Mark and Bobi Petch have been hanging out on the site of Parnell's White Heron Hotel on and off for 50 years. First, when the hotel was the place for rock 'n' roll in the city and later when they came to own apartments on the site of the old hotel.
Bobi, who was road manager-secretary to pop singer Dinah Lee in the early 60s, says: "I can remember it being the place to be in the 1970s. Mark and I would come down and have drinks by the pool."
The White Heron Hotel opened in the 1960s, hosting international celebrities such as Joe Cocker and Bob Marley plus local glitterati.
Decades later, after Mark's business successes and the hotel's demise, the couple bought a penthouse in the Heron apartments.
Later they sold and bought another penthouse a couple of doors away, in the White Heron Point development. They had that for nine years.
"But then we decided we'd build down in Wanaka and make that our main base, so we didn't need the same sort of Auckland home," says Bobi.
They downsized to this northwest facing, corner garden apartment in the Judges building not quite a year ago.
Bobi says: "As well as having a great harbour view and being so sunny it doesn't really feel like you're in an apartment — it feels private and opens out to its own garden-level grounds."
Their gated community is on the clifftop at the northern end of St Stephens Ave, above Judges Bay and the Parnell pools. It has visitor parking and a gymnasium, double Grammar zoning, and Parnell school is just up the road.
The apartments were completed in 2008 of solid concrete accented with large swathes of distinctive exterior stone and abundant glass.
Apartment 2D is accessed from a ground-floor foyer shared by just a few residences or via the lift from its two car parks in the basement of the building.
The 231sq m home starts with an entry foyer before you turn into a big open-plan lounge-dining-kitchen expanse drenched in sunlight and harbour and city views.
This opens out to both a covered courtyard and a sizeable patio alongside compact manicured gardens with a patch of lawn. They share in the superb views right around to Mt Victoria, North Head and Rangitoto.
Bobi says: "It's ever-changing out there. And with the harbour and the cranes it's like Disneyland at night with all the lights."
The north-facing master suite is in its own wing, opens outdoors and incorporates a separate study. Its extra-long wall of wardrobing sits opposite an en suite with freestanding bath, separate shower and powder room. There are filter blinds to moderate the sun, air conditioning, and a fire in the lounge.
The Poggenpol kitchen has a scullery. Beyond this a good-sized second lounge-media room also opens outdoors. Two further bedrooms at the opposite end from the master suite both have accompanying bathrooms, one with en suite and the other available to visitors. There's also a separate laundry room and generous storage.
Bobisays: "People have commented on this apartment's size, views and incredibly sunniness."
The couple's Wanaka home is due to be completed this year and they've decided to sell here and keep a one-bedroom apartment in Mission Bay's heritage Garden Court as their Auckland bolt-hole.
2D/154 ST STEPHENS AVENUE, PARNELL
• 3 bedrooms, 3 bathroom, 2 parking spaces.
• Auction: Wed May 22
• Contact: Ross Tierney, Ray White, 021 855 721; Simonne Knight, 021 115 5021