Saturday, 6 February 2016

Go Tell It To The Cows


David had an inquisitive and attentive audience yesterday morning while sitting outside shaving in the warm morning sun...

We left Tuatapere late yesterday morning after a relaxing few days in the countryside soaking up some heatwave temperatures. It was very hot for Southland, many places were in the mid 30s. Rachel sent me a photo of Winton's town clock & temperature gauge showing 40 degrees!

The wind was ferocious once we hit the south coast, which is not unusual given that every stand of trees in the area are bent sideways. There's nothing but wild ocean and cold winds between here and Antarctica.

We weren't heading far, just 20kms or so to Monkey Island, a freedom camping area along side the beach. With a long weekend ahead of us we wanted to arrive early enough to get a site in a good position as there aren't that many available. Many of the sites were already taken by people who had marked their spot by putting up a tent or parking a car over the site. There was still a good amount of space available when we arrived but by mid-afternoon it was filling up fast.

The wind blew a gale for the rest of the day and most of the night, very few ventured onto the beach; the stinging sand quickly sent them back over the dunes.

That's Monkey Island below, a very small outcrop off the beach that becomes an island during high tide. Before the road from Riverton reached this area, a slipway was built on the island so coastal boats could deliver supplies.  It's thought that the island was named after the monkey wrench that was used to haul the boats ashore.

Two more pastimes making use of the wide expanse of beach that appears at low tide, I know which one I'd rather be doing and which annoys people the most! 

A sunset panoramic shot taken from the small hill above the camp.

With the sun not setting down south at this time of the year until well after 9:30pm, there was plenty of time for families to walk the beach during a lull in the wind.

By evening there were dozens and dozens of vehicles; many tourist sleeper vans arriving to find a spot for the night along with families that had headed out to the beach after work, for the weekend . Still more arrived later in the night, many had to leave because they couldn't slot themselves in. Some of the locals have returned this morning and taken the spots that the tourist sleeper vans have vacated. Tonight the tourists are going to struggle to find a space. 

This was the view this morning when I pulled up the blind! Not the usual sweeping vistas we've become familiar with.  I'm waiting for David to shout 'Get me outta here!!'

And I've added a few more photos from today...

Low tide-

From the top of Monkey Island-

Sites vacated by sleeper vans this morning were soon filled with local's tents.


  1. Wow Monkey Island can get this crowded! Last time when we passed by there was barely a soul spring time :) It's quite a sight seeing the Southland coastal trees tilting inland at the same direction same angle.

    1. Yes anytime before Christmas and there won't be too many at Monkey Island. Jan/Feb are the height of the tourist season and especially this year.

    2. Why this year? Any specific reason?

    3. Tourism has increased greatly this year, it now leads our overseas earnings ahead of dairy. Also the Chinese New Year has seen a huge influx of tourists.


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