Tour in the interior of the North Island--Aspect of the country--A colonial magnate--Federation, and the conditions of it--The Maori-- Cambridge at the Antipodes--The Waikato Valley--Colonial administration--Oxford--A forest drive--The Lake Country--Rotorua- Ohinemutu--The mineral baths--A Maori settlement--The Lake Hotel.
IT was March 6 when we started. Autumn was upon us now; the morning was sultry, but rain had laid the dust the day before, and we could keep the carriage-windows down. We had seen from Mount Eden that we should pass through an interesting district. For the first few miles we were among country houses and farms, and free plantations of the universal Pinus insignis, which grows in a few years into a huge tree, has not roots enough to support so large a body, and in torn up by the winds. It is not at all unusual after a storm to see long rows of these pines lying prostrate. In a year or two a fresh row will be springing in its place. Cultivation became scarcer as we advanced. We could see in the cuttings that the soil was deep and rich, but it was covered either with ferns (the common bracken), which form a natural carpet, the fronds folding one upon another and shielding the entire surface with an impenetrable envelope, or else with the Ti-tree bush, which we supposed at first, and when we saw it at a distance, to be tall heather. But the resemblance is a mere accident. The Ti-tree is a shrub with a strong, close-grained, remarkably tough and heavy stem, rising sometimes, but rarely, to thirty feet in height, generally to about seven or eight. The Maori use it to fence their cabins and