Aucklanders dreaming of buying a beachfront property overlooking the golden sands of a sheltered harbour as a holiday home, or as a bolt-hole dwelling within easy driving distance of the city, are having their eyes opened to an opportunity at the laid-back Northland coastal settlement of Omapere.
A stylish single-level three-bedroom home in the town has been placed on the market for sale – with its current owners honestly believing the next owners will be like themselves… Aucklanders who have enjoyed living and holidaying in an area renowned for being “New Zealand the way it used to be a generation ago.”
Omapere on the Hokianga Harbour north of Dargaville and west of Kaikohe is a small settlement comprising a balanced mix of permanent residents’ dwellings, and unpretentious holiday homes… all in a laid-back environment where life runs on ‘cruise mode’.
Owners Shayne and Lisa Thompson purchased the idyllic setting two-years before the Covid-enforced regional lockdowns. Fortunately, during that intervening period, the beachfront dwelling was substantially modernised – meaning it was a perfect get-away option for relocating out of Auckland when the city was shut off to the rest of New Zealand.
Every inch of the home was modernised and transformed to now feature new bathrooms, a state-of-the-art kitchen with a Bosch Oven and induction cooktop, energy-efficient LED lighting, a new roof, and expansive window sliders showcasing the breathtaking views over the harbour to the famous Hokianga sand dunes across the water on the horizon.
“While we originally bought the property as a holiday home, including the flexibility to let it on Air B’N’B, it was a fantastic location to spend much of the Covid-lockdown in a work-from-home mode,” admits Shayne Thompson, a former professional entertainer and now sales trainer.
“Since then, over the past three years, we’ve seen more and more people adopting a similar work-from-home approach – spending more time at their Hokianga homes and taking advantage of the freedom and efficiencies which high speed internet and Teams Meetings can deliver.
“That means I get to spend more time fishing,” confides the avid fisherman who recounts numerous tales about launching his dinghy off the back lawn directly out into the harbour to catch his quota of snapper – all the time while Lisa has enjoyed reading books and watching his reel-winding activities from the comfort of their home’s expansive deck. While sipping on a vino’ on the deck, Lisa has also seen orca and dolphins regularly playing in the harbour.
For seafood lovers, mussels, scallops, and crayfish are all found plentiful in the harbour, while Shayne has regularly speared flounder just metres from his back lawn. His record haul for a fish caught on a drone-launched long-line is an 18-pound snapper – filleted and into the frying pan within 30 metres and 30 minutes of being caught.
“Where else could you find a fully modernised home with a beach off the back lawn for roughly the same price as an average house in Auckland?” asks Shayne.
The Omapere beachfront home also has a separate sleepout for teenagers or guests – or for use as a work-from-home office – as well as a detached large lock-up garage. A designer solar-powered outdoor shower allows swimmers to wash down al-fresco style. The property is on local town water and sewage connections.
The sheltered Hokianga Harbour is New Zealand’s fourth largest harbour. The famous massive sand dunes sit on the northern side of the harbour, and are within kayaking distance of Omapere. Shayne, Lisa, and visiting guests have often paddled over to the dunes – launching off the back lawn of their home. The area also has numerous walks – including the Waipoua Forrest to the south, which is home to the famous Tane Mahuta kauri tree.
Just a short 300-metre walk down the beach from Shayne and Lisa’s home is the comfortably casual Sands Hotel with a range of dining options, bars, and swimming pool area which can be used by guests enjoying a tasty bite to eat or something to drink.
However, with Covid restrictions now a thing of the past, and with their children now grown up and no longer living at home, empty-nesters Shayne and Lisa are selling up and moving to Australia, and have placed their Omapere holiday home on the market for sale.
Sitting on a 898-square metre flat freehold section gently sloping toward the beach from the home’s deck area, Lisa and Shayne’s Omapere property is being marketed for sale at auction on February 14 through Bayleys Kerikeri. Salesperson David Baguley said that rarely did absolute waterfront properties come up for sale in Omapere or Opononi – with most residences sitting on the other side of the road, or nestled into the hillsides.
“Omapere and Opononi offer far better value for money when it comes to absolute waterfront properties compared to the east coast settlements of Omaha, Mangawhai, Waipu and Ruakaka,” he said.
“And none of the bigger coastal destinations north of Auckland can compete with the atmosphere of the Hokianga. It really is like stepping back in time – with fishermen sharing their catch with neighbours, people taking time out to talk to each other in the supermarket, and locals waving to each other when they drive down the uncrowded roads.”
Reflecting the chilled-out ambience of the Hokianga, Omapere and Opononi’ have all the basic retail amenities required to service visitors and locals alike – including a petrol station, Four Square supermarket, cafes, a bowls club, an historic gastro’ pub with sensational harbour views from its deck, and a classic small coastal town fish and chip shop.
Three-hours’ drive north of Auckland, Omapere and Opononi just around a bluff, have been the preferred bolt holes of media personalities for many years – including radio hosts Kerre Woodham, and Wendyl Nissen, along with former Black Cap cricketer Adam Parore.