Joanne and Murray Cliffe describe Mahurangi West as a mini Bay of Islands. "There are many amazing bays and inlets to explore, swim and fish yet we are less than 30 minutes from North Shore," says Murray.

The couple bought the stunning three-level cedar and schist home about three years ago, attracted by the hillside home's modern yet functional design and the magnificent views it offers over Mahurangi Harbour.

Murray says the former owner was a construction engineer who worked with designers, architects and "top quality builders" on the 2008 design and build, earning a master builders award.

"Being a construction expert, all aspects of the building process were exceeded significantly."


He says the north-facing home is positioned extremely well on-site. "It blends beautifully with the landscape."

Because of its peaceful, private setting, they liken living here to staying in a luxury holiday home.

"Extensive planning went into the landscaping, focusing on native species that complement the house. The property is low-maintenance, largely covered by bush and has a private walking track," says Murray.

They are only minutes from the beach and ramp at Jamieson Bay, a great spot for swimming, kayaking, paddle boarding, boating and picnics.

"We see 180-degree views of the Mahurangi Harbour including the Pukapuka inlet, the main Warkworth channel and Scotts Landing. We also see whales, dolphins and seals." The boats - including their own - moored directly in front add to the diverse panorama, says Murray.

If they feel like venturing further from home, they take their 24ft bowrider out to explore the bays.

"We also love lunching at Matakana and Puhoi, and walking to the amazing beaches especially Opahi Bay and Sullivans Bay."

The self-employed couple enjoy entertaining friends, family and neighbours in their leisure time.

The proximity of the gourmet kitchen - with its six-burner gas hob, twin stainless ovens, twin dishwashers and granite benchtops - to the open-plan entertainment areas enables easy flow.

"This home is an entertainer's dream," says Murray, working equally well for small gatherings or larger celebrations of up to 50 people watching the annual Anniversary Day Mahurangi Regatta in the bay.

Keen photographers, the couple has enjoyed documenting the colours of sunsets.

"We have captured many moods of this wonderful bay. The colours of the bay change throughout the day."

The layout of their home has the entry level on the middle floor that has a small gym, laundry and the double garage with internal access to the large open-plan space with multiple functional areas and the designer kitchen, opening to generous wraparound decks shaded by retractable awnings.

The couple say these multifunctional areas are their favourite parts of the home with three defined areas - TV nook with fireplace, dining table and viewing nook.

"We love to share a glass of wine and chat in the viewing nook."

The original owners dedicated the top floor to the master suite including a large en suite and walk-in-wardrobe. However, Jo and Murray have used one of the bedrooms on the ground floor for their master suite.

This level has two bedrooms, an office, separate toilet and bathroom, with access to a wraparound decking.

"We wake daily to these same views from all sides and the beautiful sounds of the birdlife. Sipping coffee on either of our decks is enhanced by the sound of water lapping close by," says Murray.

With such wonderful views on every level, the home's neutral interior decor never distracts from the scenery outside.

Walls and ceilings are soft neutrals and flooring is mocha-coloured wool carpet, honey-coloured compressed bamboo and tiles.

And while Jo and Murray felt there was no need to make any changes to the structure of their home, they have re-stained the exterior with the latest high-quality product for coastal properties.

This was done in a charcoal shade to complement the silver joinery, schist and the colours of the native bush.

They think of their home as a "diamond in paradise".

But now the enjoyment of this gem will be passed on to the next owners.

"We are moving away to focus on managing our business in the South Island," says Murray.

"Anyone that steps into the main floor of our home will be stunned by the extensive views and the way the room opens to 180 degrees. We have travelled extensively and we believe these views are among the best in the world while close to Auckland."

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