Frozen with fear, Jane Wynyard came face to face with an African elephant, the largest land mammal on earth.
Those outside Auckland and Wellington still face a "costly" undertaking.
Sand dunes become ski slopes after freak weather leaves desert blanketed by one metre of snow.
"Everyone was stunned," amateur photographer captures rare and beautiful sight.
Former Nelson Mail journalist Stacey Knott reflects on an adventurous year in her final column from Ghana..