Before moving to Snells Beach five years ago, retirees Alon and Audrey Shaw had been living on a lifestyle block near Warkworth.

"We liked it there but eventually I got tired of mowing the lawns, which took an hour and a half, so five years ago we decided to look for a smaller place," says Alon.

The pair were drawn to the Snells Beach property by the fact that it was relatively new, having been built in 1995 and had been very well maintained.

It's set in a quiet cul-de-sac and they loved its great street appeal. It also met another of their requirements — plenty of space for themselves, and the family and friends who often come to stay.

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On the upper level are three bedrooms, including the master suite, with ensuite, and a big main bathroom.

The living area is large and sunny with sea views at high tide and the kitchen is very tidy, with great potential for a modern renovation.

Fully insulated, the house requires minimal heating because it's a veritable sun-trap but occasionally in winter the heat pump is needed for a few hours.

Underneath the house is a double garage with internal access and another huge space, currently a bedroom-come-rumpus room, with its own bathroom.

Alon believes that it would make a great Airbnb, with perfect privacy for guests and their own access to the leafy space outside.

During their time here Alon and Audrey have established a colourful, much-admired garden.

"When we first saw the place the landscaping was okay, but we felt that it had masses of potential still, so we got stuck in and it's been most enjoyable," says Alon.

"Audrey does all the flowers while I have my vegetable garden at the rear of the house and I'm very proud of all my strawberry plants, which are beginning to yield fruit right now.

"What's more, it only takes 20 minutes to mow the lawn here, so I'm happy."

The house is surrounded by decking so there are plenty of places for Alon and Audrey to sit and admire the results of their gardening labours.

When the couple aren't busy at home they enjoy taking beach walks.

"It's just 72 steps from the bottom of our driveway to the edge of the water at Snells Beach," says Alon.

Further around there's another lovely beach at Algies Bay and between the two is a donkey sanctuary, which is very popular with families.

"From what I understand, somebody donated the money to get it going a number of years ago now and a volunteer looks after the animals. There are five or six donkeys there at the moment," says Alon.

The village of Snells Beach is only a few minutes from Gerontius Lane and the house is in zone for popular Snells Beach Primary School. Buses take older children to Mahurangi College, which is just under 8 kilometres away.

Despite having lived here a relatively short time, Alon and Audrey have made very good friends among their neighbours.

"We were so pleasantly surprised by the closeness of the community and the way that everybody looks out for one another. It's been great," says Alon.

He and Audrey are heading back to South Canterbury where they both grew up and they expect to have just as many visitors there.

"It's such a small world now with technology and air travel so I'm sure that we'll all be keeping in touch one way or another," he says.

30 GERONTIUS LANE, SNELLS BEACH
• 4 bedrooms, 3 bathroom, 2* parking spaces.
• Land: 804sq m, house: 180sq m.
• Auction: 29 Nov.
• Inspect: Sat/Sun 2-2.30pm.
• Schools: Snells Beach Primary, Mahurangi College.
• Contact: Steffan Meyer, Bayleys, 021 055 4346.
*Plus OSP