Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Expedition to Milford Sound

Expedition to Milford Sound.

THE SUTHERLAND WATERFALL. Mr C. W. Adams (chief surveyor) and party left Dunedin for the Bluff yesterday, whence they will proceed by the U.S.S. Company's steamer Ohau to Milford Sound for the purpose of making a reconnaissance survey of the country between the head waters of the sound and Lake Te Anau.

One of the objects of the expedition is to measure the height of the Sutherland fall, which is said to be about 4000 ft high. This is probably an exaggerated statement, but should the fall be only half this height it will still be the highest in the world. Up to the present time no one has ever been able to get from Milford Sound to Te Anau, but a strong effort will be made by Mr Adams' party to find a passable track, although it is rather early in the season for mountain exploration.

Mr Thomas Mackenzie (M.H.R. for the Clutha) and Mr W. S. Pillans are accompanying the expedition. Both these gentlemen are experienced Bushmen, and their exploring trip through the Tutuku forest from Catlin's river to Waikawa, which they made a few years ago, will be remembered by many of our readers. Two parties of photographers are going by the same boat, one on behalf of Messrs Burton Bros, and the other from Mr Morris' establishment, so that before very long the people of Dunedin will have an opportunity of judging for themselves how far rumour is correct with regard to the height of the Sutherland waterfall.

Mr. Adams expects to be absent from Dunedin about a month, but a great deal, will of course depend on the weather, which is frequently very unsettled in the vicinity of the sounds. Before leaving Mr Adams called on the leading seedsmen, of Dunedin, and in every case his request for useful garden seeds was met in a most liberal spirit. He intends to plant these seeds in every available spot he visits. In addition to the seeds he is taking raspberry, strawberry, and other plants. His forethought in connection with this matter is highly commendable, and future visitors will no doubt reap the benefit of his labours. In the early days of the colony it used to be a rule with the Maoris and settlers of the North Island whenever they ate a peach to plant the stone. In consequence of this groves of peach trees are now met with in most out of the way places in the North Island. This is a hint which might with advantage he acted on by tourists who visit the sounds on the annual excursions by the Union Company's boats. Cuttings, plants of various kinds, seeds, nuts, &c., might be taken and planted with very little trouble. Even when eating an apple tourists would do some good by planting the pips. Roses, geraniums, and fuchias, if planted, would also be useful in adding to the beauty of these very picturesque parts.

Mr Morris' party are taking with them a canvas boat of a novel construction with which to navigate the waters of Lake Ada and Milford Sound. Altogether the expedition is, likely to prove a most interesting one, and the return of the travellers will be awaited with considerable interest. Messrs Mackenzie and Pillans will probably return overland by way of Martin's Bay.

Regarding the Sutherland Falls, it may be mentioned that they have only been seen by four men — viz. : Messrs Donald Sutherland, the hermit of Milford Sound; his mate, Mackay; Mr S. H. Morton, artist, Invercargill ; ,and Mr W. P. Hart, photographer, also of Invercargill. The fall was discovered by Sutherland and his mate on November 10, 1880. They estimated its height at between 4000 and 5000 feet, though they did not get nearer than within two miles of it, and the bottom was hidden from their view. About two years afterwards Messrs' Morton and Hart made an attempt to get to the fall, but they found the travelling very rough, and their provisions failing and bad weather coming on they were unable to get a nearer view of it than Sutherland. Mr Hart, however, took a photograph on March 9, 1883, and named it the" Sutherland Waterfall." Mr Hart estimated the height of the fall at about 4500 ft, and its volume five times that of the Bowen Fall, which is of no inconsiderable size, and has hitherto been considered the highest fall in New Zealand. Men have been employed for some time past cutting a track to the fall, so that before long tourists will be able to proceed thither.

The approximate distances are: — From the Bowen Waterfall to the head of Milford Sound, two miles by boat; thence through the bush, two miles on foot; thence across Lake Ada, six miles by boat; and up the river, above the head of Lake Ada, two miles by boat; then again, along a bush track about eight or ten miles on foot to the Sutherland Fall — 20 miles in all, or about a day's journey. The highest waterfall in the world is believed to be one in the Pyrenees Mountains, which is 1300 ft high, but contains only a small volume of water.

Otago Witness, Issue 1922, 28 September 1888, Page 15

Burton's photographic party composed of Messrs G. Moodie, H. Burton and R. G Ferguson and Mr Morris' photographic party was made up of Messrs Fred Muir, P. Brodie and J. M. Forrest.
Otago Witness, Issue 1928, 2 November 1888, Page 15

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