My property story: One hop over to Ōhope

"We used to think we'd retire and go to live by the beach, but then realised if we can live by the beach and make it work now - why not?"

Until recently, Eloise Jack and her fiance Nick lived a full-on life in New Lynn. It wasn't until the stars aligned that they realised their life could look quite a bit different - trading in the office and the big city for beaches, a new business and a beloved cinema.

The couple left their lives in Auckland behind in the name of a freer lifestyle on the sunny shores of Ōhope, just east of Whakatāne. Today, they're settling into their new three-bedroom beachside home while Eloise sets up her copywriting business and Nick becomes the owner/operator of the local WhakaMax cinema. We spoke to Eloise and Nick about their move.

Looking for the long-term lifestyle

"There was something that felt very temporary about our life in Auckland" explained Eloise. "It didn't quite feel like we were meant to be there for good. It's nice to see a long-term plan unfolding for our life here now."

Eloise and Nick's journey began with a tentative online search almost a year ago. Both of them had been thinking about ways they could leave Auckland to live a different lifestyle. 

"There's a lot of appeal to the big city, but I think we both got a bit of Auckland fatigue," said Nick. "My brother actually owns the cinema in Whakatāne, so we spoke to him about it, he was keen to do something different and the timing worked out really well."

"I worked in advertising in Auckland and London for a while, and I was ready for a change," Eloise added. "Working from home was something that never really felt achievable in Auckland, but here we've got a lot more flexibility to have the lifestyle we want." 

Having grown up in Tauranga, the 30-40 minute drive to get to the beach in Auckland didn't exactly match up with Nick's idea of a perfect lifestyle. It didn't take much to sell Eloise on the idea either - after a couple of visits to Whakatāne, she found herself daydreaming about getting out of the big city.

Balcony

24/7 beachside bach

A strong social circle in Auckland was the biggest challenge for Eloise and Nick when deciding to make the move. They knew they'd have the flexibility to drive up for concerts and events, but leaving friends behind wasn't an easy pill to swallow at first. 

"Part of the way we wanted to combat that was to find a home that our friends would really want to come and visit" Eloise explained. "We wanted a place that feels like a bach, so our friends feel like they've got a free bach they can come to when they want to get away."

With that, they sold their two-bedroom unit in New Lynn for their first stand-alone property. It was bought for around the same price as they sold for, with an extra bedroom, extra bathroom, a double garage and a 30-second walk to the beach - something their Border-Collie/Miniature Poodle cross is already loving. 

"We did find prices were a little more expensive than we thought they would be," Eloise explained. "But when you compare what we've got now to what we had, we feel like we've really got a home we can see ourselves starting a family in."

Finding their new home didn't happen overnight, though. The couple drove down to Whakatāne on the weekends and stacked their days with open homes. They missed out on more than a few properties they liked, but kept looking and eventually stumbled upon a property that ticked all their boxes and more. They were lucky enough to go unconditional on the purchase.

House

Making the lifestyle work

Eloise and Nick's advice for anyone looking to change their lifestyle is: "If you want to do it, you have to try to find a way to make it work. Otherwise, you're always going to feel like the life you really want is happening somewhere else, without you.”

"There's a lot more living you can do when you don't have to drive an hour to get everywhere."

Ready to start your own property journey? Your search begins right here on realestate.co.nz. Sign up today to save your searches and receive regular property market updates.

You Might Also Like

My property story: Renting in small-town New Zealand

Marriage, home and community. These were the three key aspects that Luke Fanayan and his now-wife Sa...

Do you believe in life after lifestyle?

Settling into a new way of life after selling your lifestyle block in New Zealand is something many ...

Inside a tiny home on Waiheke

The tiny house trend has taken off in recent years, and there are now little homes popping up all ov...