Thursday 17 September 2020

An Update from Twizel- Night Sky Cottages


Many of you will already know, but I thought I had better update my blog followers who don't follow Facebook on why you haven't heard so much from me these past few months. I feel very guilty that I have neglected my blog duties and I also feel I'm always apologizing for the delay in posting them. Being parked up in one place for the duration of winter, I actually thought I'd have quite a lot of spare time to catch up on them. Ha! How wrong was I? 

How's this for a great view? Ben Ohau Range

Here's a sneak peak at what's been taking up most of my time this winter. You may recall back in January we purchased a property in Twizel with the sole purpose of letting the two cottages out on the short term accommodation market. This was well before Covid with settlement in mid-April which turned out to be right in the middle of Level 4 lockdown.

Night Sky Cottages- Kahu Cottage on the left, Kea Cottage on the right 

We eventually took possession mid-May and have been parked beside one of the cottages ever since. We're still living in 'Out There' much to some people's amazement but as we tell them, this is our home (and has been for the last eight years), why would we want to shift, we have everything we need in the van.

We've had some fabulous sunsets.

We do enjoy using the bathroom & laundry in the cottage though which has been fortunate as we've had frozen water pipes in the van a few dozen times during the early harsh days of winter.

Snow has fallen just twice this winter down around the cottages

We've certainly had our fair share and variety of winter weather while parked up in Twizel (and I've enjoyed every day of it, though I'm afraid I can't say the same for David. Some days have certainly tested his resolve). From two hoar frosts, several days of -11c frosts, thick fog, snow, a few days of rain and plenty of brilliant sunshine & blue sky days when the temperatures haven't moved above zero, we've had it all.

What you can't see is the crazy lady racing around in fluffy dressing gown
 & gumboots in a -11c frost taking photos

I have so many wonderful photos that I've decided to follow this blog with a quick one on the weather and hoar frosts which I'll post in a few days before I move back to finishing the Northland & Far North blogs.

One lesson learned; don't leave your washing out overnight

We have been away in the rig for a couple of short trips to break up the long days of winter; one to Christchurch to purchase gear for the cottages and another to Glenavy that lasted just two nights before a hoar frost arrived in Twizel (which lasted 5 glorious days). The frost had us racing back up to the high country so I could capture a weather event I have been chasing around the South Island for four of the last five winters. 

Twizel hoar frost- Kelland Ponds

We always  intended to stay in Twizel over winter to prepare the cottages for rental from late October/early November onwards and this is still our plan. And while there hasn't been anything major to do we've had quite a lot of work preparing them for the accommodation market. And that was after unloading and sorting two containers of furniture and belongings that we had shipped down from our storage in Tauranga. We've also come to realization that there's a touch of 'Twizel Time' (similar to 'Island Time') amongst some of the tradies in Twizel. 

One weather extreme to the other...

We're still very positive but realistic and know it'll be awhile before the market returns to pre-Covid times but in the meantime we'll work on attracting the domestic market to this stunning part of our beautiful country. And with Night Sky Cottages ready to roll come summer, we'll then be able to hit the road again (we can't wait, we've both getting very itchy feet!).

Oh and look what I picked up during that trip to Christchurch. You might also recall we were going to be presented with our life membership badges  back in March, while on our way to Twizel. But Covid & Level 4 put paid to that so I gave Bruce Stanger, our outgoing president, a call and said we'd be at Weedons (NZMCA Park in Christchurch) for a few days during last month. 

Bruce & his wife Heather called into the park while we were there and made a presentation of our badges & gift outside the rig. Just the four of us (and just as I like it with no big fanfare) and then we retired inside for morning tea. I did feel honoured that this was to have been one of Bruce's last official tasks before he handed the reigns over to our new president. 


  1. Long time reader, first time commenter. Just had to say that the photo of Kelland Ponds is amazing Shellie! Is it something you'd be interested in selling a copy of? You'll have to do another post when the Cottages are available for hire, I'll be sure to recommend them to friends and family in Invercargill that are planning stay-cations.

    1. Hi Adam, and welcome to 'front of store' it's nice to 'meet' my longtime readers. And thanks for thinking of the cottages for your family & friends, I'm sure they'd love to stay (especially when you see what else we're including for one of them, update will come in due course).
      You have good taste! I love the Kelland Pond photo too and have just had it put on canvas for one of the cottages. If you send me your email address to I can send you purchase details. Cheers, Shellie

  2. Great read Shellie, as always.

  3. I always enjoy reading your adventures and stories and of course seeing your fabulous pics. Can I are adding a spa to one cottage? yahoo, if so, book me pronto lol!! well done on your efforts getting the cottages up and running, and on spending winter in that area, brave of you both, and we have all been rewarded with your fantastic hoar frost pics that have been eluding you for a few years. When I first saw one, a few years ago in Omarama and also took pics in my gumboots for hours (followed by aching legs!) it was one of the most spectacular memories ever experienced. Well worth the wait and your efforts, I share your blogs with friends and family, especially the off the beaten track ones, like the Catlins and Serpentine and them.

    1. Hi Helen, thanks so much for your message and for sharing my blog with your family & friends. And you'll just have to wait & see what is being added to the cottage ;)

  4. We were getting worried! ;) Glad to see you safely posting again. Sure looks like great plans you've got... may certainly be interesting for a pit stop if we "ever" make it over to NZ again. All the best... and well done on that fancy life member award.

    1. Hi Tim, thanks for your good wishes and I hope you and your family are well over there. And I'm sure the day will eventually come when you'll be able to do that trip you've had planned for so long. And Night Sky Cottages will be ready & waiting for you :)

  5. Again you never fail to amaze me with your photos. Best of luck with your new venture and travel safe once you're back on the road :)


Thank you for taking the time to leave a message, I love reading them! All comments are personally moderated by me and I will post and answer them as soon as possible, Shellie