8 Apr 06 (Bob)
House-hunting - In our final full week we
returned to the Auckland area and revisited some of the areas we had
seen before. Plus, we visited areas of Auckland's North Shore
that we had previously written off : Birkenhead, Birkdale, and Beach
Haven. This was a pleasant surprise as we found nice
neighborhoods within easy driving range of the city with more
moderate prices - some downright affordable. On one street we
found the house below that we quite liked.
A House We Like - After 3 weeks we did spot
a house that grabbed both of us, primarily because of the design and
surroundings. Like many homes in NZ it is going to sell at
auction, in this case 2 weeks after our planned departure so we have
put a bid in and will see what happens. But a few peeks at it
will show you why we liked it:
Dining room and kitchen
Solarium and leafy surroundings
More Friends - Also this week we found time
to catch up with Kim and Colin who arrived in NZ the same
year we did on the yacht Tess, and who have stayed to work
and raise their beautiful daughter Chelsea. We had a delicious
dinner and traded stories long into the night in their home in
Laingholm amid palms and kauri trees. Also we had a delightful
lunch with Simon and Rosalie, caravaning friends we met in
Australia who live near Auckland. They plan a trip to Turkey
so we went into "Chamber of Commerce" mode extolling the
virtues of visiting Turkey.
15 Apr 06 (Bob)
Back to England - After another 24+ hour
flight (with a brief break in Singapore) we found ourselves sharing
a glass of wine with our friends in Ringwood once again. Rory
and Sandra are both updating and/or reprinting their books due to
demand across three continents. We stayed 2 days before moving
on to Italy
Flying on Easter - When we made our
original bookings for NZ we did not realize that we would be
returning on one of the most-traveled weekends of the year in
Europe. Fortunately we found a reasonable priced flight on
Easter day (few want to travel on Easter itself) and after an early
wake-up call we had a smooth RyanAir flight to Lamezia, a 30-minute
taxi ride from the marina.
22 Apr 06 (Bob)
Boat chores - Now that we are back on
aboard Long Passages we swore to take 3 days and just sit!
But, consumed with guilt, and the fact that the trip back was not as
bad as we expected, we got stuck into chores:
- Varnishing - Judi has tackled the
exterior, which still looked pretty good but was wearing this in
places so the dust flew and varnish is starting to appear on our
teak decor outside.
- Replacing - Bob unpacked the computer
bits and pieces brought back from England and replaced our
water-damaged (and obsolete) laptop and monitor with newer gear.
29 Apr 06 (Bob)
Burning the midnight oil - The beginning of
the week was occupied with preparations for the upcoming auction at
the house we liked in Auckland:
- Filling out and faxing/emailing paperwork
- Testing phone connections (we used
our computer since we have a wireless connection in the marina).
- Setting our alarms to get us up at 0330 to
monitor the auction in real time in New Zealand.
- Coordinating with our friend Laonie who would
be bidding on our behalf in NZ.
- Getting our hopes up.
Aced out at the auction - Alas, Laonie
never really had a chance since the bidding started 10% over our
highest number and went up from there, ending 25% over what we felt
the house was worth. We were sad, but feel the bidders
probably paid more than the property was worth.
Conclusions - In our 3+ weeks of looking
around New Zealand we came to a number of conclusions:
- Inflation - Like everywhere else,
house prices in NZ have increased significantly in the last 5
- Globalization- The global market makes
it easier for people to buy in out-of-the-way countries like NZ,
thus driving their prices up to a level comparable to the US and
UK. Communications and low-cost airlines make it easier for
people to live in NZ and market their skills elsewhere by
consulting or writing.
- Values exist everywhere - Even in a
place where prices have increased a lot, there are still
fixer-uppers and suburbs that are less costly than others, so
housing is affordable, it just requires perseverance to find the
- We will return!