Bri Woolnough and her 1986 Toyota Landcruiser.

Wheel Love: Bri Woolnough and her 1986 Toyota Land Cruiser, Sunny.


Wānaka-based photographer Bri Woolnough has owned her 1986 Toyota Land Cruiser for four years and regularly uses it for off-road camping adventures.

“Prior to 2020, I was never particularly interested in cars. I wanted to go travelling and to experience van life. But then I got introduced to four-wheel driving and when lockdown happened I ended up buying the truck. It’s the best decision I ever made.

When I first got it, I had to take the gearbox out, change a bunch of bearings and learn to drive manual. But it's been satisfying being able to do some things on my own and to save some money on the mechanic, too.

Wheel Love Bri Woolnough Sunny INP

Bri Woolnough and Sunny, lakeside in Wānaka. Photo by Jodie James.

I kitted it out straight away. It’s set up with a fridge, 12-volt solar panels, drawers – pretty much everything you need to live out of it, except a toilet. And then I’ve got the rooftop tent on top to sleep in. It's pretty much full-time camp mode.

It’s got its own Instagram account: @sunnythe70. Everyone calls it by its name – it’s got so much character.

Sunny is almost 40 years old, so parts are always breaking. On one trip my exhaust fell off. It had rusted through completely. We had four people underneath the truck trying to get off the rest of it because it was just hanging by a thread…

Wheel Love Bri Woolnough INP

Bri Woolnough and her Landcruiser, Sunny, in Wānaka. Photo by Jodie James.

Living down in Wānaka, I’m lucky to have a group of friends who all have trucks and rooftop tents. Most summers we take trips together, which is quite cool. Half of us are photographers as well, so we help each other out on the work front, too.

A lot of my photography is outdoors, adventure based. Even when I’m back home, I'm often going out on trips to local spots to use the incredible landscapes around home as backdrops for whatever I'm shooting.

Something that always pops up is people saying: ‘I wish I could live a life like you live.’ And I say – ‘you can!’ I am so broke. I'm just prioritising where I spend my money a bit differently. I wouldn't change a thing. I always say: 'I'm broke but stoked.'”


Story by Emily Draper for the Autumn 2024 issue of AA Directions Magazine. Emily Draper is the Deputy Editor of AA Directions Magazine.

Do you have a vehicle that could be a contender for Wheel Love?

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