So I haven’t written an update in quite a while on how our life is going living over here in New Zealand. We are still living in Auckland at the moment, with an exciting Christmas adventure to look forward to.
When I last wrote we had been living in Auckland a short while and have now been here 6 weeks (tomorrow). I thought I would draw on some of the points I addressed in my first post I wrote when we arrived in Auckland – covering topics to consider and think about as a UK person living in NZ.
Work/Jobs: We are over here on working holiday visas, which enables us to work over here – with a few limitations. My husband, John, is a Software Developer and has been contracting back home, working on a daily rate, with more flexible contracts. So it seemed like a natural progression for him to look for similar work over here. We found that Auckland had the most work of that kind, so John applied for jobs. He did get a job incredibly quickly actually! He started looking for jobs on the Saturday (mostly using Seek), applied for a job on the Sunday, got a call that day about it, went for an interview on Monday and started on Tuesday! It is working for a great advertising agency here in the city working on big brands such as Coca Cola and Cadbury. He was initially given a 2 week contract with the view to extending it until Christmas – which they did. So he is working there up until Christmas now, and with a good daily rate so we are able to live quite comfortably. Regarding my work situation I am currently working on self employed projects working from home. I have actually started my own business – very very recently – which will be a travel consultancy business helping people wishing to travel to New Zealand. It is still in the REALLY early stages but I am giving it a go because am really passionate about it, and really feel I can help people have their own amazing New Zealand Adventures! I will post more about my business as I go and develop it. Two people who have been fundamental in helping start this are my sister, Kat, (marketing guru, who runs her own business called Thought Cloud) and my husband John – an amazing web and software developer. So with their help and support I hope I can build something successful that I can be proud of.
Accommodation: Since I last wrote we have moved from the Celestion Apartment to an apartment on Auckland’s waterfront. We got a reduced rate for committing to a month which is good. Our apartment overlooks the water and the Auckland harbour bridge which is nice. We are right at the end of Princes Wharf in the centre, so very close to everything in the centre (including the ferry terminal) but it is also really quiet which is the perfect combination. It is a nice place to work at home from and I enjoy watching the boats that pass the window during the day, and especially watching all the sailboats out in the evening, if the weather is nice. The sunsets from here are also pretty spectacular – see my photos! The one thing I would say about accommodation is that unless you can commit to somewhere long-term (at least 3 months and most likely 6 months) then you will have to still pay a fairly high nightly rate. Places like Gumtree and Trade Me are only really useful for accommodation of a longer length. And with the uncertainty we had over John’s job we haven’t been able to commit to Auckland long-term so have been paying more nightly rates through our time here. We are ok with this as like leading a fairly nomadic lifestyle for now, and also it gives us the flexibility to go pretty much where we want to after Christmas! We are just finalising our plans for after the New Year so will post soon after everything has been sorted
Phone/Internet: As I posted before we got a great deal on our phones with Telecom and have been making do with internet. We are paying a reduced rate for internet at our accommodation so it isn’t too bad. NZ is definitely behind the UK in terms of good cheap internet options though!
Tax registration: My husband has registered with the IRD – which he did within about a week of starting work. It was fairly simple to do – he just filled out the relevant form, and took his ID and supporting documents to a local post shop so he could have it sent off. Then he called up the tax office to obtain his number, which he gave to his employer so is being taxed correctly.
Bank/Money: We have been into our local Westpac and picked up our NZ account debit cards which is quite exciting! Now John is being paid in NZ dollars we have been using this more than relying on trying to access our UK money all the time.
Travel: We have used the transport system a fair bit – taking the train to Mount Smart stadium to see Coldplay, buses to Mission Bay and the zoo and ferries to Devonport and Waiheke, plus a few other trips. We have got used to it now, but Auckland is quite a sprawling city, so you can’t easily walk everywhere (which is a shame, as this is something we like to do wherever possible!).
Food: We have been living relatively cheaply, although with groceries costing a fair bit more than back in the UK this has been interesting at times! We have been using the local Countdown as it is walkable and usually buy things on offer there. We have also discovered a lovely takeaway pizza place called Crust – based in Parnell, and do order the odd takeaway every now and again for there as a treat.
I would add one more category and that is:
Weather: Obviously we are dealing with opposite seasons to the UK over here, so summer officially started on 1st Dec. We had a really lovely hot weekend just gone, and have had a lot of sun, but like the UK the weather is also quite unpredictable and prone to a fair bit of rain! Whilst I write this I am sat looking out at a big storm that is hitting Auckland with torrential rain, causing flooding. The news has also reported a tornado has hit Auckland, really sadly resulting in some fatalities just a few miles from here. It is quite scary when things like that happen just on your doorstep. It has also been strange being in a much warmer climate in the lead up to Christmas – as for me Christmas is associated with cold and snow! So it just doesn’t feel as Christmassey as usual.
Overall then we are really enjoying our New Zealand Adventure. To be completely honest Auckland was never our ‘favourite’ place in NZ when we visited in the past, so it wasn’t our first choice of place to live. However, as I am sure many people realise, you need money to be able to survive and travel so it has made sense to live here and make some money (as well as pay off some of the money we spent travelling in the first 5 weeks when we arrived here!) – at least up until Christmas. After that we plan to hopefully head back to South island – work permitting – and have some more adventures. We have tried to make the most of everyday we are here and Auckland has really grown on us over the time we have spent here. Visiting delightful Devonport and wonderful Waiheke (which I hope to post about soon) has really helped, as they are such beautiful places and nice places to get away from the hustle and bustle of the CBD. Waiheke is especially gorgeous and a really lovely place to visit.
Also, as my previous post mentioned my parents are coming over from the UK for Christmas (and my sister is also flying over from Sydney) so we will all be together in Queenstown, which I really can’t wait for. I have missed my parents a lot since leaving the UK in September so it will be wonderful to see them and spend the Christmas season as a family. Lots to look forward to and with many more adventures to come!
I have posted a few pictures I have taken around Auckland in the last few weeks that didn’t fit into any of my other posts below (I have many more yet to post for Devonport and Waiheke):