The long white cloud

Monday, March 06, 2006

Home sweet home


Well the holiday is now over (the traveling part at least). After 2 months of traveling and 5000 miles of road, we have finally arrived at our destination, back in Auckland.

We have spent the last few days looking at rental properties. Looks like with most things here, I have grossly underestimated the cost. We have made a conscious decision to rent for the first year before we buy. The two main reasons for this are 1) the dollar is too strong 2) it takes time to get to know a place.

We have been looking in three very different locations for accommodation. The first is Howick, which has a very villagey feel (like a spread out version of Barnes) and was the place that stood out the most for us when we researched Auckland locations back in the UK. The second location is Titirangi which is in west Auckland out towards the "west coast beaches", home of the ..erm.. westies. This could not be more different to Howick, properties here have a very bush feel to them, the area is incredibly verdant with natural bush everywhere, and at night sat out on the deck you could easily imagine yourself somewhere in the South American jungle. The third location is Beachlands, a seaside town east of Auckland but still easily commutable for Lisa. Beachlands is a lovely coastal town that is in a state of transition, it still has an unspoiled villagey feel to it, but there are many properties currently being built, it remains to be seen whether the character is adversely affected by this.

After seeing about a dozen properties we were starting to get a little dismayed as the quality was poor and the locations unsuitable. Some properties were OK , but lacked that certain something that made you believe that you could live in them. By chance we happened to spot an advert for a little cottage in Whitford, the description sounded very encouraging, but as we had discovered with other visits, just like in the UK the show does not always live up to the billing. We telephoned to make an appointment and went to see it the same day. Whitford is a beautiful part of Auckland, it is essentially country living, most places here are 10 acres or more, and it's where the wealthy go to retire or bring up their families. It is completely out of our price range to buy, and rentals are few and far between, so we went there assuming their would be some sort of catch.

We were told by the owner Wendy that the cottage was at the end of the drive of the main house, and we met her there at an agreed time. As we drove down the drive we saw it, a picturesque wooden cottage with absolutely stunning views, we could not believe our luck. The property is split into 2 parts , the main cottage which is very small and is only really suitable for a couple and a second building which can be used as an office or a guest room. The cottage overlooks fields and farmhouses and native forest. The only drawback is the fact that the cottage is small, but the benefits far outweigh this. As in the UK, good properties are snapped up quickly, so dithering is not advisable, after a quick chat with the gaffer, we decided to take it and signed the forms there and then.

It feels good to have a home after all this travelling....