New Year Kea – Starting the Year with Nestor Notabilis

“On a Mish” #257 New Year Kea. Borland Road. Fiordland. 1.1.2018. For me nothing is better than starting the day in the mountains. Waking up to see the first rays of light make their way on to each mountain face is a real treat. Nothing beats stepping out into the fresh air first thing in the morning. Now if you add in the fact that you will be waking up in a new year, then you have an excellent start to a brand new trip around the sun!

To relieve a bit of flatmate tension, my girlfriend and I decided to get outta town, and head for the hills on the last day of 2017. The idea was to drive to the Borland Road, then find an appropriate place to bring in the new year. The forecast was for the wind to turn to the south, and thus clear skies and cool temperatures.

Now away from the stresses of the big city of Te Anau, we felt much more relaxed as we drove south in the late afternoon sun. By early evening we were rumbling up the shingle of the Borland Road.

We decided to see if we could get her old Nissan Serena up on the power pylon access roads. To our surprise the old girl somehow got us to the top of one of the roads on the northern side of Eldrig Peak, although the stress we were attempting to avoid did briefly return during the steepest parts of the track.

Once we got to the top of the road we had an incredible view from our elevated perch high above the Borland Road. We could look right across the area at the piercing peaks of the Hunter Mountains, most striking being the white sands of Mount Titiroa.

The scene was set for an excellent last evening of 2017, and we had achieved the stress free environment we were looking for.

With victory in our grasp we kicked back with a few drinks and watched the sun disappear behind the endless Fiordland peaks in the west.

Just before retreating to bed (we didn’t bother staying up for a new years countdown) we heard the sqwaaaaaaaark of a Kea, followed by the replies of other kea in the area. It was really as if the first Kea was reporting his discovery of humans to mess with.

Nervously we made sure we packed everything away, and then spent the night listening to the Kea strength testing the cars every nut and bolt that they could get their beak on.

The Moon rising over Mt Titiroa(1715m)

Early-ish the next morning we woke to a new year, clear skies and silence outside. The silence was broken as soon as I stepped out of the car, as if the Kea were waiting for us to wake up!

We enjoyed breakfast with a view (and also some uninvited guests) and were stoked with how we spent the last night of 2017. Over a short period of time we watched the fantastic show of the sun lighting up the brilliant mountainous scene we found ourselves in on the first day of 2018.

Our breakfast was a combination of eating and shooing away our inquisitive new feathered friends. The Kea were very good at creating a distraction, while their partners in crime jumped up onto the car looking for items to steal. Another classic mini battle with my favourite birds was an interesting way to spend the first day of the year, and after breakfast we wished our mischievous mates goodbye and began the drive back down to the Borland Road.

As when climbing mountains, going up seemed a lot less dodgy than going down. The car was far from a 4WD off road vehicle, and there were a few tense moments on the descent. Once back down on the main road things were much more chilled, and we left the area refreshed and ready to deal with anything that 2018 threw at us, even if it included another night hanging out with my favourite causers of alpine antics and mountain mayhem!

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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