January 16. Start at 10am for Rotorua; arrive at 6:00pm. and put up at Geyser Hotel, two miles beyond Rotorua, near a large group of hot springs and geysers and an Indian [Maori] village [Whakarewarewa]. The Maori, it seems, were not afraid of these noisy, rumbling, thundering or mysteriously sprouting springs, but used them as baths and for cooking etc. Therefore, the sinter formations about them are worn by long trampling. The bushes, however, are so dense and tall about the smaller less violent springs and just beyond the edges of recent sinter pavements. They form a beautiful and protective border, full of flowers and berries. The railroad [to Rotorua] runs through a level wide valley, fertile and cultivated and many trees planted, oak, elm and pine etc. Just as ascending grade is reached, within 20 or 30 miles of Rotorua, an interesting forest is reached through which the [rail] road runs to within a few miles of the hot spring region. The trees are richly clad and adorned with climbers and epiphytes. January 17. Rose early and collected a lot of specimens, mostly of shrubs, Melaleuca [maybe Kunzea ericoides or Leptospermum scoparium?] and Gaultheria [spp]. Climbed a knob back of Whakarerawha [Whakarewarewa] and the extensive group of hot springs. On the knob a rich lot of ti bushes [tea tree, Leptospermum scoparium] in flower and fruit, mixed with Gaultheria with white and red berries and other heathnodes [heathworts]. Here and there small trees or high bushes of poisonous plant and one with small red flowers in simple racemes, beautiful prostrate matted plant with white flowers, leaves in four rows making carpet. Charming Lycopodium [spp. L. cernuum on heated soils or fumeroles, L.volubile in scrub margins] lace carpets spreading far and wide. A curious simple heath-like shrub, a few inches high with yellow berries. Common Pteris [pteridophyta] in glorious abundance. In the P.M.
Original journal dimensions: 9 x 15.5 cm.
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John Muir, journals, drawings, writings, travel, journaling, naturalist