The Roto rotonsta [Metrosideros robusta, Rata] just coming into bloom, the tomentosa [Metrosideros excelsa, Pohutukawa] just out. Take train at Wanganui. It is rich country hereabouts and the wheat harvest now on. January 26. Stayed last evening at Palmerston [North], arrived at 9:00pm. and started this morning at 6:30am. for Wellington, arrived at 12:30pm. Palmerston North is an agricultural and grazing center; a rich, generally level area with few trees and rolling hills very green, grassy. Towards Wellington the hills are high, almost mountainous, with flat areas, half swampy, near sea level and rough fields still encumbered with melancholy remnants of a once glorious forest slowly being burnt out of existence for sake of grass. Wellington a good substantial looking town at head of a wide glacial fiord, high hills on either side, some residences on top, brick covered with cement the favourite building stuff. January 27. This forenoon visited the botanical gardens, a place unworthy of name, being mostly a frowsy hill top covered with manuka (Leptospermum, tea-tree), hacked and torn, and a few odds and ends of trees. Saw two Sequoia gigantea which were smothered beneath other trees, a Cryptomeria, Chamaecyparia lawson sp. [Chamaecyparis lawsoniana], and Pinus insignis etc., none of them labelled, and in hollow spots at foot of hills, and lot of common garden flowers. All the hills are dry and brown like those of California in summer. At 4:00pm, or a little later, we sailed for Nelson to begin our trip on the South Island. Steamer Penguin arrived at Picton at 9:15pm at the head of a long picturesque firod [fiord]. Stayed nearly all night to discharge freight and suit tide.
Original journal dimensions: 9 x 15.5 cm.
Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library
John Muir, journals, drawings, writings, travel, journaling, naturalist