Posted by: Vallere | February 6, 2011

Home, at last!

Saturday morning, January 29, Wayne came over to our hotel to drive us up to our house. Folks, “hairpin” doesn’t even begin to describe the curviness of the road he took us up. There were more blind curves than I could count, but looking out over the whole city – including the river and ocean (and Mt Ruapahu on a clear day) – from the top of Bastia Hill makes it all worth it!

Our driveway is at an angle only someone who had summited Mount Everest could really appreciate. I had my doubts that our little Toyota was going to make it! We all climbed out of the car and we were HOME! Finally!

The boys took off through the house while Wayne tried to give The Doc and I a guided tour. The house is on a really steep hill and is built in levels, so as to be build up the hill, if that makes sense. On the lowest level is the dining room, which has a door opening up onto the patio. The patio has the laundry line (there is no dryer but the wind) and a nice big picnic table and chairs. From the dining room you go up 3 steps (as in a split level house) to the living room. It’s big and spacious, and to the left is the kitchen, which a little table between them. Going through the kitchen, you step into the foyer – just a small area with the door to the carpark and the laundry closet. Both the foyer and the living room have another set of 3 steps that go up into the hallway (so it makes a circle). To the immediate left is a half bath with toilet and sink. The other half of the bath (with a sink, tub and shower) is more to the right, in what would be the center of the circle. I know, it’s all very confusing.  Across from the foyer steps is the boys’ room, with 2 twin beds. Next is the office/school room. Next (almost directly across from the steps up from the living room) are the stairs to the second floor, and to the far right is the guest room with a queen bed and small deck outside glass doors. The deck leads into the fenced in back yard which is awesome for the kids to play in! Heading back inside and up to the second floor is the master suite, where we have a queen bed, the baby’s cot (read: crib), a full bath and walk in closet.

If you could follow all of that, you should be an architect! Go to the post “3 days left…panic sets in!” to see some pictures of the house.

We moved our things inside, rearranged a little of the furniture, and then headed down to the river to try to stock the pantry at the River Traders Market. This is a market held every Saturday on the river front with TONS of local produce, meats, eggs, crafts…everything you could imagine. There are also food venders selling fish and chips (read: French Fries), hot dogs (read: corn dogs, but dipped in tempura instead of corn meal batter), American hot dogs (read: American hot dogs), candy floss (read: cotton candy), lollies (read: hard, individually wrapped candy), and Spiders (read: soft drinks). It’s really a fantastic market and we stocked up on produce, honey, and eggs, among other things. Then we went to the grocery store and REALLY stocked up!

Let me tell you a bit about the grocery stores here. First off, if you want meat and you don’t know a local farmer to buy direct from, go to a butcher. They have those here…REAL butcher shops. The prices are better and the meat is local. Not to mention the fact that the butcher can tell you everything you ever wanted to know about every single cut of meat. Also, for all my crunchy friends, the default for meat here in NZ (even in the grocery stores) is that it was pasture raised without being injected with a bunch of funk. It’s pretty awesome. But back to the stores! In Wanganui there are three main competing grocery stores. First is Pack N Save. Imagine the prices and bag-your-own-ness of Aldi mixed with the size and overwhelming selection of Sam’s Club. By far the least expensive, but also set up more warehouse style, so it takes a while to get in and out. Next is Countdown, which I’d say is the Kroger/Harris Teeter type store. Set up like the grocery stores you are used to, but with higher prices overall. Finally is New World, the froo-froo Fresh Market store where you get a free cup of coffee when you walk in the door. By far the most expensive!

But the most interesting thing about the groceries here is that outside each one is a petrol (read: gas) station. Depending on what you spent on groceries, your receipt prints off a voucher for so many cent per liter off on petrol. I think if you spend $40, it’s $0.03/L. On our first, big, major, stock the house trip, we spent right at $200 and got $0.20/L off. The car was down to a quarter tank, so we went ahead and filled up.

Are you sitting down? I’ll give you a second to sit down…

Even with our $0.20/L discount, it cost us $96 to fill the tank ¾ of the way up.

Never. EVER. Complain about US gas prices again.

Other than petrol, though, and soft drinks (a 1.5L drink runs about $1.50 on sale), for the most part, things are comparable or even less than US prices. Honey is much less…I can get honey from a local farmer for $8/kg. Produce is, on the whole, much less – and VERY local to boot. Eggs are a bit more…I pay $5.50 per doz for local, free range eggs. Milk is comparable, at $1.50/L for fresh-from-the-cow-that-morning milk from a local farmer. Lamb at the butcher is about $12/kg.

All in all, we’re eating well. Healthier than we did back home for sure. It’s definitely less expensive here to buy produce than to eat fast food – we went to McD’s the other night for the kids (they’ve been begging all week) and got 2 burger meal combos with fries and medium drinks, and a 6pc chicken nugget and it cost us $23. That might be why there seem to be much fewer obese people in NZ compared to the US. Especially super obese…I think since we landed I’ve only seen 2 people who look like candidates for gastric bypass.

Next up: Kowhai Park – the most amazing park in the world!



  1. LOL Dennis was saying that that is really the case everywhere but here good food is cheep and bad food is EXPENSIVE just a treat really….viva la sheep *grin*

  2. Oooh, the local, fresh, healthy food is making me salivate! Do enjoy!!!!

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