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Ramblings from NZ and Australia. All welcome in the midst of winter!

(156 Posts)
dontevenblink Fri 01-Jul-16 23:53:22

So I know there are quite a few of us living here in NZ or Kiwis in the UK who might want to join in. Would anyone fancy a chat thread? I know there was one a few years ago but nothing I can see anymore.

I've been out here about 4 1/2 years, were on south island, now on north but not in either of the big cities. Weather is sunny but cold today. It was so cold last night our taps didnt run this morning properly until a load of orange gunk came out, we now have hot water again luckily. How do you stop the pipes from freezing without central heating? The house was empty for years before we got it and the pipes had burst apparently. Luckily we just rent it. I've been onto the landlord to ask for a heat pump as there is no heating apart from the plug in oil radiators we have and you can see your breath in the mornings! Did anyone else also have a crazy amount of rain this week? We've had nothing for ages so the farmers were all worrying so was definitely a good thing for them.

On the very plus side it has been mainly still hot here and this is the first week I haven't wanted to venture out with the dog (although obviously still have). Still love walking and seeing the beautiful surroundings we live in, never gets old.

It's that time of year again (where did the year go?!) when all the toy sale catalogues are coming out and dc have been flicking through debating already what they want for Christmas. I normally buy a few things to put away for Christmas so as to spread it out but not sure I can be bothered yet [lazy emoticon]. Plus they keep changing their minds... It normally feels christmassy too at this time of year which puts me in the mood, but not as much this year for some reason. Does anyone else do layby?

Anyone else want to join me in my kiwi ramblings?

brassywind Sat 02-Jul-16 00:20:29

Hello from Northland! We've been here for 5 1/2 years. It's sunny here today but cold. A proper frost on the cars today. Up here if you get more than 4 or 5 frosts a year it's classed as a hard winter. So, no issues with frozen pipes for us.

All the grapefruit has fallen off the tree so I may make marmalade this weekend.

dontevenblink Sat 02-Jul-16 01:05:27

Hi brassy! I was making lemon curd yesterday from some of the lemons from our garden. We have loads that have just ripened so I'm going to have to think of lots of things to make! I love the fact there is so much fruit around us. The farmers market wanted $8 for a small jar of lemon curd so I was determined to make it smile Lots of gardens round here have masses of mandarins in at the moment and I really want to try and grow some now. The dc's school have had a local farmer delivering crates of apples from his orchard now the season is mostly finished here and they love the fact they can all just grab one (or several) on their way out of school.

It's funny how it can get up to the 20s in the day here but be so frosty at night!

smallmole Fri 08-Jul-16 21:48:49

I'm not in NZ - I'm in England but I've always been a bit obsessed with NZ and now (Brexit) DH is finally considering a move. Please tell me interesting things about NZ so that I can tempt him further...

Also - we have three small children - oldest is 9 - is the quality of life going to be better for them?

Sorry for all the vague questions - and thank you in advance to anyone who can help...

Newmamatobe Fri 08-Jul-16 22:08:45


It sounds beautiful!

My Mum and I are really considering Emigrating to NZ or Oz, I have a 5 month old DD and would love her to have a more outdoors around nature childhood, something different to what Britian has to offer - so much time indoors and in a structured, scheduled way!

Please can I ask for some advice?

If you had 3 weeks in Oz (I thought flying into Melbourne makes sense as that's a good option for family living) followed by 3 weeks in NZ to get a feel for the places, visit a couple of sites in a really unhurried and (as much as you can with a baby) relaxing way.. What would your itinerary be?

It's all completely flexible we haven't booked anything yet, found the flights, we could also do 8 weeks if that's better..

Thanks in advance!!

specialsubject Sun 10-Jul-16 16:13:08

Melbourne is a big city! No reason not to consider emigration, but not sure why your kid can't do outdoors in the UK. With far fewer dangers than Australia!

kiwidreamer Sun 10-Jul-16 21:10:14

I'm a NZer living in the UK 14yrs and planning on returning home soonish to spend time with the Grandparents before they get too past it ;)

DH wants to live in Auckland again, I want to go to Tauranga. Better jobs in Auckland. Better lifestyle in Tauranga. Rock and a hard place.

Worried about how expensive everything is and how cold it gets in winter indoors... I bloody love central heating!!

kiwidreamer Sun 10-Jul-16 21:16:17

Newmamatobe I agree no need to emigrate, lots of fabulous places in the UK you can get a great outdoorsy natural childhood. Emigrating is mentally and emotionally difficult, do not underestimate the stress and pressure it will put on you, do it because its your dream, because you are excited about new challenges.

Also keep in mind really hot places, like Perth or Queensland for eg mean you are inside for hours a day to escape the worst of the heat!

dontevenblink Mon 11-Jul-16 02:40:59

I have 4dc smallmole and my eldest is 8. My eldest 2 were only very little when we moved out here so mine don't really know any different but for us personally we have a much better quality of life. We only had a small terraced house in the UK with a tiny garden, here we have a lovely big house with a great garden. Plus we are semi-rural so have lots of lovely walls on our doorstep which is great with our dog. We live behind the school and they can use all the play equipment (playgrounds, swings, assault courses, sandpit etc) in eves and weekends too. For us we would have loved to live in a pretty English village but where we were we just couldn't afford it. It is stunningly beautiful where we are now. I'm fact we were talking about how if we own lotto (there was a massive draw sat) we would still choose to live in the same area so we must be pretty happy smile

This is our second move in NZ though so I don't know how easy it would be to get a job somewhere more rural like this and not in the bigger centres, it is a small country and can be very much who you know. We came over due to a job in the south island and lives there for several years, then dh for a transfer through work as he does something quite specific and they needed him in this office. He wouldn't have been able to come straight here though, there are a fair few expats around but the only ones I know who came straight here work at the hospital. So that is something to think about, look at Wellington, Auckland, Christchurch and maybe Dunedin and see what you think newmama. Auckland is big and expensive and you'll most likely have a long commute, but it is warmer and is pretty, Wellington is nice and smaller but very hilly and windy (i thought they were exaggerating until we visited!). South Island cheaper (although Christchurch has got pretty pricy and there is a long long way still to go with the rebuild), Dunedin beautiful but colder. I'd recommend thinking about what type of place you'd like to live and go from there. If you can spend 4 weeks here do.

We find it much more child friendly here. Malls have baby and child rooms in with toys, feeding rooms etc I'm which makes it much easier when our and about (no malls where I live now though!). Cafes are very child friendly and I have found most people friendly. We go camping, walking and cycling a lot, the cycle paths are great here. Teenagers don't hang out on the children's play areas and they are normally intact with no graffiti and there are lots. Big culture of sport here and generally being outside. Dc do sports and fitness every day at school. Depending on where you live you can get outside for much much more of the year.

Yy to heating kiwidreamer. We've gone from a hrv and heatpump in our last house which was nice and warm (so it can be found!) to nothing. We've been able to see our breath on really cold days, luckily we don't get too many. It is amazing how much difference having the sun out makes.

Emigrating is not for everyone as kiwi said. We moved around a lot in UK and had always wanted to travel and have little family back in UK. I've met people that didn't even last a year as they missed family so much and that is a very expensive decision! It was the best decision we personally ever made but it is a very individual thing I think. I'll come back later with some more thoughts, feel free to ask questions smile

Liz09 Mon 11-Jul-16 02:56:14

Not from NZ, but from Australia, living in semi-rural NSW. smile

I have family in Dunedin and have been to the South Island several times, but only Queenstown has stuck with me as a place I would want to move to. Too cold, otherwise!

JellyTipisthebest Mon 11-Jul-16 04:33:19

I have been here just over 3 years. Live in Christchurch. Fist day of the holidays and it was cold this morning. Fire on first thing to get the house warm the off to the cinema with my two the hair cuts.
We love the lifestyle here. We are able to have a big 4 bed 2 bathroom house. Only had a small house in the uk. The kids love the outdoor lifestyle and winter sports. Even though its winter there is so much around to do lots of it free to.

ThumbWitchesAbroad Mon 11-Jul-16 04:57:01

Oo, hello Liz - what direction from Sydney are you? we're "semi-rural" as well (that is, the Sydneysiders call us "country folk") but 1.5h north of Sydney.

(Sorry, Aussie hijack of the NZ thread - bad form, I know!)

Liz09 Mon 11-Jul-16 05:29:18

Thumb We're about 1.5 hours South of Sydney. grin Literally about halfway between Canberra and Sydney!

Well, I can't find an Australian thread and we do love to claim things as our own, haha! wink

dontevenblink Mon 11-Jul-16 06:35:52

Come join us smile Right time zone anyway!

dontevenblink Mon 11-Jul-16 06:55:14

Queenstown has pretty amazing scenery Liz but it is pretty cold and remote. I did find a lot of it was backpacker hostels and bars though and it made me feel old grin My little brother worked there for 6 months when he was touring nz and Australia (although he never left Melbourne...hmm) and he loved the party lifestyle but even he said it was the most expensive part of NZ he visited. Think there is only a New World and no Kmart (which I unashamedly love!). Not a lot of choice. I know lots love it there though, I think I'm just more of a quiet town person, I loved Arrowtown more. Hawkes Bay suits me perfectly smile My sister on the other hand loves her London lifestyle and found NZ far too quiet, each to their own!

dontevenblink Mon 11-Jul-16 06:56:01

What's the weather like in Oz? I am cold tonight...

Liz09 Mon 11-Jul-16 07:08:34

Thanks dontevenblink!

I'm a big skier, so Queenstown appeals to me for that reason. I was born in the Snowy Mountains here in Aus, so I'm always drawn to that kind of lifestyle. But, unfortunately, I'd never find work in Queenstown and neither would my husband. sad I loved Arrowtown too!

It's apparently 13 degrees at the moment, but very windy and looks like it could rain (or not - who knows) any minute! At least you guys get a "proper winter" grin. I'd hate to live somewhere like QLD where they get no real autumn or winter... even though I spend all of winter griping about it wink.

What made you move to NZ initially? It's quite the trip from the UK! smile

dontevenblink Mon 11-Jul-16 07:27:47

I'm not a skier at all which would explain why it doesn't really appeal, I'm far too clumsy and afraid is break something grin I'm much happier in or on the water!

I don't do really hot and humid very well and do love seasons so NZ appealed. We always wanted to try living somewhere else and had always talked about emigrating since we met. We liked the idea of Canada too but it was basically a job offer straight after the Christchurch quakes as dh's profession was in demand and them paying for the relocation that got us out here. Then a very last minute transfer to the north island at the beginning of this year!

It is definitely a long way back and we have no plans to make the trip anytime soon. To far and costly with 4dc!

dontevenblink Mon 11-Jul-16 07:29:01

Ignore all spelling mistakes my phone's autocorrect has a very strong mind of its own!

ThumbWitchesAbroad Mon 11-Jul-16 11:17:01

Liz - every now and then there is a thread that will pop up suggesting a Sydney meet-up for us MNers. Keep an eye out for it - in fact I might even start one myself as we haven't had a meet for a while. If I can get there, so can you! grin

I have a friend who used to live in NZ, but I can't remember where - she moved from there to Cairns, and is now back in Plymouth in the UK. She's trailing her DH's academic career as he climbs the University ladder - but they all have Aussie citizenship, and I think they still own property here, so they may come back once this UK stint is over.

It's cold up here, but not as cold tonight as it has been, because we have had cloud cover all day (and still do). So it's around 15 degrees. The insulation in our house is dismal though (old, 1920/30s weatherboard job) so we really feel it. So different from the UK where it might get bastard cold outside, but at least indoors was lovely and warm! this morning it was warmer outdoors than it was in!

Never mind. I'm still glad we have seasons too. Couldn't do the year round warmth of N Queensland.

NZ is in my top 3 places to visit - I've been to a lot of places I wanted to go, but NZ and Canada are still awaiting. And I have to wait until DS2 is old enough to fully appreciate the experience before we go to Borneo - hopefully there will still be some orangutans left by then! (He's 3 now, I reckon at least 7 before it will be worth it?)

smallmole Mon 11-Jul-16 11:21:49

Thanks everyone - I'm learning loads and getting more and more keen on NZ! Would you mind telling me the things you've found to be the biggest change since moving? I've read lots of expat forums where people just whine and moan about how things are different in NZ to the UK - but that's kind of the point for me!

dontevenblink - you could be describing our current lives - small terraced house with tiny garden - I'd really love more space and more opportunity to get out and about. We're lucky in the area that we live in and we are able to spend time at the beach or in the woods most weekends (the kids don't really mind bad weather when they're messing about in the woods!) but I just feel like there is something about New Zealand that is very seductive...

dontevenblink Mon 11-Jul-16 12:02:48

Thumb if you ever find yourself in Hawkes Bay and want a tour give me a bell smile I've promised the 4dc when they're all school age we'll go on holiday to Australia, I'd love to visit Fiji or one of the other Pacific islands too. Mind you we've still got so much of NZ to see that should keep us busy for a good few years!

Hmm smallmole I was having a think about the biggest change and I think it's probably space. There is just so much more of it and it just feels so much less crowded. One of the first things we said when we arrived was how wide the streets were and how spaced out things seemed. I had a conversation with a kiwi the other day about houses and he was asking about ours back in the UK. He could not get his head round the fact we could only get to our garden through the house and that we had to park our car in the street. He kept asking where the garages were grin People generally cannot parallel park here as they just don't need to, it really confuses people when I reverse into a space!

You do have to get used to buying fruit and veges in season otherwise they are crazy prices (tomatoes and cucumbers are criminal prices at the moment) but there is something quite nice about it as well, plus in season can be very cheap - I paid 29c a kg for apples on Sat, although normally it's 99c. Also if you like shopping you may well be disppointed in the choice grin

Does anyone else still find the infomercials incredibly annoying? I swear we've had 5 years of that shark Hoover and the bloody bamboo pillows... I actually met that Suzanne woman in a Christchurch mall a couple of years ago trying to sell those pillows and she looked very scary! Is daytime tv dominated by infomercials in Oz too?

ThumbWitchesAbroad Mon 11-Jul-16 13:32:47

Thanks, don't even - if we ever get there, I'll take you up on that! smile

YES the infomercials drive me nuts. Especially the one for the body shaker thingy - no idea what it's called, because my brain goes into instant shutdown while I reach for the remote - and they go for so LONG! And then REPEAT!! We have commercial channels now, so there's less of it on the main ones. We only have freeview at home, DH is a bloody menace at channelhopping so I wouldn't have Foxtel in the house. He has got Netflix in his room now, so I don't have to suffer too much grin

Agreed on the parking as well - people here don't seem to understand what reverse is for. Or be able to use it. But then we're out in the sticks; I'm sure they're better at it in Sydney.

liz - started a meet up thread in this topic as well, will wait to see if anyone "bites" wink

specialsubject Mon 11-Jul-16 19:09:24

Ah yes, nz glorious fresh produce - you get lovely seasonal stuff rather than the look good taste of nothing rubbish compulsory in the UK. (When did we sign up for that?) Tomatoes in winter obviously have come a long way, why bother?

Landmass the size of the UK, 4 million people. 1 million in Auckland. Hence bags of room.

dontevenblink Mon 11-Jul-16 23:47:35

Yes thumb we only have freeview too. We mainly only watch netflix now as tv is so bad. They've even just got rid of one of the main channels, which had the morning kids tv programmes on. Now mine have to get their wiggles fix through Netflix!

I've asked mnhq to change the thread title to include Australia too smile

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