One year on the road…

It’s a year since we loaded up our motorhome Tonka and left Wellington. What has the year on the road been like? Here’s some stuff from the year that didn’t make it into our blogs.

Tonka is slow… but just once in a while we found a vehicle we could overtake…

We’ve used up all our slow vehicle credits for a lifetime, and can longer complain when stuck behind one.

That said, Tonka is comfortable inside…

Overseen by our patron saint Flossie.

Not all the places we ended up for the night were glamorous.

Neither were the hours spent in laundries.

‘Cause there’s not much drying space inside.

Watching the seasons unfold is one of the best parts of whole year away. We started in autumn.

Early winter had its trials. Very short, cold days. They were hard to fill in before skiing started. When nothing else works, park on the lakeshore at Wanaka.

When the sun sets only Whittaker’s will do.

The snow came in Te Anau.

So we headed for Ohau. Tonka‘s heating is for the driver only.

Opening day at Ohau, where we had season passes. At midday, the sun was barely above the ridge.

This is one happy ski bum.

Too much skiing wore out Dave’s skis. They went into the skip, replaced by shiny red ones to match his jacket and helmet.

We never did figure out the signage at the base of the Ohau road.

Joined by good friends in Wanaka, we watched the movie The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. But who’s who in this shot?

The skiing was so good that Hig came back in spring for another take.

Much of spring we spent volunteering on conservation projects. One of our highlights of the year was the helicopter flight at the end of a volunteer trip, from Chalky Inlet to Te Anau. We flew above and among snow-clad Fiordland mountains glorious late-afternoon light.

Here we are getting onto Pomona Island, the largest island in Lake Manapouri. A huge volunteer effort has made it nearly pest free. It’s now home to kiwi, mohua and other rare birds.

Being 700m from the “mainland”, the occasional rat or stoat swims across to the island. The traps are there to greet them. And then, this is what greets us. Identifying the contents gets a bit forensic.

There is a huge trap network in the forest adjacent to the Kepler Track. This shot shows a stoat trap (box on ground) and a possum trap (on tree). The tracks between traps are lovely walking.

Some of this land was cleared for farming. The old paddock beech trees – now within regenerating forest – take forms you would not see anywhere else.

Some volunteer tasks are more exciting than others. Here is Sue’s phone, after an unscheduled swim off Resolution Island. We can say definitively that the Nexus 5X is not waterproof.

It’s great to be able to take the time to watch the birds. The crested grebes in Lake Te Anau paired up.

And raised juveniles, who are now independent.

This takahe helped raise a chick at the Te Anau bird sanctuary, adding to the world population of 347.

Bird counting can take you to strange places. In this case the Eglinton River.

Sadly, parts of this river are infected with rock snot. We had not seen it in its full “glory” before.

The Kepler Challenge marks the start of summer in Te Anau. And who was the poster boy this year?

It turned into a hot dry summer. When we parked we looked for shade.

January was the hottest and driest on record. Southland started to look like South Australia.

The weather went back to “normal” in February. Within a few weeks Southland was back to its normal vibrant green.

No complaints from the sheep.

It’s autumn once more, and the leaves are starting to turn.

Posted 21 March 2018, the autumn equinox.