Sue Maloney works in teacher professional development in Henderson; her husband Julian owns the very cool Maloney's Barber shop in Victoria St in the CBD. They tell Alexia Santamaria why living in Avondale has worked out perfectly for them.

We moved from Herne Bay 10 years ago and just love it out west. We really like Avondale because it's alive. There's always something going on and the township is constantly bustling with people of all nationalities. Whenever we go for a run or a walk, there's people out and about doing things - walking, biking, playing touch or cricket, skating at the skate park. There's always something to see.

A lot of people don't realise how close Avondale is to the water. There are a lot of houses along the Whau river and even if you don't live right on the water, it's never far to walk to a lovely river view. There's a great boardwalk which starts in Ash St and meanders round the Whau, which is great for a morning or post-work walk and talk. There's activity on the water too - rowers going past, boats, birds. We also love the view driving into the city along the causeway. It's one of the prettiest in Auckland.

And then there's the food. West Auckland is often mocked for its Outrageous Fortune culinary tendencies but that's because people don't know the right places. Flourishing Cafe is the sister restaurant to Canton Cafe in Kingsland and we swear by the Hot and Spicy Prawns, Green Beans with Pork Mince and Peking Duck. All the joys of Canton's amazing food but with better parking and more space.

We also have the best European bakery in Auckland - Swiss Konditorei Bern - just up the road. They supply many of the top hotels like the Langham, the Heritage and the Sky City Hotel and it's open to the public on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. They sell authentic Swiss and German pastries, cakes and bread. We often drive there just for their eclairs and the almond croissants.

We love cooking, so for great spices and other Indian cooking ingredients there's Khyber Food and Spices. There's always these huge containers of home-made pickles - garlic and lime and other gorgeous flavours. The people who own the shop are really friendly and helpful.

And of course there's the Avondale Markets. They are huge and the produce is cheap and really fresh. It's great talking to the stallholders who are often real characters. Our favourite is the family who sometimes dress in fancy dress and sell household tools under the stands.

Many people don't know that there's also an Antiques Market in the racecourse building once a month. You can pick up all sorts of great stuff.

After nine years renting, we decided to buy in Avondale a year ago. All our neighbours have been here since the 1960s so we figure it must be worth staying.

Sue and Julian's picks
Dawn Perrson Boardwalk, At the end of Ash St and just beside the Ash-Rata bridge across the Whau River, this is the perfect place for a walk with the family or the dog.

Flourishing Cafe, 1784 Great North Rd, ph (09) 828 4488, open 11am-11pm seven days. The Hot and Spicy Prawns are a must. Portions are generous so keep that in mind when you order. There's parking on the roof too.

Swiss Konditorei Bern, 5/448 Rosebank Rd, (09)828 5860, open Thurs-Sat 7am-2pm. Try the eclairs and the Toblerone chocolate mousse cup.

Khyber Food and Spices, 2020 Great North Rd, ph (09) 820 9183. If you don't know how to cook with the spices, ask the owners. And don't miss the pickle.

Avondale Markets, Ash St, every Sunday 6am to 12pm. Arrive early as it gets busy, and take good bags or a granny trolley as you're sure to buy a lot of produce and need to haul it back to the car.