Janine Lee and Jack Quax live in a three-level house with a lift in a charming no-exit street with spectacular sea views.
All that and they can both walk to work at Thames Hospital, where Janine is a charge nurse and Jack an electrician.
When the couple moved to Thames around five years ago from a much loved rural property near Hamilton, they told the estate agent they wanted something with a wow factor. That's just what they got, they say.
"If you imagine something like Portwenn off Doc Martin (the TV show) you'll get a picture of what the street is like," says Jack.
The house is off main Pollen Street at the northern end of town, just before the War Memorial, and borders Department of Conservation land.
The couple enjoy Thames for its almost sub-tropical climate and access to the many rivers and walks.
"We've got all this beauty around us and that's what appeals to us both," says Janine.
"There are clean rivers. We can go to swimming holes and they're clear — you can see to the bottom — and they're not crowded."
The views from the house "beguiled" the couple. "We can see Mt Te Aroha to the south, the Firth of Thames; we see the swamp that extends into the plains, we can see the hospital, we see the church," says Janine.
Jack remembers the estate agent taking them upstairs for the first time. "I just looked out the window over the Firth of Thames and said 'wow'.
"We're directly across from the Seabird Coast — we can see all the caravans and motorhomes parked there."
The Seabird Coast is on the western side of the Firth of Thames and at night the couple can see the lights of Kaiaua.
While the view is arresting, their house is also arresting, they say. "It's got presence and we liked that," says Janine.
"It's got the turret above the window seat in the lounge and it's just got this quirkiness that really appealed."
The house was built around 1993 or 1994, with a concrete base and stucco over fibrolite (not polystyrene). Jack says it is well-made and watertight.
The couple refreshed it by painting, wallpapering, putting in new carpets and a kitchen.
The garage is on the ground level and the next level up has three bedrooms, all with views to the sea, and a kitchenette.
This level could be used as a B&B.
Up the stairs again is the main living level with an easy flow from the kitchen/dining to the lounge. Three sets of french doors lead out to a big deck.
The master bedroom has a walk-in wardrobe and private balcony with views to the water.
The garden also has had a makeover, with pongas, flaxes, camellias, olive trees and a fish pond replete with frogs.
Jack built stairs to a viewing platform where there is always a cool breeze, and it's nice to sit with a glass of wine.
Because the property borders the DOC reserve there is amazing bird life.
Says Jack: "I'm sitting outside today and in the space of two minutes I saw a kereru, a tui and a bell bird."
Though the couple are not leaving the area, Jack, who says he is a "farm boy at heart", is retiring soon and they are moving to Puriri where they have bought land.
505 UPPER ALBERT ST, THAMES
• 5 bedrooms, 2 bathroom, 2 parking spaces.
• House 199sq m, land 1683sq m.
• Price: $747,000.
• Inspect: Viewing by appointment.
• Schools: Moanataiari Primary, Thames High School.
• Contact: Emma Muir, 027 210 1803, PGG Wrightson Real Estate, pggwre.co.nz/property/THA28603