Welcome to Stewart Island & Sails Ashore +64 3 219 1151 tait@sailsashore.co.nz


Looking back over our blog I’m ashamed to see how long since my last post…..over 6 months so apologies for not keeping things active.

We’ve been busy of course, and Iris has had some health issues, which we are working through with help from Anne and an Auckland specialist. Not through the woods yet, but the forest is definitely  thinning. Other than that we are pretty bright eyed and bushy tailed.



Sunrise, Midwinters Day.
It’s not been all gloom and rain.
But overall it has been a bit dull, much like today.


We are a few days past mid winter, and it’s been a bit blah. (Iris is complaining vigorously) But then again 3 years of La Lina have spoilt us. And the winter we’ve had so far is no where as unpleasant as were the winters when I was fishing, really up until the late ’90’s. We’ve had 3 or 4 frosts and this last week or so Easterlies more or less continuously. Not strong, but quite gloomy. Longest spell of Easterly quarter winds for many a long year. Rainfall is on track to be an average of the last 10 or 11 years.

Parakeets & Fantails

We have several Pseudopanax trees in our garden….. Crassifolius, Ferox, “Goldsplash… a cultivar”, and a hybrid, which I think is Ferox x Goldsplash. All are fruiting and we have several parakeet enjoying the winter bounty. Red Crowned, … I’ve never seen Yellow Crowned on Mainland Stewart Island, although there is a very small population on Ulva. 

Winter generally sees Fantails appearing around the village as they come down from the higher forest, and we have several hanging about. Enjoying the insects about the section and under our back veranda … a white ceiling does attract them. So a resident “squeaky” helps keep them under control . I was up on Observation Rock on a road tour and there was a flock of 6 or seven flitting. about. You have to be aware, and keep outside doors closed as they will come in. As one did in our power shed while I was in there. Just luck I spotted it, as when I turned round to come out the bird went in behind my back. Had I not it would have been several days before I was next in the shed.

Red Crowned Parakeet, Sails Tours, Stewart Island

Fantail, Stewart Island, Sails Ashore Lodge

Tamarillo ready to be planted out

Roadside Pohutukawa, Peterson Hill, Stewart Island
About 5 years old


Tamarillo & Pohutukawa

A year or so ago Iris decided to see if she could grow Tamarillo. In our glass house she germinated the seeds from a single fruit  and last spring they got shifted out to make way for the tomatoes.

I’d wondered how they would survive the odd frost we get, and so far all seems good. When we do actually get a frost …. 3 so far this winter…. they aren’t hard and just a hint of frost on the back lawn is all we’ll see. I doubt if Te Puke (or wherever Tamarillo are grown)…. will feel threatened by Stewart Island competition, but fun to have in the garden


Doing a road tour a couple of days ago my guests were astonished to see a Pohutukawa shrub on the Petersons Hill road side. Planted, surely they said, and I had to explain that there were a couple of quite old specimens nearby, and since around 2004 there have been quite a number appear on the roadsides.  I’d always thought they naturally grew about half way down the North Island, and this was confirmed by DoC. So, as I said to my guests, you are looking at a natural proof of climate warming