If you live in Auckland, you don't need to be told commuting can be a pain in the butt.
Richard Hansen had been commuting from Bucklands Beach to the city for 15 years, in recent years leaving at 5am and getting home at 8pm.

So, two years ago Richard and his wife Sylvia bought this inner-city Parklane apartment in Greys Ave to avoid spending so much time in traffic, keeping their home at Bucklands Beach for weekends.

Richard could catch the bus for the short ride to work, at No 1 Queen St. At first, Sylvia kept commuting to her job in Howick but it was against the traffic.

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Sylvia had lived most of her life in Bucklands Beach — but was prepared to give the move a go.

She found she liked it. And being a two-bedroom apartment, it meant the youngest of their blended family of five could live with them while he was at uni. Their dog could live here, too, as the building is pet-friendly.

The spacious rooms and high ceilings give a feeling of space. Myers Park next door is one of the views they get from their windows on level three and from the indoor pool (with steam room) downstairs.

"You think you'll miss your garden, but you don't because the park is here. The swimming pool is downstairs, so exercise is not a problem," says Sylvia.

The couple moved in and "changed nothing. We liked it as it was."

Entry is into the large lounge, dining and kitchen. To the left, the hallway winds its way to the bathroom, the first bedroom and then the master bedroom and en suite.

Sylvia, who admits it took a lot to get her out of the suburbs, was surprised by the sense of community among the residents of the other 28 apartments. There's a book exchange, a flower committee to make sure there are fresh flowers in the hallways, and residents
have a Christmas party.

She and Richard can walk up to St Kevins Arcade in K Rd for breakfast. Just off Pitt St there's a great bagels place, or for a Japanese meal they head to Kura in Queen St.

As the seasons change they look out to the Greys Ave and the deciduous trees, green in summer, bare in winter.

"It is so peaceful here," she says. "My husband and I found we could have a life together in the city. We could have breakfast together, he came home at a reasonable hour, we could watch the news, go to movies and have meals together.

"It was a trial run to be in the city. But after a year, we realised life is good here and we sold our home in Bucklands Beach.

"This apartment has been a fabulous transition. I would like to stay but one of our children has moved back from overseas and we will have two of our boys living with us, so we bought a place just off Ponsonby Rd."

3E/68 GREYS AVE
• 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 1 parking spaces.
• Land 103sq m.
• Sale price: CV $1,140,000
• Body corp fees: $9971.55 incl GST.
• Inspect: Sun 1-1.30pm.
• Auction: 10am, Aug 7.
• Contact: Julie Quinton, Bayleys, 021 894 071, oneroof.co.nz