Happy New Year From Petone as international house sitters

Rachel and I just wanted to start by wishing everyone who follows our Just Living The Dream journey a huge JLTD Happy New Year from Petone! We hope that you were able to spend some quality time with friends and family over Christmas as that really is what we consider to be most important.


ButterflyCreek near Petone

JLTD and 2018 has started off in the best possible way as we have achieved one of our most exciting goals already; we have gone international! That’s right, we have become international house sitters.

Let me just emphasise how thrilled we are about that by using capital letters; WE MADE IT!!! I might seem over excited but it was a massive goal of ours in 2017. Now here we are in Petone Wellington, New Zealand. From our very first house sit, to learning to become Pro’s, right up until now, international house sitting has been a dream! So a huge thanks to everyone who has helped out thus far!!

Let Me Explain Petone

Now that I have got that out of my system, let me explain more. We are currently in a suburb of Wellington called Petone. It is a quirky little suburb that reminds me a lot of Melbourne. It has a rich industrial history but most of the industry has closed down in recent years. Unemployment and loss of community identity has given the area a slightly grungy reputation.

map of petone relative to wellington

In recent years, however, the suburb has started to reinvent itself as a trendy suburb with lots of younger families moving in. New cafes have opened as well as a number of beautiful restaurants that stretch along its main street.

Wellington / Petone buildings

This is actually Wellington

The homes in this and nearby suburbs are almost European in style and could be described as small, suburban cottages. These workers’ cottages have a lot of character and while many have been renovated they have maintained their urban, industrial heritage.

Our International Home in Petone Over The New Year

The house sit that we are on at the moment is a small but beautiful 3 bedroom home. The owners are a young couple so the changeover has been relaxed and care free as young owners normally are. We are caring for 2 cats that are both almost blind, and they are only able to see large objects. They are easy to care for and have left us with a lot of time to go exploring over the new year period.

The owners spend a lot of time in the garden and have an abundance of fruit and vegetables growing. And then there are the bees, yep, they have a huge bee hive in the back yard. It’s a part of an exchange program with local honey producers. The owners have the hive and the bee keeper comes and handles the upkeep. The bees have access to natural urban pollens and in exchange the home owners receive 1litre of fresh local honey each year!

Chris JLTD in the kitchen at petone

It’s great to see people enjoy the process of growing and cultivating their own food, as well as extending that interest further to a community level. It would be nice to see more of it back home in Australia. We get so many great ideas when we temporarily step into the lives of our clients.

Sunflower from Petone about to flower

Settling In As International House Sitters 

So, settling into a new country has been relatively easy. Although, due to the open borders and the similarities NZ shares with Aus, I didn’t expect it to be too challenging. It’s weird though, as small things are different. Woolworths is called CountDown; most food brands are different but the products remain the same. Ohhh, and the accents, hahahaha Seven, Deck……. I could go all day but it makes my smile so large!!!

Sailing huts in wellington

We did leave banking arrangements a little late (as in I didn’t think about it at all until we were over here) so, we just opened up a NZ bank account. No fee’s and just a small international money exchange fee. Turns out to be a lot more cost effective than international travel cards.

New Years Celebrations and Explorations

On New Year’s Eve we headed into downtown Wellington and celebrated the new year at a concert and fireworks display that the local council put on. It was great! A buzzing hive of people sharing great music, food which created some pretty terrific memories for us!!!

The countryside here is amazing, as we knew it would be. This has inspired us to partake in a lot more hiking as part of our exploration and fitness plans. Its called tramping over here, which could be confused for some other activity for some travellers. Rest assured, though, that it simply means walking about.

Bush Walking Butterfly Creek

We completed a 6km walk through the hills surrounding the Petone community down along Butterfly Creek. This was a highlight of our time here and the physical challenge of climbing up and down hills was rewarded by some of the most awesome views of the local area. Rachel and I were amazed by the natural beauty of the bush.

Near petone overlooking wellington bay Near petone overlooking wellington bayButterflyCreek near Petone

The Beer – Lets get down to the important stuff

1. THE BUTCHER AND BREWER for a pint of Monteiths Black

The Petone bar is ok, just an average bistro/bar I would call it. It had a good vibe but more like a local meet up have a pint and a parmy kind of gig. The beer “Black” is great, won a heap of awards and highly available. You can find it everywhere here, a good all rounder.

2. QUEEN OF JACKSON and a Pint of North End Brewing Co,  Iron Sands Oat Rye Stout.

This place in the main street of Petone was cool with a Melbourne like vibe. The staff were energetic and fun and insisted on table service style of delivery. The beer was great as well. A true stout with a rich dark aroma and deep malty flavours.

3. THE GARAGE PROJECT and a pint of  Bhang Thandai, A Spiced Milk Stout

It was more fun trying to find this place, I felt like I was going on a bear hunt, and I wasn’t scared. Ally ways, hills, Main roads, parks, and then it revealed itself. The Garage Project, a cool little place that displayed the Master Brewer proudly caring for his vats, but something was wrong. No bar stools, no crowds of people sipping away, nothing. We had found the cellar door. Great for filling your flagons straight from the taps but with only a off site licence this place was no good for a pint.

Never mind, 150m down the road was the Taproom. A long narrow facility filled to the brim with beer connoisseurs and at the very end a bar to give you hope. But first you had to preform a contortionist like inversion of the ribs to shuffle through the crowd without accidentally violating someone’s personal space. I don’t know if you know me that well but I am not a limber person, 6ft 3 and clumsy, never mind that, we made it.

The beer, by gosh!!

Worth every second it took to find the place. A dark beer with a difference, a good difference, a milk stout with heaps of spice and flavor and spiked with bhang, the traditional edible form of cannabis. I only had one as it was a rich full flavor milk stout, but boy did I enjoy it. Highly recommended

Where To Next

So we plan to stay here in Petone  until the weekend, then we will catch a flight to Auckland to start a sit that’s in a semi-rural location just outside the city. We have enjoyed the small stay in Petone and have used it to reset our focus heading into 2018. Mostly, we have enjoyed planning out our year of travel, work, goals and ambitions. And, it has been so nice to have husband and wife time again after such a hectic end to 2017.

Have you traveled to New Zealand, Petone, Auckland or the South Island? What are you favorite must do activities?? Please leave a comment

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