Dave Jeffery - Licensed Salesperson (REAA 2008)
Resident Salesperson on Kawau Island, New Zealand.
Imagine hopping in a rowboat to visit friends - or taking a walk over a bush-fringed track to get to a neighbour's barbeque, or just sitting in silence, listening to keruru crashing through the foliage, weka digging up your garden and tui outwarbling any other songster around. Imagine this is available to you just 30 minutes by ferry from Sandspit, a coastal settlement 45 minutes by carNorth of Auckland.
Kawau Island is that place and given that it's 90 per cent privately owned, it's neither exclusive nor difficult to get a foothold on this historically-rich island. In its time Kawau has hosted them all – Maori, miners, farmers, a New Zealand governor, dignitaries, top brass, zebras, monkeys and more recently, the holidaying hoi polloi when Dominion Breweries ran Mansion House and surrounds as a pub. Now, although only 48 permanent residents live here, Kawau is mostly enjoyed by the 250 families who have holiday homes on the island, and since the residential property sizes range from .05 ha to 40 ha (1/8 to 100 acres), it doesn't feel in the least like a suburb of Auckland. The island offers everything from architecturally designed masterpieces with pools and tennis courts, to bush baches and sections waiting for inspiration. Bush and water views are a given and it's not hard to find a place with no other houses in sight.
So what will you do here? You will time travel to a not-so-distant past. Kawau is the place to come for a Swallows & Amazons summer. The tiny 5 x 8 km island is mostly car-free with just two short roads but there are plenty of boaties, kayaks, dinghies, little coves and swimming beaches as well as numerous wharves to jump off. Twitchers will love spotting fantails, sea birds, silver-eyes, grey warblers but even non-birders will be captivated by the kookaburras, rosellas and wekas who have made the island their home.
Of course you could just come here to do nothing but relax on the deck of your new holiday home and stare at the deep blue-green sea and shifting light on the hills and marvel at how close yet how far this rustic haven isfrom the city.