Living on this waterfront property at Whenuapai has enabled Andrew and Deanne Hay and their sons Callum, 17, and Campbell, 19, "to do what you just can't do in town", says Andrew.
They can launch their jet skis from their lawn's edge, water ski, play tennis, practise their golf or ride on their motocross track.
The family moved here from the city 16 years ago, becoming the third owners of the impressive 475sq m home on the 4.5ha property.
"We had built in Mission Bay on the cliffs," says Andrew. "It had spectacular views but it was a three-level building on only a 500sq m site.
"We had one boy and one on the way. I had just come home from a fishing trip and I saw this property in the Saturday or Sunday Herald Homes section and I shot out to have a look at it. And then I went about convincing my wife that it was a better place to raise a couple of boys.
"What attracted me was when you drive down the driveway. The entrance is quite grandiose. The electronic gates open and you go down a tree-lined driveway. It is beautiful.
"We have both been water skiers so being able to water ski or jet ski off the front lawn is special.
"You can come up here all the way from the harbour bridge all the way in a boat. Lots of friends visit from Auckland and we get people around the area who simply come in on the Sunday morning on the high tide and pull up and have breakfast.
"We have had people out to play tennis on our court that can be lit at night, and there's a little golf hole. I love my golf so it's good putting and chipping practice.
"It has a full boat ramp you can put in an 8m boat. It's got an orchard, a three-bay implement shed, where we keep our mowers and tools. And we put in a motocross track on the property as my oldest son was a motocross rider."
The four-bedroom home with formal and informal living areas was built in 1996, designed by architect Linda Clapham.
"It's very open-plan so we like that and it has high studs," says Andrew. "It's very easy to live in. It's all concrete block with a concrete floor and under-floor heating."
Three Jetmaster fires add a warm ambience in the formal lounge, dining room and the small timber panelled library that Andrew uses as his office.
Although the home is large, the design essentially separates the home into living areas, master bedroom suite at one end, and the teenagers' wing at the other. In the home's centre is the large kitchen with its cherrywood cabinetry and stainless steel Smeg appliances.
"We have the big kitchen with great views: water on one side and then the pool in the outdoor area on the other side," says Andrew.
Doors open from most rooms to the terrace in front of the home, leading to the vast lawn that goes down to water's edge and the jetty.
The parents' wing also has a spa pool facing the harbour, just outside their bedroom door.
"You have the games room and the noisy teenagers at the other end of the home so they don't bother you," says Andrew.
"It is great for entertaining. It has a 15 m heated swimming pool with a beautiful outdoor area and outdoor fire and the LouvreTec roof that covers that area."
The property also has a self-contained granny flat. "We've often had people staying there as it has its own facilities," says Andrew.
Now one son is at uni and the other is nearing the end of secondary schooling, the family are selling to move to the Shore for the next stage of their lives. They have painted the home inside and out for the next owners.
"We found a place in Takapuna on the water on O'Neills Ave. We want to be able to walk down the road to the restaurant or the beach," says Andrew.
"This has been a great family home. The kids take the jet skis out and then they come back and jump in the spa or the pool. The kids are always outside.
"Two weekends out of five we came home on a Friday afternoon and we never leave the property until we go back on Monday to work."
Andrew says he can be at his city gym or Mt Eden office in 16 minutes as the motorway access is so handy. If they feel like popping out for a meal, they can choose from Blossoms cafe just up the road or restaurants at Kumeu, Whenuapai or Waimauku.
While they are looking forward to a return to a city lifestyle, they "will miss the peace and quiet."
8 KENNEDYS RD, WHENUAPAI
• 5 bedrooms, 3 bathroom, 4 parking spaces.
• Land 4.5ha, house 475sq m.
• Tender: Closes Dec 6 (unless sold prior).
• Inspect: By appointment.
• Schools: Auckland Girls' Grammar, Western Springs College.
• Contact: Terry Jones, Wallace & Stratton, 0274 920 529.