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Another NZ query - a few random questions - gardening and schools (again) and central heating

(54 Posts)
SarfEasticatedMumma Wed 27-May-15 06:25:39

We're still in the early stages of considering moving to Wellington, but as we are not telling the family until we have made up our minds I don't know who else to ask. These are my current queries if you are able to help:
Gardening can you buy English cottage garden plants there, or just natives. Although I am fully prepared to engage with native plants, I will need some plants to remind me of home: roses, lilac, iris, peony etc
Montessori I have noticed that there is a Montessori school near where we are moving to, which follows the mainstream curriculum. It looks lovely and just what I'd like for my DD7. I guess I just want to know whether doing this will mark us out as hippies, and possible count against DD when she tries to get a job or whether it's quite common for people to chose different kinds of schools for their kids.
heat pumps now I know that central heating doesn't exist there, and people rely on gas heaters, wood burning stoves and heat pumps. How about under floor heating? I hate being cold, so am trying to work out what I need to look out for in the estate agents details. There are some brick built houses, but I guess that they aren't so good in an earthquake.

SarfEasticatedMumma Wed 27-May-15 06:26:35

We'll be in Wellington by the way.

undermythumb Wed 27-May-15 07:05:42

1) Yes of course you can buy English Cottage plants. My mother has a delightful English country cottage garden.

2) Montessori schools do look beautiful and I can completely understand the attraction. I have been looking at the one closest to us for our eldest child who is turning 5 next birthday. Looking around it seems to me (though I am in Auckland) that they are a perfectly common and 'acceptable' choice for kindergarten and up till about the age of 7 or 8. At that point a lot of parents seem to withdraw their child and put them back into the mainstream system.

I think maybe that is the point that people compare their child to their friends children and get worried that they are not yet reading and so on? As if the stakes become to high and they don't want to 'risk' it.

Read the ERO report of the school you are looking at and compare it to other schools in your zone and that should give you an idea of where it stands in the community.

3) You can get central heating but it isn't common. Probably the same with underfloor heating or it will only be in certain rooms. The ironic thing in NZ is that Auckland which is much warmer but where houses cost 57 bazillion dollars is far more likely to have those things.

Personally I don't find heat pumps that effective but they seem ubiquitous nowadays. I also hate
the cold and we just have oil column heaters blazing in every room. So we are always tasty warm but with a huge power bill. grin

Look for double glazing and effective insulation. i.e. the roof, walls and floor. Don't buy a draughty old villa unless it's been done up to a high standard. You will freeze. Wellington is lovely on a good day but can be bitterly cold.

Good luck!

SarfEasticatedMumma Wed 27-May-15 07:14:51

Thanks under you have put my mind at rest. There are just some plants I need to have with me. flowers

undermythumb Wed 27-May-15 07:31:58

I understand - I'm from Christchurch originally and in the Botanical Gardens there is the most beautiful traditional English herbaceous boarder drawing you toward the Rose Garden that I still miss.

SarfEasticatedMumma Wed 27-May-15 07:40:20

Ooooh - that sounds lovely. I may try to recreate Sissinghurst in Petone. grin.
My DD can read and write already so am not that bothered about that aspect of school. I am more interested in whether she can learn at her own pace and follow her interests.

SarfEasticatedMumma Wed 27-May-15 08:01:21

One final query - how the heck to I get my parents over every year without bankrupting myself! May need to start selling vital organs.

specialsubject Wed 27-May-15 11:50:05

that's the hard bit. It is 24 hours of travelling and a complete body clock flip however you slice it. I strongly suggest a stopover for a few days rather than two back to back long haul flights - so let's hope they are retired!

the time difference is the tricky bit, no more mid-day calls for either side.

and yes, the Kiwis laugh at soft Europeans so lower your expectations and put on your fleeces!

SarfEasticatedMumma Wed 27-May-15 12:04:50

Fleeces special, surely we need head to toe merino?

One of the chaps at my work is from NZ and he wears a T-shirt all year round. <brrr>

Luckily both parents have retired, but we will be paying for their fares, can't expect them to pay. I guess the cheaper flights tend to be the ones that take longer, so they could do a series of stopovers. I did look into getting there by rail which they would love, but may be a bit too much for them.

specialsubject Wed 27-May-15 13:29:51

rail to NZ???? How awesome would that be? But I'm guessing it is smartphone for 'cruise'.

and yes, there's a reason the sheep dress as they do. smile

SarfEasticatedMumma Wed 27-May-15 13:35:34

Ahh Special ye of little faith! It is indeed possible to get the train at least part of the way, via the Trans-Siberian express. Not sure my parents would physically be up for it, even though it does sound amazing. I think a series of stop-overs would be good.

Scotinoz Wed 27-May-15 13:40:37

Royal Brunei have some super cheap fares from LHR to MEL, then you could pick up a flight from Melbourne onto Wellington.

Something to consider for your folks.

SarfEasticatedMumma Wed 27-May-15 13:46:54

Is that just a one off Scotinoz or pretty standard? They will be time rich but cash poor.

specialsubject Wed 27-May-15 14:07:49

with plenty of time, send them round the world, at least for the first one. I did a late and very extended gap year and on my first trip took a month to get to NZ.

then Singapore makes a good stopover.

SarfEasticatedMumma Wed 27-May-15 14:10:21

I think if we do move over, we will spend a while getting there too. I find it a bit frustrating then whenever we go to NZ we are rushing to get there and rushing to get home and flying over some really amazing places.

slug Wed 27-May-15 14:56:08

My uncle and aunt traveled to my wedding in London via the Trans Siberian. They flew to Singapore, then to Beijing, then Trans Siberian to Moscow.

I've done the London to Beijing trip entirely by rail. It's possible but takes several weeks. Moscow to Beijing is 9 days.

Bear in mind that there's nothing between Antarctica and Wellington. When the Southerly wind blows it can get fierce and cold. The block just outside Wellington train station is notorious for bins full of broken umbrellas on windy days. On the plus side though, it makes windsurfing an easily accessible sport wink

SarfEasticatedMumma Wed 27-May-15 15:03:07

Blooming heck slug maybe a wind turbine in the garden would be a good idea. Is there anywhere near there where it's not so windy? We are moving there to be near family so we can't go too far away from Wellington.

SarfEasticatedMumma Wed 27-May-15 17:07:38

You'll be telling me that Ocado don't deliver to Wellington next!

specialsubject Wed 27-May-15 19:04:44

you didn't know Wellington is notorious for wind???

if it is any consolation, Ocado don't deliver to Shropshire either. :-)

BTW I LOVED Plimmerton, 20 mins outside Wellington.

SarfEasticatedMumma Wed 27-May-15 19:38:14

I DID know about the wind, but thought it was only quite rare. I've been there 4 times in total, mostly for two weeks and mostly Easter time and it has never been that windy. But now I might actually be going to live there it makes it more of a big deal! What about my beautiful (imagined) garden?
Is Plimmerton less windy? I'm hoping Petone is very calm. But it is very flat so now I am concerned about rising sea levels! (not that I'm over thinking this or anything...)
Going to look up Plimmerton now.

SarfEasticatedMumma Wed 27-May-15 19:39:52

I now want to live here

SarfEasticatedMumma Wed 27-May-15 19:46:36

actually here just no way we could afford that. I do find it funny the obsession with laundry rooms. Obviously I'd love one too, but they seem quite a big deal. I guess if you have a big family it's more important...

specialsubject Wed 27-May-15 20:38:43

sigh...there is a wonderful backpackers there (Moana Lodge) which was an extremely difficult place to leave.

wow - those house prices!

more seriously - you are aware of the Wellington earthquake fault and where it runs?

SarfEasticatedMumma Wed 27-May-15 20:50:38

Not really, but am hoping that when we decide we are definitely going the whānau will spring into action and find us somewhere suitable.

WhatSheSaid Thu 28-May-15 02:31:08

Re flying parents over - the summer (in either country) is peak season to fly and therefore more pricey. Spring and autumn are cheaper and as your parents are retired they are presumably quite flexible about when they can visit.

You need to balance time flying vs money saved, there are some cheaper flights where you change at 3 airports and are travelling for 40 hours total but they are pretty hellish.

My in laws regularly take a Korean Air flight that includes a night at a hotel in Seoul in the airfare - breaks up the journey a bit and the airline does all the ferrying to and fro the hotel. Singapore airport also has a great transit hotel within the airport.

And yes, Wellington, while a lovely city, is really REALLY windy quite a bit of the time.

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