the growing darkness — the sun had almost set ere we had descended into the valley, and the twilight was upon us before we reached Mr Gilmour's farm — I could not distinguish the fields sufficiently well to notice the growth of the herbage upon them, but we were near enough to a small paddock of Mr Oilmour'&to observe aome very luxurious clover. As the land appears to be of the same character all through the A r alley, this fact may go to show that it is well adapted for grazing purposes. The heavens gave every indication of rain, and having yet six or seven i miles befoi*e us we pushed rapidly on, just pausing to observe the Wesleyan .and Anglican Churches, two tiny buildings, at the turn of the road, near the Okete River. This stream, which is crossed 4iere by a ford, with a neat foot bridge limning parallel to it, is another of the many charming rivulets to be met with in the country surrounding Raglan. From here our way was continued in darkness, and occasional rain. We joined the main road between Waipa and Raglan, near the farm of Mr Moon, and now but few miles lay between us and our destination for the night. Never did the bame distance seem so long as it did on that dark road. Now carrying u.s along level fern land and now plunging us down into some thickly m ooded gully. A hearty -welcome, however, awaited us at iSntton\» Halfway Hotel, and the disagreeables of our ride v, ere soon forgotten over a pleasant and much needed meal. Next morning' we were up betimes, and away towards home, we found the road over the mountain in splendid order, none the worse for the showers of the two or three pieceeding days. Enchanted a-> we had been with what we had seen on I our two days journeying 1 , this did not rob of any of its magnificence, the i>r<ind picture of the "Waikato, which ay c beheld on reaching the summit of the hills, nor lessen the pleasure we felt at being once more in sight of the pleasent little Waipa River. We gained the punt at Whatawhata about 10 o'clock a.m., and thus I brought my agreeable trip to a olohe.
CONOLUSOX. To sum up what I have endeavored to say will occupy but little space. To the tourist and those in search of pleasure I hope I have said enough to point out the advantages which the district of Raglan possesses as a place in every way adapted to their requirements. If I have failed to do this, the blame must rest entirely with me. Boating 1 , sailing, fishing, bea bathing, riding driving shooting, sketching, and a hundred other things dear to the heart of a tourist can be obtained with very little trouble and expense; the worn out man of business, seeking a few weeks rest can find no better haven than Baglan, ior there, peace sits enthroned ; a genial climate, with mild sea breezes make it a, paradise for the : sick and invalid ; AvhUe the strong healthful lover of nature may delight his soul to the utmost, and hunger not. Turning to the other and more practical, though not much more important, matters I scarcely care, with my limited knowledge of the district, to express myself strongly regarding its capabilities as a home for agriculture, but so far as I have had means of judging my opinion is depidedly in its favor. lam not forgetful of having seen much land which is comparatively of little worth, but I have ewn sg mugli tiuit is of thu ijrat qu^jty,
that I cannot surely be far out in believing that there is at least a goodly proportion of the latter ; and I would urge those seeking farm-lands not to be unmindful of the advantages which Raglan offers in this particular. In intimate relations to this, there is a question which calls for an answer, and it is this : — What facilities can the district offer to settlers, and what future is there in store for them ? To this question, as a whole, I am not presumptuous enough to hazard an answer, but part of it I may venture to meet. With the really good road from the Waipa, and the many branches which the Local Board are constructing, the means of communication have vastly improved during the last few years, and Raglan can no longer be said to be an isolated district, but more properly an out-district of the Waikato itself, ami in this respect is far better off than were many of the remote districts of the Waikato proper, before the advent of the railway. The nearest railway station, Hamilton, will be when the new road is made from Whatawhata thereto, something less than thirty miles distant by a good road. This is not much like isolation ! Something regarding the working of the Homestead Act in the Ruapuke and Waitetuna districts might be looked for in these letters, but this subject must be deferred until more accurate information has been gleaned. In conclusion, if my opportunities for carefnl observation have been few, I hope they have not been altogether unfruitful, but that these papers may be the means of awakening increased interest in a district at present little known, a district which has been subjected to numerous ills, but upon which, better times are surely about to dawn.
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RAGLAN AND ITS NEIGHBOURHOOD. (By our Special Reporter.) III., Waikato Times, Volume XIV, Issue 1198, 2 March 1880
RAGLAN AND ITS NEIGHBOURHOOD. (By our Special Reporter.) III. Waikato Times, Volume XIV, Issue 1198, 2 March 1880
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