Sally Foot and husband Patrick thought Hobsonville would be a temporary base for just a few years, but its closeness to the water and easy lifestyle means they feel settled here now with their children, 10-year-old twins Grace and Jack, Charley, 6, and dog Lizzie. Sally tells Donna McIntyre why they're staying.
We moved to this area in 1992, temporarily living with my parents in Greenhithe after we sold our home in Meadowbank. We hadn't considered moving out this way permanently, but we soon grew to love the area.
Our first home in Hobsonville was great value for money for a young couple.
It was partially built, and we got to work with the builder to complete the interior and we were so proud. Patrick wanted a sea view and, if you stood on the bath edge and poked your head out the window, you could see the sea. We were in a small street and one side was all paddocks with cows grazing.
Over the years Hobsonville has developed and many paddocks have been built on with new homes so the area now has a semi-urban feel. There are huge development plans for Hobsonville Point, including housing, retail and service areas, walkways and playgrounds. There is a nice mixture of historical and new features.
We like the area so much we bought a bigger house across the road from our original one and now have sea views from all our windows, rather than just from the bathroom.
Patrick works as a ship deck officer and I was a physio. However, I found it difficult to fit in work hours with the children and now work part-time in our family manufacturing and export business based in Henderson.
All our children attend Hobsonville School. They do various activities - Jack goes to Iconz once a week (based on Boys' Brigade) and really enjoys this group which focuses on boys' activities and promoting good values for 8-12 year-olds.
We're only 20 minutes from the CBD at non-peak times, Hobsonville Rd can take you to the North Shore, to West Auckland and the motorways. We are close to the bush walks of Scenic Drive and the West Coast beaches. From home we can walk to most of the services we need (chemist, dairy, hairdresser, doctors, vets, kindergarten, school and a bakery) and there are lots of walkways, playgrounds, parks and places for the kids to bike to. We have a yacht at West Park Marina and we can either walk or cycle with the kids to meet Patrick when he's working on it.
We are not frequent cafe patrons but I have it on good advice that the new Catalina Cafe at Hobsonville Point does great scones and muffins.
We spend our time doing simple things - going to the local park and shooting off a rocket fired with a bicycle pump, taking the kids for rides while Patrick goes for a run, walking to the dairy to get a $1 lolly mixture and the kids often ride their bikes to visit their friends nearby.
Whenuapai Air base is a five-minute drive and the boys love looking at the different planes that come and go - and the Whenuapai Air Show is exciting with lots of technical manoeuvres and fly-overs practised in the lead-up.
Summer weekend afternoons sometimes see a last-minute decision to go camping at the Muriwai Beach Campground in the ARC park which is only a 30-minute drive - the kids get fish 'n' chips for dinner, we pitch tents and it's an easy night away.
We've decided to stay in Hobsonville as it is hard to beat the lifestyle we have. Living here, we feel like we are part of a community - and it's home.
* Hobsonville Point, cnr Buckley Ave and Hastings Cres. Catalina Cafe is open daily 8am-4pm, ph (09) 950 6551.
* Hobsonville Bakery & Red Robin Fine Takeaways, Especially handy for fresh bread at weekends. 10 Clark Rd, Hobsonville.
* West Park Marina, 18 Clearwater Cove. Berths and marine trade plus superette, cafe, chandlery, bar/brasserie.
* Hobsonville Primary School Caters for students from ages 5 to 12 years and is surrounded by farmland on most of its boundaries.