Colin Watt owns two houses in a location he describes as the "Remuera of Whangaparaoa".

That's Laurence St and, one street back from Big Manly Beach, it takes only a minute or two to walk down for a swim.

When Colin bought the property in 2001 it had a cottage in front with a larger home at the back.

He is reluctantly selling the larger family home, but is keeping the cottage, which is tenanted, so he can come back when it's time to retire.


"It was all one big grassed area when we bought so we've put the driveway in and the fences in," he says.

"We've actually just subdivided it; it's going through now for title. We couldn't subdivide for years until the Unitary Plan came through and now we're able to subdivide."

He and wife Jacquie Hill have five children between them, but the children have grown up and Colin and Jacquie have moved to Murrays Bay on Auckland's North Shore.

"All our friends are down there," says Colin.

"If you ask me why we moved, we often wonder because it's such a beautiful spot here.

The sea is across the road — it's 80m to the water."

The home for sale is tucked down a driveway and is so secluded Colin says even some locals don't realise it is down there.

It was a bit run-down when he bought, he says, but it has been modernised inside and decking built outside. The decks are almost wraparound; the entire backyard is deck aside from the spa pool in the corner.

There's an original pohutukawa tree at the side of the house and an old mandarin tree, which has an abundance of fruit, and Colin decided to build the back deck around a plum tree which is so laden with fruit he couldn't bear to cut it down.

Because of its shape, the tree acts like an umbrella in summer, he says, and the decking means the house is low maintenance.

"We love outside living. It's a waste of time having a little bit of grass at the back, you might as well use it and we use that deck all the time.

"Depending on the sun we'd have breakfast out here [on the front deck] and dinners out there [on the back deck]. Lying in bed at night you can hear the sea."

Downstairs is open-plan with a revamped kitchen, dining area and big lounge. The master bedroom is downstairs and opens up to the front deck, and upstairs there are another two bedrooms plus a lounge with a balcony.

Colin, who imports caravans, loves the lazy beach feel of the area and says the location is fantastic.

A walkway from the street behind takes you up to the Manly shops. Whangaparaoa School is two minutes away and five minutes in the car takes you to the Whangaparaoa town centre.

Colin says if he didn't also own the house in front he would not be selling this one.
The children "lived in the water" and the community is one where you walk down the road and everyone says "morning".

There's a feel of a bygone era, he says — "it's old New Zealand, half an hour out of Auckland".

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