In Roger and Audrey Gudgeon's apartment you feel you can almost reach out and touch Mt Eden. They live on the eighth floor of The Pines building, in the middle of 2.8ha of park-like grounds in Epsom.
Along with the manicured gardens there's a swimming pool, tennis court and pavilion — but the majesty of their three-bedroom apartment in the 10-story block has to be the views.
There is a panoramic vista of the Waitemata Harbour from their lounge and deck, and views of the Manukau Harbour from the bedrooms.
They live next to a volcano and have views of the other volcanic cones, from Rangitoto and Mt Hobson at the front to Mangere Mountain and Mt Roskill at the back.
The couple, who have lived here for 35 years, are only leaving because they are now in their 90s.
Roger says it didn't take much for them to decide this was the place for them, all those years ago.
"We were living abroad and had been for many years. We came back to Auckland and had to find somewhere to live. We saw this place and fell in love with it in about five minutes."
Their time here has been "absolutely magic", he says, recalling tennis, swimming and barbecue parties, including a marquee on the lawn and having 40 people to a barbecue lunch.
There are some special things about The Pines, says Roger. The ownership structure, for example, is different from the body corporate system in that it is a limited company run by directors appointed by 40 shareholders — the 40 owners of The Pines apartments.
Each apartment owner has a 40th share.
There are rules attached, says Roger, one of which is that it is difficult to rent an apartment, hence they are nearly always owner-occupied.
"Everybody's an owner. Everybody's interested in looking after things," he says.
"We have a resident building superintendent, my newspaper is at my front door at 6.30 every morning, and the mail goes out and comes in from down below.
"I park underneath and there's always a park. It's magic. And you're very handy to the city. This is pretty jolly convenient and it's quiet."
Down in the mail room is a painting of the original house on the site which, says Roger "was not a modest shack".
The two-storey home was demolished by its wealthy owner, Selwyn Robinson, to make way for The Pines.
"We came in 83 and his widow was in 9A, immediately above here. I think he died the year before. He developed the whole place."
Roger and Audrey's apartment gets all-day sun and has its own deck.
The big hallway entrance leads to a wood-panelled lounge with bay windows. Audrey has a chair by the window watches the ships come in.
In the distance, the view also takes in trains and traffic on the motorway. Closer to home you can look down on historic Epsom homes, including Florence Court to the right and the lawns of Government House to the left, near Eden Garden.
Audrey liked watching garden parties at Government House, but she hasn't seen one hosted there for a while.
The apartment boasts plenty of cupboard space, has three bedrooms (the master has a large en suite and walk-in wardrobe) and a sizeable lock-up downstairs for storage. There's a gym downstairs as well.
Roger and Audrey say you can be as private as you like in The Pines, but there is also a great sense of community among residents.
What will they miss the most about their home above the trees? "Everything", they say in unison.
THE PINES APARTMENTS, 8A/75 OWENS RD, EPSOM
• 3 bedrooms, 2 bathroom, 1* parking spaces.
• Apartment 189sq m, land 27,645sq m**
• Price: $4,000,000.
• Body corp: $21,000.
• Inspect: Call to view.
• Schools: Auckland Grammar School, Epsom Girls' Grammar School, Auckland Normal Intermediate School, Newmarket School.
• Contact: Paul Studman, 021 998 563, Barfoot & Thompson, barfoot.co.nz/763509
*Plus 1 car-park by grace of the board (no cost), plus OSP
**Share between 40 owners