Waiheke Island: 1st March to 5th April
We are now three weeks into our stay on Waiheke Island and I thought it was time to report on how we are finding life on an island. For those of your reading that don’t know, me and my husband are currently both working from home, and have been moving around New Zealand since our arrival back in September. We have been doing a mixture of travelling and working from home in different locations. It has been brilliant being able to work from home as we have been able to experience living in different places and seeing what life is really like. So far we have worked from home in Auckland, Queenstown and Glenorchy – and travelled round most of the country on various holidays. We decided (prior to John securing his work from home) that for these 5 weeks it would be good to be near Auckland in case John needed to do IT contract work. It just so happens the company he works for are amazing and have let him work from anywhere. Still, we had already booked our holiday house here in Waiheke and flew up here from Glenorchy on Friday 1st March. The reason we decided to live up here in Waiheke is after loving our day visit we took back in December, which I blogged about here – we loved the walk we took exploring the gorgeous beaches.
We have discovered – as with most places actually – living here is very different! Don’t get me wrong we love Waiheke and it will be one of the most memorable parts of our New Zealand adventure – just for many different reasons! Let me start with the things we love about living here:
Our lovely little Tui Cottage – despite a few negatives (see below) that are ‘island’ issues – we really love our holiday house. It does have a few quirks (the washing machine is under the house, and has to have the hose pumping water out of it connected into a tube that flows out of the door and onto the garden! And it only has cold water!), but we really do feel quite at home here. It is small and cosy and actually just the right size for me and John. The furnishings are lovely, the TV a nice size, and it has a nice comfortable bed. It is also in a good location in the small town of Surfdale – with a great little bakery, convenience shop and a water tank giving out free water! (water comes at a premium on the island – see below!) and only a 10 minute walk to the gorgeous Little Oneroa beach. It also has on ocean view from the kitchen window!
- The beaches – they are simply stunning, and pretty much deserted! We live a 5 minute walk from the south facing Surfdale beach, and a short walk from the beautifully sandy north-facing beaches of Oneroa and Little Oneroa. We have also visited Onetangi beach, which we think is our favourite – the biggest on the island – which was incredible! The sand was a gorgeous colour, with the beautiful sea lapping at the shores – which had enticed a few swimmers when we visited a few weeks ago.
- Pizza on the beach! Yes really! There is a small ‘mobile’ pizza place right on Little Oneroa beach – called Dragonfired. They have won a few awards, and serve up delicious wood fired organic pizza from their amazing wood fired oven. Quite unique!
Waiheke’s ‘quaint’ appeal – Just taking a walk into Surfdale’s shops yesterday we came across someone running a garage sale from a little shop they own – complete with an awesome book on ships and a fax machine! We also saw someone that appeared to be taking their horse for a walk 🙂
- The birds – staying in Tui Cottage we are frequently visited by tuis and other native birds in our lovely gardens.
- The peace and quiet – obviously there is a general level of day to day noise, but in general Waiheke is a nice and peaceful place.
However there have also been some things that have been an ‘experience’:
The water situation – before booking our holiday house I rather ignorantly didn’t know that Waiheke island doesn’t have a mains water supply! So everyone has their own water tank that stores the water they use, and as such we have to be really careful and conserve water wherever possible. You also get the odd occasion where brown water comes out the tap – which happened to me when I was brushing my teeth – nice!
Insect bites – this has been a real problem for me if I am honest. Despite using excellent insect repellant I have been repeatedly bitten by mossies and other creatures (I am still not sure what!). Some of the bites I had were really very bad, and got really red and swollen (see a pic I took as they were calming down!). I probably had about 16 bites at one point, and 4 of them were very bad. I used all of the right stuff on them though and luckily they calmed down. I think I had an allergic reaction or something to them.
The cars – we rented a very old car from someone on arrival (who I won’t name as he lacked any customer service skills at all unfortunately) that didn’t appear to be at all roadworthy (we nicknamed the car Adolf, as it was evil!). Its speedometer and fuel gauge were broken and part of it appeared to be falling down underneath, but we stuck with it for a weekend and it just about managed to get us around the island without breaking down. I must admit we weren’t sad to see it go!
- Food – those of you who know me will know I am a fussy eater (yes really) and we have struggled quite a bit to find food I can eat on the island. The supermarket isn’t really that big, and has a limited selection of food. Other than the pizza place on the beach there isn’t really anywhere we enjoy eating out either. So we have enjoyed little breaks in Auckland to stock up on eating meals out!
- Ants – eek! Yes the whole island is swarming with them and this is one of the only down sides with our lovely little cottage – ants. We have become incredible clean freaks staying here, and clean up every crumb and bit of food after eating, clean all the time and empty bins, and still get ants. We think they are part and parcel of the island and are learning to live with them.
- Earthquakes – whilst not Waiheke’s fault we experienced two small earthquakes while we were here – read more about them on a previous blog posting here.
- Banshee bird – that is what we call him. We haven’t heard him lately but a little pain of a birdie decided to take up home outside our house for a few evenings and made THE loudest squawking noises possible for a small bird. Nothing (tv, music etc.) was able to drown him out. Hopefully he has found a new home far far away and won’t be back 🙂
We are currently in Auckland for a night’s break to go to the cinema and a nice meal – only we can take a holiday in Auckland from Waiheke! It is usually the other way round!
So those are our successes and trials and tribulations of living on Waiheke, and with just over 2 weeks to come I am sure there are more in store!