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Thread: California family - scouting NZ for a possible move to Nelson or Tauranga.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
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    New Zealand
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    16

    Default California family - scouting NZ for a possible move to Nelson or Tauranga.

    Hi all,

    We are considering moving to New Zealand in the next couple of years, and are travelling to NZ in Sept for a 3 week trip see how we like it in person. We have a 14 month old daughter and another daughter on the way!

    The most important things to us are to find a place that's peaceful and safe, good for raising a family (good schools) and not too much rain. A place that would have a small city feel, but not too isolated.

    From what we've read, we think that either Nelson or Taurange are great options. We are planning to fly into Auckland, drive to Tauranga, then to Wellington. From there, fly to Nelson and spend a few days there.

    A few questions:

    1) Are there any other locations we should be considering to add to our itinerary?

    2) Any specific area in Nelson and Tauranga we should be focusing on.

    3) Would it be appropriate to contact real estate agents and look at a few properties during our visit? We are not ready to buy just yet, but would love to get a good sense of what you can get and be able to check out a few places in person. Would the agents consider it a waste of time since we're not yet ready to buy? Should we contact in advance before we leave CA, or just wandering into a real-estate agency?

    4) Are there any Ex-pat groups or something along those lines we could meet while there? We believe that getting first-hand info from locals who have made a similar move would be invaluable.

    Thanks!

    Staci

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
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    Scotland to Wellington
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    Default

    Hello and welcome.
    Have you got your residence visas sorted out? What about employment, are you looking in a specific field?
    I don't know about Nelson but houses are often sold via open homes - so you can check out what is around and get a feel for prices, houses, areas etc without contacting a real estate agent beforehand. You can just go to those.

    You could take the boat to Picton from Wellington too instead of flying.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    36,798

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    As girlwithanewf says, do investigate what visas you may be eligible for. https://www.immigration.govt.nz/new-zealand-visas In most cases, getting a NZ visa is dependent on what qualifications you have, and what job you can get. So where you can consider living can in turn depend on where someone will offer you a job, and in small centres of population, there may not be much work available.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    If a nice smaller city with good weather are the priorities, you might want to also look at the Napier area. If rain was not a huge impediment, there are some other great options, especially smaller neighborhood near larger cities. Keep in mind that many NZ cities are really small buy US standards (places with 50K people are "cities.". You may find neighborhood near one of the larger NZ centers like Wellington feels much more in line with what you are hoping for... except wetter

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    United States
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    Tauranga is fairly wet. Its gets about 47 inches of rain a year, about the same as AKL and Welly. Nelson gets about 37, Napier 30, CC 26. https://www.currentresults.com/Weath...al-average.php In comparison, Seattle gets 38 inches, SF 25, LA 15 inches. But moving from CA to anywhere requires adapting to a harsher climate. And moving from anywhere to NZ means more wind.

    Also, keep in mind that NZ "cities" are a lot smaller than what we typically think of as a city in the US. for example, the greater Eureka area in northern CA has about 135K people, about the same as Tuaranga and Dunedin and Napier/hastings is about 120K. And all are a 2-3 hour drive from other larger population centers. Nelson has about 1/2 that population. So again, a town closer to a major population center like Welly or CC might feel a bit more connected.

    When I read your wish list, the place that actually pops into mind is in Australia... the towns in the Sunshine Coast area about 90 minutes north of Brisbane.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    New Zealand
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    16

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    Quote Originally Posted by tk1 View Post
    Tauranga is fairly wet. Its gets about 47 inches of rain a year, about the same as AKL and Welly. Nelson gets about 37, Napier 30, CC 26. https://www.currentresults.com/Weath...al-average.php In comparison, Seattle gets 38 inches, SF 25, LA 15 inches. But moving from CA to anywhere requires adapting to a harsher climate. And moving from anywhere to NZ means more wind.

    Also, keep in mind that NZ "cities" are a lot smaller than what we typically think of as a city in the US. for example, the greater Eureka area in northern CA has about 135K people, about the same as Tuaranga and Dunedin and Napier/hastings is about 120K. And all are a 2-3 hour drive from other larger population centers. Nelson has about 1/2 that population. So again, a town closer to a major population center like Welly or CC might feel a bit more connected.

    When I read your wish list, the place that actually pops into mind is in Australia... the towns in the Sunshine Coast area about 90 minutes north of Brisbane.
    That is all great info! Thank you so much! My husband has been to Noosa Heads in the Sunshine Coast and LOVED it but we still feel like New Zealand might be a better fit for us.

    The rain is a concern. We thought Nelson was the sunniest city in all of New Zealand (still obviously not as sunny as what we are used to in Los Angeles).

    In regards to a Visa, we have done some research, and if we proceed with our plan to emigrate, we will apply for an investor visa. In that aspect we should have flexibility as far as location.

  7. #7
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    When we lived in Wellington, when it rained it came down heavy (and sideways) and then the sun often came out that day or at least that week. Not like Seattle, where you have 3 months of sun in the summer but 5 months of grey drizzle in the winter. As for sun, you are right about Nelson (https://www.currentresults.com/Weath...al-average.php ). Nelson is known for generally good weather, and unlike SoCal, there is actual "weather" and not the same thing every day with varying degrees of heat. You really appreciate a nice day after a big storm passes through. To me, the key is being able to do things outside all year round when you get a nice day- and places like Nelson, Tauranga and Napier all qualify. Wellington to, but you just have fewer "nice days" in the winter and overall, but a better CBD.

    And Noosa is lovely. When we visited it was a bit hot, but overall a really idyllic spot near ocean, hills, forests and with a fair bit of quality food and attractions. And just the right distance from Brisbane (although Brisbane is not as interesting as Melbourne or Sydney in terms of big city life.)
    Last edited by tk1; 21st August 2016 at 07:54 AM.

  8. #8
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    May 2009
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    Blenheim
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    Quote Originally Posted by StaciP View Post
    That is all great info! Thank you so much! My husband has been to Noosa Heads in the Sunshine Coast and LOVED it but we still feel like New Zealand might be a better fit for us.

    The rain is a concern. We thought Nelson was the sunniest city in all of New Zealand (still obviously not as sunny as what we are used to in Los Angeles).

    In regards to a Visa, we have done some research, and if we proceed with our plan to emigrate, we will apply for an investor visa. In that aspect we should have flexibility as far as location.
    At the moment Blenheim is the sunniest city.., always a bit of a contest. Just sayin'.....
    I know that lots of people consider Nelson first choice, yes, the Able Tasman is close, and yes, it has a very nice seaside feeling, but in a way it is more isolated than Blenheim, since you always have to cover the extra distance to get to other places....

    Probably biased here, just to put another option in.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
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    United States
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    Red face

    Quote Originally Posted by newarrival View Post
    At the moment Blenheim is the sunniest city.., always a bit of a contest. Just sayin'.....
    I know that lots of people consider Nelson first choice, yes, the Able Tasman is close, and yes, it has a very nice seaside feeling, but in a way it is more isolated than Blenheim, since you always have to cover the extra distance to get to other places....

    Probably biased here, just to put another option in.
    I'm California raised (hold an Oz passport so visas aren't a problem) with a rural orientation. I can't afford California prices. I just spent a few weeks wandering around the top of South Island. Ended up buying in a little town called Seddon, about 20km south of Blenheim. Vineyards all over the place, excellent wine, looks a lot like Napa but nowhere near so built up and gentrified by wealthy investors with trophy vineyards. It's both one of the sunniest and one of the driest places in New Zealand . . . the hills do sometimes turn tawny .. . and some surprises that make a Californian feel at home, like the occasional California quail or poppy. Don't know how good or bad the schools are but seems very friendly and safe.

    I'd say do a lot of searching on the internet. Use Google Maps to figure out what the landscape is like. Working with realtors was painful because, unlike the US, they do not operate on a multi-list basis. Harcourts will only show you Harcourts properties, Baleys, Baleys' properties, etc. Do use the telephone a lot once you touch down. I almost didn't get the house I wanted because the realtor forgot to reply to an email...I only viewed it after I called personally and asked for a viewing.
    Last edited by sandgrubber; 16th October 2016 at 12:00 PM. Reason: further thoughts

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Tauranga
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    There is a perennial competition which town/city is New Zealand's "sunshine capital". In 2016 and 2015, Blenheim took the cup. However, close runner-up and 2014 sunshine capital is Whakatane. When you are in Tauranga and have enough time, maybe it's worth to drive one hour east and check out Whakatane. It's smaller, but it's pretty, has a nice feel, good infrastructure and a wonderful beach, Ohope Beach, just over the hill.

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