Seek, and you shall find.

I love looking at property. If I was a better sales person, I might even have gone into real estate. With our new focus over the last few months, I’ve looked at quite a few blocks of land so far, and we’ve now visited a few too. Everything starts to merge into one eventually, so wanted to remember the ones we’d physically seen, what worked and what didn’t…so here we go – welcome to my rolling list of green grass possibilities…

Rengaru Solar Village

If you’ve been reading about our journey for a while, you’ll know that I’ve rabbited on and on about this one and it was pretty heart-breaking to let it go 😦

Pros for both: Part of a village with same values, community feel, good fencing, gated, school up the road – with bus stop at gate, owners that had created an amazing organic, permaculture type environment

Cons: No transportable option due to limited access, long metal road to property, looong windey ride to Warkworth (and daycare/play centre), average wi-fi (well, I got nothing on iphone, Mark was fine on Samsung!)

Lot 8 / Kahu – 1.54ha

Pros: On top of a slope with a northerly aspect for part of it, good size, lovely rural views, lovely top soil, good road to drive.

Cons: Signs of erosion, sloping land – with no sun on parts, tricky site to build with average soil, no services – and large costs associated to how things need to be done due to covenants, very few established trees, no water source (although did have troughs for animals), lots of houses visible

Lot 4 /Kotare – 1.3ha

Pros: Lovely block of mature trees, reasonable cost

Cons: Mostly in a dip, very little northerly aspect, massive wetland across middle, steep driveway, signs of erosion, no services – and large costs associated to how things need to be done due to covenants and wetland, neighbours very close.


Lot 15, 262 West Coast Road, Ahuroa – 1.03ha

We didn’t stop to look at this one, but drove past it twice. We’d considered stopping, but it had an offer on it, and one back-up so it was more for getting a feel for what was on offer .

Pros: Beautiful trees, power to boundary

Cons: On a main road, very exposed to road so little privacy, wetland area (again!), a very weird shape, a lot of trees just other side of boundary.


276 Wech Access Road, Makarau – 1.27ha

Another one we drove past twice as it already had a contract in place by the time we inquired about it. It really was as pretty as a picture though!!

Pros: Power to boundary, just soooo pretty

Cons: Main road so less privacy, not many trees on actual land – all along boundary, went for low $500’s so more than we want to spend on land only


Lot 1 (1.29ha) & Lot 2 (1.28ha) Martin Access Road, Makarau

Gosh. These were rough as. They had just been felled of their pine trees, and I’d seriously worry about losing Luc (or possibly even Leo!) down one off the dips… it was completely topsy-turvy. Soooo fascinating to see what all is on offer! Lovely helpful agent though.

Pros for both: Lovely views (although there was new pines just planted, so not sure how that would effect the views later!), sooooo quiet, the whistling through the trees was sublime, fencing, power to boundary, off access road, did I mention how quiet!!

Cons for both: Roly poly and hilly as!! Looked very different to what I saw in pics, and was surprised by the up/down contour. A lot of unusable ground, maybe for goats! Southerly aspect, a lot of wind, and a massive pine block immediately behind us that will be coming down soon I’d say. Lot 1 was in a valley too, so maybe less wind – but less views too. Very interesting spaces!!


Up until this point, we’ve only looked at stuff in Makarau/Ahuroa – Mark really liked the idea of having 2 options to get to work – via west or North depending on traffic. And Ahuroa School looks too sweet.

Kaipara Flats is also an option though, so we decided to have a look at what was on offer that way. Interestingly enough, all the properties we wanted to look at were under Peter Morton @ Ray White – very convenient tbh.

It was A LOT of metal road to get there, but I think it was because we came from Makarau. Kaipara has a totally different feel than Makarau/Ahuroa – I think it’s got more open space (Kaipara Flats! Duh!) and we really really liked the feel, the small town hamlet and the sports club. I’m not however sure how often things come up for in this area, so we’ll just have to wait and see….

Lot 3, Corner of Kaipara Hills Road & Dill Road, Kaipara Flats – 1.17ha

Another very tricky space to imagine as the trees had only recently been cut and the title is only due 2022 as there is still some work around native bush to be sorted, plus fencing and driveways. Wet day – a lot of mud!

Pros: Lovely views all the way to Kaipara Harbour, just up the road from SH1, a much easier road to drive into Warkworth (daycare only 20 mins away!), great price, wi-fi seemed good

Cons: Southerly aspect, close to neighbours (you can see them in 2nd pic), off the grid, no geotech reports available, uber topsy-turvy


109 Dill Road, Kaipara Flats – 1.01ha

The pictures did not do this piece of land any justice. Even on a very grey day, it was really lovely to look at. Unfortunately, it did have a conditional offer on it… but the fact that it was southerly aspect was a big negative that I don’t think that Mark could overcome!

Pros: In Kaipara Flats!, really sweet piece of land, possibility of power from neighbour

Cons: Small – just 1ha, southerly aspect, likely off-grid, not much from our wish-list ticked

Looking sometimes means buying.

So, we may have got a little bit over excited about our plans!

Turns out, when it comes to bare land, you can get a bit buy-more-itis – just like anything at the mall! We were initially looking a lot further afield (as in Kerikeri further afield) but for a number of reasons – we’ve decided to stay closer to home and find something around Warkworth. (I know! A little bit fancy, right!).

So, of course, Trade Me beckoned – and I stumbled upon this piece of land that I really liked the look of… I mean, look at the block of trees!!!!

Lot 4 – Kotare

Here’s what it had to say:

Title issued, ready to build on now! Rare opportunity to create your dream home here or park up your tiny home to contemplate your future plans. From the moment you arrive through the electronic entry gates, you will see that the Rengaru subdivision has been designed with quality in mind. This groundbreaking, exclusive development will incorporate the very best of 21st century design and technology, seamlessly alongside sustainable and environmentally conscious living.

Rengaru is nestled serenely below the Kaipara Hills surrounded by an abundance of native trees, birds and wildlife. Peaceful and tranquil, yet just a short drive to Warkworth, SH1 and SH16, East Coast beaches and the Matakana Coast Wine Country.

Kotare is one of just 6 sections available within approximately 100 hectares of organically run farm. A stunning 1.3ha, two paddock section; the north facing house site is beautifully nestled into the landscape with a backdrop of a Kahikatea grove and panoramic rural views. The driveway to your section, fencing and gravity fed stock trough are already in place. Geotechnical report is available and sensible covenants are in place to protect your asset for the future. Don’t delayβ€”call for more details and to start your journey to lifestyle living! Additional information available at http://www.rengarusolarvillage.co.nz tiny home, transportable homes, solar, eco living, sustainable living, off grid, passive solar, environmental living, alternative living, organic

https://www.trademe.co.nz/a/property/residential/lifestyle-property/listing/2488208693?bof=102T8ydl

No, we won’t delay! Where the hell do we sign up?? Let us at it….

*Heads to website and feverishly reads about this little bit of paradise*

Shit. It’s off-grid. As in COMPLETELY off-grid. But it’s so lovely. Maybe we can make it work. Maybe we’ll just go and have a look. Maybe we’ll just start our journey by looking at this one property, which will be a good gauge when we look at others. Maybe. Maybe. Maybe.

Appointment requested. We’re off to see this piece of land. Just to look. We won’t buy now. Of course not. We can’t. Our house isn’t sold, and I’ve yet to find enough work (rather important to secure the loan). Even though Rengaru whispers to our souls about living lightly on the land, and co-creating a haven with a community for a better future for all!

We’ll just look.

So, it went something like this….

We got there and released our krakens! They bolted straight down to the streams edge, and started throwing stones into it. I met – and immediately adored – Jo Montague from Harcourts. I totally over-shared (yes, yes, those that know me stop your snickering!) and said that we’ve got the smallest of small budgets, that we’re not normal Aucklander’s with a million dollars available, that we’re desperate to be part of such an incredible opportunity, that Mark literally reads soil books, and that we absolutely love what Bev and Dave had done! Yes, we absolutely kept our cards completely close to our chests. (When I say ‘we’, I actually mean ‘me’! πŸ˜‚)

“I’m sure we can make it work,” she said calmly.

“Now, I know you wanted to see Lot 4 (1.31ha, more than we paid for our first house!), but I think we’ll just have a look at Lot 8 first (1.55ha – and a mere $30,000 more). I feel like your family would have a lot more room to do the things you want to on that one. We’ve also had someone look at Lot 4 twice now and they’re close to putting in an offer.”

Lot 8 – Kahu

Um. Ok. Cause we’re just looking and totally not buying.

What was that? Did anyone else hear that loud bang???

Ahhh, only Mark falling utterly and completely in love. Hard.

Oh, shit (and yes, there was a lot of that!!). We’re not just looking. We’re talking offers. We’re talking about actually buying this baby! But we haven’t sold our house yet. I’m still looking for some more work. We can’t do this. How are we going to make it work? How can we do it??

Mark looks at me with those beautiful blue eyes.

“I’m sure we can make it work,” he said calmly.

So, yes, we’ve put an offer in, with some conditions, and after much to-ing and fro-ing, we’ve struck a deal. And now we’re working really, really hard to see if we can make it happen… because, like everyone keeps telling me…

“I’m sure we can make it work.”

Stick around my friends, let’s see if we actually can.

Highlights of the day:

Leo herding a sheep back in its pen… he was so damned pleased! He looked at me and said, ‘Mum, I didn’t think that I could do that!’

Luc running around like such a headless chook that he fully exhausted himself, and had to be carried back to the car – which meant that I got covered in the sheep shit that was all over his boots!

Putting an offer in on a piece of land that we love.

Dream a little dream.

Mark and I have been together a looooong time. As in from the previous decade, before the last one, long! We’ve had a lot of dreams. To travel (ongoing). To have a beautiful family (tick). Buy a house (tick). Build a house (on the list). Live a sustainable life on a beautiful homestead (starting to happen right now!!!!).

The itch to have space, space and more space has become harder and harder to ignore as we’ve got older, and particularly after the weirdness of last year. I’m no small-town girl… I’ve tried it twice before and hated it. But all those times were in suburbia. Which is exactly the same suburbia in big cities (which I’m not a fan of either) – but without the benefits. I’m not sure I’m a natural country girl either (although I do love a pair of wellies). But I want to be. I really want to be. There’s something about the thought of that lifestyle that makes my feet itch and my soul crave. Maybe I am those things I thought I never was and I just haven’t had the opportunity to set them free. And even if I’m not, it’s the space I’ll love. And lucky for me, Mark is that guy – a small town, homesteader kinda guy. So, we’re going to do it and it will be bloody awesome.

We took the first step to make it happen by putting our first home, in a small rural town, on the market. And it feels great. I’m just so delighted that we’ve taken that first step to make the next one happen. And the universe is good like that, it will support us as it’s coming from a place of love, growth and a desire to be better. That positive energy will make magic happen.

Of course, this will come with a lot of change. That doesn’t really scare me all that much. I do love (some) change. I have to regularly remind myself that ‘wherever I go, there I am’ because I’m always dreaming up this or that type of change! If I can’t be exquisitely happy where I am, it’s likely that I won’t be anywhere else either. But if it’s coming from a place of love – then all will be well. It’s still scary though to take a chance. I believe there are no wrong decisions, and we could always make a another decision if this one doesn’t work out. But really, all I’m feeling is such excitement about what could be….

Although we’ve talked about this for years, we’ve recently had some amazing inspiration from a number of sources, one of which was ‘Biggest Little Farm’ on Neon. I actually watched it first on my own, and then forced the family to watch it again the next evening. It’s all the things that we’ve started appreciating and thinking about ourselves.

We’re not going down that path. It was a huge project. But It was still soooo inspiring to see what they did. And so, a number of You Tube clips have followed, all on biodiverse and permaculture farming. Mark is waaaayyyy into it. I know. Riveting watching. But it really is. Being able to grow your own food is pretty frecken awesome!

But first steps first. Sell house. Buy new house. Live the dream. Easy peasy, right? Totally. πŸ™‚