As you have probably worked out, we must be the world's worst correspondents - so this is our attempt to keep all of you up to date with us. If you have been wondering what we are up to - hopefully you will find the answers here..........

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Hibiscus at Peace Cottage

Recently Norfolk Island endured a very, very long dry spell. Most people had to repeatedly buy water in as the tanks were empty. Gardens really suffered and the surrounding landscape was dusty, bone dry and uncharacteristically brown. The local churches held 'Pray for Rain' sessions and water became the main topic of conversation - it was worrying. Then in its own time the rains came....and came.....and came!!
Now of course, because people are never happy, we are thrilled at the sight of an occassional blue sky. The Island is now the most beautiful emerald green and all the gardens have bounced back and flowering profusely.

Last weekend was a stand out weekend - we had mild weather, sunshine and a gentle breeze that felt like Spring. So I got up off the couch and took photos of all the gorgeous hibiscus flowers in my garden at Peace Cottage. I don't know the name of any of them! If you do please let me know......
This one is very tall and growns up against the deck at the front of the house. The flowers are big and bright and poke through the railing. The colour combiation of red, orange and yellow takes my breath away!!

This flower on the left and below is absolutely beautiful in real life. It is the most vivid lemon yellow and set against the green foliage I often think a light has been switched on. The flowers are big and bold.
These two are in the back garden planted next to the lemon (above) and they are lovely. The red one is about the size of your hand and a real red lipstick red.... 

The little ruffly white flower has a deep blood red center and seems quite delicate next to the big boofy red.

The following few are the plants that make up th hedge along the front fence. At the moment they are all absolutely covered in flowers.

This is the palest, soft pink.....
This is huge ruffley and 'in your face'.....like a 'Tequilla Sunrise'.
This one has changed colour! When it was a shorter plant the flowers were splashed with white - spotted. Now the flowers are solid pink

Our path to Norfolk Island

Norfolk Island is an External Territory of Australia and it is paradise! Immigration to Norfolk Island is not easy and you need either a TPE (Temporary Entry Permit) or a General Entry Permit (GEP) to live and work here. There is no Social Security, i.e. the dole, so if you live here you must work and/or own a business. The TEP covers workers who fill jobs unable to be filled by a local ie: hospitality roles etc whilst the GEP is granted on the purchase of a business. A GEP holder is considered a 'resident' and is allowed to vote, however after holding a GEP for 5 years you are entitled to apply for Residency and a Norfolk Island Passport. The biggest financial drawcard for some is the fact that Norfolk Island residents do not pay Australian tax. This has been responsible for the wave of 'economic immigrants'.
Thats it in a nutshell!!!!

You can however purchase a holiday home here and live on the Island for up to a total of 6 months of the year. Having stayed in accommodation everytime we visited we thought a little place of our own would work well. So after spending the day with one of the local Agents we purchased "Peace Cottage".

Peace Cottage had been a 1 bedroom accommodation property for many years and as such came fully equiped - right down to fishing rods and sunscreen. It was perfect as we did not have to pack much when we left Tassie for our NI holidays. We just opened the door and settled right in. We had lovely holidays here and given the welcoming, generous people we also had lots of fun socialising with the 'locals'. We really missed the place when we went back to Tassie.
In 2008 we had negotiated with a neighbour to purchase a very small block of land which neighboured Peace Cottage. When this fell through our trusty Real Estate Agent suggested we think about investing in a rental property. This suited us as we felt even more connected to the Island.

The little cottage on Cascade Rd was in great need of renovation.
  Over the December holidays we got stuck in and the builder continued whilst we were 'off island'. We replace the bathroom and enlarged and replace the kitchen. The whole place was painted and we were very happy with the end result.

  We still have a little more work to do around the gardens but now we fit it in around tenants.

 After one too many cold, wet, muddy Tasmanian winters we took stock and thought about the possibility of actually moving to Norfolk Island to live. However this meant having to buy a business! Given my lack of cooking abilities and my mind blanks when trying to work out money and change we thought accommodation would be ideal.  

We were granted our GEPs' in July 2009 based on our purchase of an accommodation property called Central Garden Apartments.   It is almost in the centre of the Burnt Pine Shopping area - at the end of a quiet
 cul-de-sac called "The Village".

 The property had 2x2 bedroom units and 2x1 bedroom units.  The place was fairly typical of most of the old accommodation on the Island - seen better days and in need of a redo.  Just the challenge Rob and I love....    
The demolition started in August after we had gone back toTasmania - to pack. We only saw the action via photos. It was a real shock when we finally arrived in October.... however it needed to be done!

 In March 2010 we had a change of builder and the project is powering along. We are changing the layout to 2x1 bedroom units in the larger building and 1x2 bedrooms in the smaller building-we are aiming for 5 stars. The main building has been extended and under the extension we have had 2x 5000g water tanks re-instated. This water storage is in addition to the 2x8000g above ground tanks we had installed.

 The plan is to be finished in time for the AAT Rating visit in August 2011. I'll keep you posted...