15 July 2018

Reflections on Kapitea Reservior

This is just a short post - I wanted to share a place to visit that has fantastic reflections. 

Five minutes east of Kumara heading towards Arthurs Pass is the Kapitea Reservior, also known as Dillman's Dam. On a day without wind the reflections are breath-taking.

It's a great spot for walks, photography, kayaking and if eels don't frighten you, it would be ideal for swimming too.

This area is owned by DOC. Camping is welcomed as long as your camper van or motorhome/bus is self contained. However no freedom camping is allowed. I wish I'd taken a photo of the area where you can camp, it's right beside the water with awesome views. A new toilet block has been built in the picnic area too.

Be careful if you're thinking of visiting with pets, we noticed several signs stating 1080 had been dropped in the area.

13 July 2018


The rig and truck have sold. 

The new owners are very happy with their purchase and we are relieved to see it go to a lovely North Island couple (Len & Lesleigh).
There's a bit of a story attached to the sale. Len & Lesleigh owned a smaller fifth wheel 
(a Keystone Bullet) which they towed with a Ford Ranger. They wanted to buy our fifth wheel and truck by giving us their fifth wheel and tow vehicle plus a cash difference. When they first suggested this we weren't keen because we didn't really want another fifth wheel. Our plan was to buy a block of land and a small bus. However after we had time to think over the idea we decided to go ahead with the swap because we figured we could sell the smaller fifth wheel & ranger ourselves. Being a smaller and less expensive unit we thought there would be a bigger market for it and perhaps easy to sell on. So we agreed to the arrangement.

Then .... we got a phone call from Len saying as he was towing his fifth wheel to Wellington (so our friends Paul & Amanda could have a look at it on our behalf), he was hit by a massive gust of wind which pushed him off the road and flipped him into the ditch.

Fortunately Len was not injured although his poor wife who was following him in another vehicle saw the whole thing happen and was pretty shaken up! 
The insurance company wrote the rig off. But there is a positive side to the story - Len was paid out by his insurance company, and then able to do a straight cash deal. Perfect for us!

So it's farewell to our rig. 

Great memories!
Onwards and upwards. We've just bought a stunning block of land (smothered in native bush) that we both fell in love with. Bernie is fizzing with ideas of what he will build on it and I'm busy hunting for a small bus or caravan so we can continue exploring.

20 March 2018

You Never Know What's Round The Corner

Here's a post to explain why there's been a lack of posts.

As many of you know, three years ago we began planning and organising to begin a life on the road. There was tonnes of stuff we had to do ... buy and import a fifth wheel, find and purchase a suitable towing vehicle, save heaps, get the house ready i.e. store or sell furniture and find a tenant. We did all that and 6 months ago we waved goodbye to Nelson to begin this exciting new gypsy lifestyle.

We loved everything about living on the road. Exploring new places, meeting new people, walking tracks we'd read about, taking loads of photos, I loved the lack of housework and we adored our new found sense of freedom.

The rig and truck didn't miss a beat. Bernie had set everything up to make life a breeze. The washing machine in the shed on the truck meant we could do washing whenever and wherever we wanted. The extra tanks on the truck gave us ample water and when it was time to refill or dump we didn't have to move the rig as well. We could pump the water from the rig's tanks into the truck's tank and just use the truck. Life was sweet!

But then Paddy became unwell again. Really unwell. And out of the blue, our long-term tenant emailed to say she'd bought a house and would be moving out. Throw in a couple of personal circumstances that had sprung up at the same time and it seemed everything was indicating that we head back home.

We'd chatted about traveling back to Nelson over winter to find work (while still living in the rig). We had tickets to go to Warbirds over Wanaka at the end of March which we were really looking forward to so we thought we'd make our way to Nelson in April after Warbirds in Wanaka.

However, sometimes things don't go to plan - and by early February we found ourselves back in Nelson. So it was with mixed emotions that we moved back into our house. Although we were thrilled to be back with our family, there were other feelings in the mix ... we felt deflated, disappointed and quite unsettled. But time rolled on (as it does) and after several weeks, we were both working and life ticked along as before.

Meanwhile Paddy's health had deteriorated, which made us grateful to be back home near our local vet providing his treatment. Being in one place and on our own property made managing an unwell pet that little bit easier. 

Although we're both really keen to get back on the road again, it looks like it might be a couple of years away. We've had many discussions regarding the rig and although we love it, we've come to the realisation (ever so reluctantly) that it's not viable to have it sitting unused for a few years.

So last weekend we listed it on Trademe.  
Now some lucky person/couple will become the owner/s of an amazing unit that's had all its teething problems sorted and is basically only a few months old. 

It deserves to be out there exploring, traveling and being lived in! 

22 February 2018

An Evening at Tahuna Beach

The evening before Cyclone Gita was predicted to arrive I spent a couple of hours at the beach watching the sunset. I wasn't the only one who had that idea! There was a balmy breeze, with an ever changing sky for entertainment. And to add a splash of atmosphere, salsa music filled the air as dancers practised their moves further along the beach.

The soft orange sky didn't stay around for long before it turned a rich, burnt tangerine.

Then it grew pink, and pinker still! Even the sea had a magenta tinge as it reflected the colour of the sky.

Then once the sun had disappeared behind the mountains, a golden glow covered the entire sky - it was the perfect end to a summer's evening. 

Thanks Nelson - it's great to be back!

21 February 2018

Hi-Ho-Hi-Ho ... It's Back to Work We Go

After five fabulous months on the road it's time to find some work to build up the bank account.  We got an unexpected email from our tenant saying she had bought a house - the timing was perfect! Our house was available for us to move back into while we worked.

You'd be right in thinking we'd save more by re-renting the house and remain living in the rig. But with three dogs it's easier to be home where they're securely fenced while we're both working.

We'll still go away for weekends and while I'll keep posting blogs, I'm guessing there won't be as many.

Almost home!

17 February 2018

St James Tarn - Lewis Pass

A day without any wind is ideal to capture St James tarn's mirror like reflections.
You might be wondering...what is a tarn? 
Without getting too technical, Google says 'A tarn is a mountain lake or pool, especially one in a cirque. A cirque is a half open steep sided hollow at the head of a valley or on a mountainside, formed by glacial erosion. Tarns are usually smaller than lakes.

The St James Tarn is only a minute's walk from the carpark along Lewis Pass. On a day without wind the reflections really are breath-taking.

A viewing deck provides an outlook across the entire tarn with a mountain backdrop.

On the carpark side of the tarn a track leads across a boardwalk which after a short walk loops back on itself.

Long lichen smothering and dripping from trees created an enchanting area at the end of the tarn.

16 February 2018

A Few Days in Hanmer Springs

We spent two days relaxing at the NZMCA park by the Hanmer Bridge, which is about 7kms from the village. In October when we had stayed I'd written a blog post of this little alpine village, so this post is about a couple of forest walks.

The morning started with a little fog slowly rising upward from the ground - unfortunately there was no spectacular sunrise.

There wasn't any movement in the campground. I'm guessing the campers must still have been snoozing. - smart move.

Before lunch I took the dogs for a walk along 'Dog Creek' (It's now named Dog Stream, but when I grew up in Hanmer we always called it 'Dog Creek'). There's something so therapeutic about this area. The scene was set with an astounding variety of every shade of green, the trees were full of bird song, plum trees scattered about were dripping in ripe fruit, rowan trees weighed down with an abundance of berries, the gentle bubbling water (free of toxic algae) ... it was incredibly peaceful and inviting.

I googled what the colour 'green' represents, this is what I discovered ...
'It symbolizes growth, harmony, freshness, and fertility. Green has strong emotional correspondence with safety. Green has great healing power. It is the most restful color for the human eye'.
No wonder this place felt like the perfect tonic.

Plum trees smothered in plums (both red and green) were growing along the track. Remember the good old-fashioned wild apple trees with apples that had black spots, dimples and that sweet tasting russet? Those very trees were along the walk - the apples were crisp, juicy and ohhh so tasty!
Rowan trees were also dotted about, with prolific orangey-red berries bending branches with their weight - does that mean we're in for a harsh winter?

The tracks near Squirrel Lake were also stunning, and we were lucky enough to be there when the blackberries were ripe. It brought back childhood memories of eating so many blackberries our teeth had a purple tinge. 

It's an ideal area for dogs. So much space and places to explore. A huge open paddock near the lake gave the dogs a massive space to run around and chase each other.

Boo and her out of control ears.
Worth a try ...but "No Paddy, you can't swim in that lake".
Fifty shades of green.

I couldn't leave Hanmer without a photo of the Waiau Ferry Bridge. I was hoping to get one with sunset colours but the sky didn't play its part, instead it remained plain grey - maybe next time?