HeraldHomes real estate editor Penny Lewis takes a look back at some of her favourite homes listed this year.
Rahimoana is a Maori word for "sun over the sea", which is fitting because this opulent home faces directly north, so the sun is visible through the glass walls all day.
There's no flash sign heralding you are about to approach the property that was the global luxury coastal hotel winner in the World Luxury Hotel Awards, 2010.
The entrance to Eagles Nest, just around the corner from the steep road to the flagstaff at Russell, in the Bay of Islands, is understated to say the least.
Those who drive past would have no idea that along this unassuming driveway is what is arguably one of the world's most beautiful homes, surrounded by four luxurious private lodges, with more than a kilometre of private waterfront and beaches.
All of this is set on more than 27ha of subtropical and native bush, with heart-stopping sea views.
The jewel in the crown of Eagles Nest is Rahimoana, settled into its own 18.6ha of bush at the top of this Northland peninsula. The house is elegant, simple and informal, with a dramatic aerofoil copper roof floating over 3m sliding glass walls that give access to granite terraces, lawns and subtropical gardens.
Then there are the views - the property offers 300 degrees of sparkling sea, sandy beaches, reflective bays, coastline, seaside villages and islands.
There's no question it is the ultimate in luxury, yet Rahimoana is without glitz or opulence. It is serene, relaxed, even casual, and it is very easy to imagine living a simple, spiritual life within these glass walls.
The previous owners designed their home and its surrounding villas as a place to achieve peace, relaxation and rejuvenation. They spent four years planning, designing and building the property, resulting in fine design, art, aesthetics and a sense of spirituality.
Set on 9m piles, the floors and walls of Rahimoana are of flamed and polished granite, giving the stone a soft texture. The interior is minimalist and the dominant colour pure white. Exterior walls feature expanses of glass, allowing the north sun to filter in.
Blinds and roof panels open and close at the touch of a button, lighting is subtly concealed, furniture is off-white Italian leather, bench tops are Italian marble, ensuite walls are sandblasted glass and bathroom fixtures are Europe's finest.
The kitchen's opaque sliding panels may be closed or left open as gourmet meals are prepared by the resident chef or you may prefer to self-cater.
At the rear are two smaller accommodation areas, a state-of-the-art gymnasium, infra-red sauna and wine cellar. Large open spaces under the villa can be used for any number of things - parking, banquet preparation, whatever you need.
The main living area enjoys 270-degree land and sea views along the villa's frontage.
Rahimoana, Russell, Northland
Four bedrooms, seven baths, five-car garage
Size: Land 18.6ha-plus, house 1385sq m, 1000sq m granite and paving.
Price: Sold under confidentiality agreement.
Features: Architecturally designed home with infinity pool on its own 18.6ha site with more than 1km of ocean and beach frontage.By Penny Lewis