The story of this beachfront bach started in the early 1960s, when four blokes in a Morris Minor with no brakes took a road trip around the Coromandel.

They called into Whangapoua, a small settlement with a fantastic swimming beach, and came across a subdivision where it was possible to buy sections with a long-term payment agreement. One of the lads put down a deposit and paid the section off over a number of years.

"He later became a work colleague of mine, and by the time I heard the story, it had reached mythological proportions," says Doug Arcus, who later visited Whangapoua with his workmate, who had never been back to check out his purchase.

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The location struck a chord with Doug. When his wife Ruth's sister and her family returned from the UK looking for "a bit of coastal New Zealand", he said: "I know just the place. The four of us drove down and bought a section between us."

They sunk a bore, built a corrugated iron toilet and camped there for years. Initially there were tents, then a couple of caravans, and the pine trees on the land were strung with
nappies.

"That's how it stayed until 1991, when we bought the others out and asked an architect to design a house for the site," Doug says.

The first item on the wish list was privacy, and the second a spacious beach house suited to multi-generational living.

Doug and Ruth wanted separate spaces so people could be playing cards in one area, and reading or sleeping in another.

"My son and I built a small utility building, and the architect designed another one to match," says Doug.

"Next came a kitchen/living building, followed by a two-storeyed building with three bedrooms, and finally a garage with a loft on top.

"It was all designed at one time but built over a few years. From 1996 to 1998 the living area and bedrooms were built, in 1999 we built a new washroom, and in 2009 we added the garage and loft."

Inspired by years of family camping, the house is a series of separate pavilions at the back of the land for maximum privacy.

Clad in a mix of cedar weatherboard and battened ply, with Douglas fir ceilings and cedar joinery, the beach house absolutely suits its beachfront setting.

The kitchen/living pavilion is only partly enclosed to allow for easy outdoor eating and entertaining. It is open to an extensive covered deck with kwila flooring and its own outdoor kitchen.

Adjacent is the detached double-storeyed bedroom building with its own decking and sea views, flanked by the two separate bunkrooms.

None of the bedrooms are internally connected to the living pavilion or the bathrooms, which reduces noise and allows occupants independence and privacy.

The double garage — the final piece of the jigsaw — has 3m-high doors and will accommodate a trailered boat.

There's a wharf and boat ramp at Whangapoua, as well as a general store that supplies petrol and diesel. The nearby estuary provides further water access for boats.

The sandy swimming beach is 1.5km long and flanked in the north by the rocky foreshore towards Motuto Point and by Te Rehutae Point in the southeast.

Doug and Ruth's family have loved the beach and the house and it has worked perfectly for three generations and all their families and friends.

"We have 15 beds here so there's plenty of room," Doug says.

344 TANGIORA AVENUE, WHANGAPOUA
• 5 bedrooms, 2 bathroom, 2 parking spaces.
• Land 966sq m, house 175sq m.
• Auction: Nov 14, 2pm.
• Inspect: Oct 20, 21, 27, Nov 3, 10: 1pm-2pm.
• Schools: Coromandel Area School, Te Rerenga School.
• Contact: Bev Calder, Bayleys, (027) 2794401, oneroof.co.nz/1197306