Got that old New Zealand feeling

By Donna McIntyre

348 STATE HIGHWAY 12, OMAPERE
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1
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SIZE: Land 603sq m, house 100sq m (approx).
PRICE INDICATION: Expected price range $500,000-$800,000.
INSPECT: Sat 2pm. Auction April 9.
ON THE WEB: bayleys.co.nz/188982
SCHOOL ZONES: Opononi Area School (Years 1-13).
CONTACT: David Baguley, ph 021 831 440.
348 State Highway 12, Omapere.
348 State Highway 12, Omapere.

It's a humble cottage but that is part of the appeal of this unpretentious beachside property at Omapere, enjoying a simplistic charm and sweeping views.

Those views, as you look out the front door and over the picket fence, are straight across Hokianga Harbour to the sand dunes on the other side. "The cottage is north-facing, with the most stunning views in all directions," explains Karin Montgomery Spath, who owns the holiday cottage with her husband, Sigmund.

"We have never tired of looking out over all of this and having it so near, hearing the waves, the great sand and swimming, and all at the end of our garden. Also, the house is down a long driveway, way off the road so no traffic to worry about and so safe for little children."

The cottage has been the family's holiday home for 23 years; but it started life as a kauri railway cottage (including the picket fence) before removal to Omapere from Otiria in Northland when train service to the settlement ceased.

"It is an original old style not often seen nowadays," says Karin. "We purchased it in 1991 from the lady who had, some 15 years before, moved it on to [the] site."

For several years the couple had been looking for such a place, both north and south of Auckland. "We wanted to be beachfront, in a bay with a boat ramp for Sigi's boat, as he is a keen diver. He is semi-retired now but was a cameraman specialising in underwater film-making. I needed a house I felt happy with, preferably a simple old cottage and this is just what we found.

"We didn't want to paint it like a city house so left it as is. Sigi built the shutters. He is Austrian and likes shutters. We have decorated the inside so it is clean and simple.

"We loved the 'old New Zealand' feel to this area. The fact the bay had marvellous old pohutukawa, lots of white sand, great swimming and a very gentle pace. Along the beachfront, most of the families have been here for many years and some for three or four generations.

"We swim each day we are here. One of New Zealand's best walks is around to the heads, and then another is up along the signal station, looking out with nothing between us and Australia."

Other enjoyable excursions are driving the 15 minutes to the Boat Shed in Rawene for breakfast or lunch, or taking the ferry over the harbour to Kohukohu and its art galleries and cafe.

"We have had lots of friends staying over the years and frequently have big lunches under the shade of the veranda. Dinners are always candlelit and magical," says Karin.

The house has two double bedrooms, a separate kitchen, bathroom and open-plan dining and sitting room leading out to a veranda. A lock-up garage has served as another bedroom with bunks. "At times we have had up to 12 people staying here."

The backyard has fruit trees - limes, grapefruit, lemon, orange, plums, fig, peach and pear - and is flat with a gentle slope seaward.

The couple never thought they'd sell their home but they have a new granddaughter living in New York and plan to spend part of each year there. "It has been a difficult decision to sell this beautiful place," says Karin.

- NZ Herald

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