Saturday, 15 November 2014

The KiwiSaver Experience

One Kiwi's view on KiwiSaver

I decided to stray off the path a little here and write a post about my experience with the KiwiSaver scheme.. I am surprised to met people who think twice about joining even now in 2014 and when you think of how much they could have saved by now.
 For me joining the KiwiSaver scheme was perhaps one of the best moves I made. Talking my husband into signing up not long after was the second best move. In a very short time we saved a lot of money. In the early days the top up was a little over 1000$ each year depending on how much you have contributed, and that certainly made a huge difference to the balance. Now the top up is half that but the savings still grows.

A Chance To Purchase

My income has always been at the low end of the scale yet when KiwiSaver came along I did not even have to consider the option to join or not I just knew it was wise and that I would learn to live without the small percentage of my wage that I contribute each week. I did not even miss it.

We Bought a House in 2012.

The chance came up to try and purchase a house. My mother was terminally ill and a house next door to where she lived had been on the market for a year. I had been running into town from a farm house we rented for 5 years 7 days a week to help her and so as the help she needed was becoming more time consuming  I had plenty of motivation to find an  easier solution. Plus I always wanted my own house.
 I went to the auction on the house next door and was amazed at the low bids put in . It  did not sell and that got me thinking. I had saved a little and after going over figures on a mortgage calculator and looking at savings along with home start help through our KiwiSaver I figured we had nothing to loose so decided to give it a go.
We got lucky and purchased the property. With out the added help from KiwiSaver the outcome may not have been successful. It helped so much and the good news our top ups and employer contributions stayed in out KiwiSaver accounts and now after 2 years .
Sadly Mum 's illness won over 9 months later. She was so happy that we had a house and enjoyed watching us put the gardens in .
 I love the house and it is great owning our own home and also have a tidy balance which is being added to each week to help with our retirement.

Sum It Up

It pays to join KiwiSaver in my view, a good move to make.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Wild West Auckland Coast

At Last

 I have so amazing photos to share with you of Auckland's West Coast.
It has been a while coming but  finally I have managed a weekend away with friends and have just enjoyed 2 wonderful nights in a place called Keddle House. A concrete Californian style cottage. Build in 1931 on a cliff overlooking Anawhata Beach just north of Auckland's famous Piha Beach.

Keddle House

The cottage itself is available to the public for accommodation for a very good price.
The views are  totally million dollar views and this is also a good base if you love nature and tramping as there are many walks in the area a favourite for tramping in the Waitakere Ranges.

The Batch sleeps 6, has solar power, good kitchen with gas for cooking., Double bed and 2 sets single bunks. Oh and unbelievable views.
The road out to  Keddle House is long , metal, narrow at times and windy. There are a number of walks off the road.

A weekend of walks, photography and stunning views.

The weekend as usual went too fast. But it was fantastic. The camera clicked continuously and I have to say some of the best scenery I have seen. The walk down to the beach from the Cottage was steep and we made several trips down and back up over the weekend. The following are just some of the 246 photos that I ended up taking. If you are in Auckland and love nature and scenery I recommend a trip to Auckland's West Coast. A beautiful place.

 Photos of Anawhata Beach West Coast Auckland New Zealand

I think you will agree the scenery of New Zealand's West Coast is Breath taking.

Amazing Views Over Anawhata  Beach West Coast Auckland

Rock Formations West Coast Beach NZ

Keddle House

Hope you like the photos I enjoyed taking them and soaking up a weekend with Nature.

Auckland Day Tours

Sunday, 27 April 2014

A Day On Waiheke Island

My Day Trip To Waiheke Island

My son had a wonderful idea a day trip to Waiheke.
A great chance to catch and enjoy a late summers day.

If you are visiting Auckland or even live near Auckland and are looking for a great day out. You may like to check out Waiheke Island.

Only about a half hour ferry ride from Auckland or Devenport .
You can make a day of it with family or friends and either take a picnic or have lunch at one of the many vineyards or cafes on the island.

Waiheke Island is quite large I discovered and most people use cars to get around. You can take a car on the car ferry, hire a car over there, hire scooters and push bikes, bus  or do as I did and start walking once you get off the ferry. I did notice a couple of people on horse back too.
I believe you can get a day bus ticket  cheap if you need to rest your legs along the way.

Visiting Waiheke on Foot.

I found walking to be a good way to get around. There is a slight rise from the ferry and a hill or two to  climb  but I would say I am med fitness and did not find it too challenging.

We just followed the roads and the footpaths, with one exception of a bush walk track or too as a short cut. We first walked into a the town area with shops and cafes and then called in on an local art gallery before checking out a slightly elevated road to see what awesome views we could find for photography.

Then after cutting through a bush track we found ourselves back on the Ocean view Road and headed off in another direction in search of a vineyard for lunch.

You  get to enjoy views of the ocean, bush, vineyards and olive groves as you move around the Island.
After a yummy lunch and wine it was time to head back towards the ferry terminal for the trip back to Auckland.
Once you visit Waiheke Island you quickly realise that you want to go back and I think the best way to see the Island is to stay a night or two and maybe hire a scooter. There is lots of accommodation available on the Island .

Great to catch up with my son and we had a top day out. Loved it. Can't wait to go back.
Hobbiton Movie Set Tours

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Out Bird spotting Nz

I love being out with my camera  and I love photographing Nature. Anything from plants , ocean , bush to animals and especially birds as they make good subjects especially when they stay still.
It is not always easy though.  Sea Gulls a favourite photo subject  and Wood Pigeons. The Pukeko's  are always fun to try and capture and Tuis well they just don't stay still.

I thought it would be a nice post to check out some birds that I have managed to capture on camera in New Zealand. I will keep trying and add more as I can.


Oyster Catcher


Wood Pigeon

Shag There are two trees at two local beaches around here where these birds can always be found perched and ready for photos

More to Come

Fishing Off Kawau Island

Hi Everyone,

I have been so busy for a while and have not written a post  for a while. But rest assured I will pop back from time to time and share my experiences and photos of my life in New Zealand.

You may have gathered by now I live North of Auckland, actually the area I live in is now  considered as  part of Auckland.

I love fishing and try to  spend a bit of time on the sea when ever  I can .
I am lucky that my brother has a boat so I can go out from time to time .

The Early Morning Sea Was Calm
Leaving Early  Morning off  Martins Bay North of Auckland

This week I get to go out  fishing twice and our trip on Monday was an early start. I was amazed at first that nobody else was taking the advantage of Easter Monday there is usually lots keen boaties out on the water by now.
 I was more  amazed that once we were out in the bay that there was not a boat to be seen anywhere. I have never seen that before and could only wonder if we should have taken more notice and perhaps checked the latest weather  forecast for warnings.

As the wind whipped up and the clouds threatened my fears only deepened. But true to my nature all I really cared about was getting the bait in the water.          

The fish were biting as soon as the bait was down and we pulled up a variety of sizes , all Snapper. Keepers being now over 30cm or larger many were returned to the sea.

How the Seas can Change.

The weather whipped up and we went from calm to rough to white caps to calm again to rain squall s to sun and as we headed back to the mainland we endured  metre swells. followed by calm and then a howling wind. I have never in all my days   seen the ocean change so many times in a matter of  a few hours.
The good news the fish did not stop biting and although we sent most of them back for being undersized we managed a nice feed of Snapper another good trip fishing.

My best scenic photos taken from the boat. Check out how the sky changes so much in each photo.
Rain ,Sun and Rainbows.

Looking forward to my next trip out tomorrow. I love the sea and do not mind too much if the weather roughs up.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Watch The Sun Come Up Rangitoto Island Auckland

Beautiful Sunrise....You do not need to travel far out of the  Auckland City to get a perfect scenic sunrise. All you need to do is find your way to one of the many North Shore Beaches or try what I did last  weekend and head off on an early morning fishing trip.
As long as it is going to be a nice day and you leave early enough you will not be disappointed and Rangitoto sets the perfect scene for some stunning photos.
I was not too keen to take my good camera out fishing but instead used my mobile to get these photos of the sun rising behind the  Island.

As for the Fishing

Although we got lots of good bites we ended up with only two snapper that were keepers but I have never been disappoint at this location for fishing as there is so much else going on around the channel it is a little different that the norm that I am used to.

There are often large ships coming into the city and always something to look at and to keep you entertained. Can't wait to go again.


Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Enjoyed a Walk and Picnic at Regional Park NZ

The summer in NZ so far has been extremely changeable. We had some really hot weather end Nov, Dec 13 leading into Christmas but since then it has been a mix of rain, wind ,hot and cold. Even the plants in the garden seem to be confused at the moment. But between work and lots of Christmas visitors I did manage to meet up with friends and have a lovely picnic at out local Regional Park.
The drive is  a little challenging at times with a narrow rough road part of the way to get there but it does not take too long about a half hour from Warkworth  and well worth a visit.

The park is beautiful and you can swim, surf, snorkel, camp, bush walk, check out caves and more
Recommend a day trip with a picnic and head out there early in the day.
Check out some  of my photos

On a nice day at Tawharanui you just don't want to leave I am lucky to live close and visit often. I am planning my first camp out there so I can explore some more. This Regional Park is a must visit on your travel list if you are coming to Auckland North New Zealand.
There are also caves and deep rock pools. Visit previous post on the park for more photos.Click Here