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

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...

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