SIZE: Land 10.7ha, house 130sq m.
PRICE INDICATION: Interest expected around $2.5 million. Auction March 7.
INSPECT: Sunday 2-3pm.
ON THE WEB: bayleys.co.nz/150677
SCHOOL ZONES: Waimauku School, Kaipara College, Massey High. Buses to North Shore schools.
CONTACT: Simon Spiller, Bayleys North West, ph 417 0264 mob 021 968 068.
FEATURES: Clifftop lifestyle property with direct access to fishing and surfing beach. Immaculately presented home enjoying breathtaking views with ample outdoor living. Landscaped grounds with expansive lawns, paddocks, wetlands and bush walks. Potential to subdivide.

About 20 years ago, Russ Taylor began looking for a retreat from corporate life.

"I wanted somewhere that was private where I could go to recharge the old batteries and then go back to battle," says Russ.

He eventually found that place at Muriwai, a cedar house on clifftop land with a wide sea view and access to the beach below.

A winding gravel road hints at the sea views to come as you approach the house, which is nestled between two hills. The home captures sunsets from the open-plan lounge, dining area and wraparound deck.


Following the deck around to the rear of the house opens up a delightful rural view over a pond - one of two on the property - and up the valley.

Russ has meticulously maintained the three-bedroom house which he has rebuilt internally, adding parquet flooring.

But it's the land where he has really focused his attention, replanting so it is now a haven for birds, with everything from ducks and pheasants to tui and pukeko.

"The pukekos come and tap on the window when they want to be fed," says Russ.

"It was a pretty rundown block when I came here and slowly I've done improvements over the years. The possums had devastated the pohutukawa so we put a programme into place to get rid of them and now you can see the results of that."

Over the years, Russ, with the help of nephew Gordon Wright, has also developed access to the beach below via a network of tracks, stairs and boardwalks through the bush and down the cliff.

"I've also done a lot of surfing here and walked the tracks around here and I've enjoyed every minute of it," he says.

To the south of the home is a huge paddock, which Russ calls "the top plateau," and where he had planned to one day build his dream home.

In the past he has run stock here and there are still water troughs and electric fencing in place. He has also set up a golf tee in one corner, providing acres of room to hit golf balls.

Hidden behind bush in this corner of the property is Russ' favourite spot - a seat with commanding views of the cliffs and ocean.

"This is where I would come if I had a rough sort of day and wanted to clear my head," he says. "There's a place to slot in your umbrella and I would bring the chilly bin up here as well."

It's from here you make the descent to the beach, which has fascinating rock formations, including natural pools to soak in.

"I used to leave my fishing rod down there and I also had a grill down there where I could cook fish and mussels on the beach, and there's also fresh water down there if you know where to find it," says Russ.

Having done his bit to revegetate the property and reinvigorate the birdlife, Russ feels it's now time to move on.

"I don't ever think you ever own a property like this; you're more like a guardian and you try to leave it better than you found it."