Steve and Lee Clark think of their place at Mangawhai Heads as more of a second home than a bach.

"We bought this beach home on a whim 14 years ago. My brother has a property up here and we spent the weekend with him and loved it so much that on the way back to Auckland we got a real estate agent to show us a couple of properties and this was one of them," says Steve.

"What sold us," says Lee, "was you can see right through the house. Out the back you have views to the Brynderwyns and rural. At the front you have 180-degree sea views.

"When we looked at the house, it was a stunning day and you could see this beautiful blue water and Little Barrier. We literally bought the place as we are driving back home to Auckland."

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Steve says: "We were living in Auckland and I had a high-pressure job in Hamilton. So, I would drive back from Hamilton, pick Lee up and she would take over the driving, and we went to Mangawhai almost every single weekend for eight years. That became a little sanctuary.

The property is landscaped primarily with natives to attract birds but there are also fruit trees — feijoa, grapes, apricots, mandarins.

"We basically finished it off as you would expect the home to be, half expecting to retire up here. But now we have four beautiful grandchildren who live close to us in Auckland and we are very active grandparents," says Steve.

Their 868sq m beach home is built of vertical weather boards.

On the ground level are the garage with internal access, laundry and storage.

"We were thinking if we retired here, we might have developed downstairs," says Steve, "as it has an ideal area for another couple of bedrooms, lounge and toilets."

At the front of the main level are the master bedroom, kitchen, dining lounge — all looking east to the sea. The lounge stretches across the home so it gets sea and rural views, and the other two bedrooms face the Brynderwyns to the west. There are decks front and back, allowing shelter any time of the day from sun or wind.

"When we bought the place out the back there would've been no more than a dozen houses," says Steve. "Now there would be a couple of hundred homes. But we sit on this little perch and nobody looks into us because we are quite a bit higher.

"Mangawhai is small enough to be a real little community but big enough to have all the facilities there," says Steve.

"And it is a neat place to have a dog. Lots of locals have dogs and take them down the far end of the surf beach," says Lee.

"And we get dolphins and orca coming into the estuary," adds Steve.

It takes them about 75 minutes to get to Mangawhai Heads from their West Auckland home.

"Mangawhai is 20 minutes to Warkworth and Wellsford where there is good shopping. It is 30 minutes to Waipu which is famous for its Scottish games every New Year," he says.

17 DRIFTWOOD PL, MANGAWHAI HEADS
• 3 bedrooms, 2 bathroom, 1 parking spaces.
• Land 868sq m, house 165sq m.
• Auction: March 21.
• Inspect: Sat/Sun 2-3 pm.
• Schools: Mangawhai Beach School, Otamatea High, Rodney College.
• Contact: Tim Brown, Bayleys, 021 387 551; Robbie Robertson, 021 959 798.