When Margie and Reade Murray found their bach they didn't have far to go.
"We live on a farm and we have an eight-minute commute to the bach. We're down there most days," says Margie.
"We have the green view and the blue view."
The green farm view is nice but the blue coastal view is spectacular, she says.
The bach is on a clifftop looking out over the estuary, sand dunes and the sea.
"We're up high and that gives us huge views all the way down the estuary and also up to Head Rock. We see the Hen and Chickens and Sail Rock and it's beautiful.
"We see everything. All the Robert St houses do. They get this amazing vista. It changes all the time; the light is good, sunrises and sunsets and all the in-betweens."
And, in roughly a minute, they can be on the beach.
"It's a lovely sandy beach. It's safe for children because it's in the shallow there. There's lots of sand to hang out on and play on."
Dolphins are frequent visitors to the estuary and orca have been sighted plus the odd seal and stingrays.
Margie especially loves watching the oyster catchers and other seabirds.
"And we see all the happy people enjoying the estuary — swimming, sailing, kayaking, boating or simply walking on the beach. It's a fun place."
She and Reade bought the bach about three and a half years ago. They had been looking for somewhere for a long time and then happened to drive by and see the "for sale" sign.
"We tidied it all up and put on a lovely big deck, the covered area, and it's just wonderful."
She, Reade and the family spend a lot of time outside and the couple put decks around three sides of the house so there are plenty of places to go depending on the wind.
"We've got a lovely outdoor shower," Margie says. "We never use the shower inside.
Summer and winter we have a shower outside.
"We love collecting pipi and coming home and eating them, that's cool. And catching fish, and all the different boats coming and going.
"The best thing about the house is the outdoor living area, the covered deck. We just live there all year round. It's got big heaters and ... basically it's a whole other lounge."
The house has a large kitchen/dining/lounge area which is open plan, and the kitchen has a big pantry.
Down the hall are the three bedrooms and there is a big rumpus/TV room which Margie says is like a second lounge, and then you walk through into the garage which has room for the tractor and the boat.
There is plenty of storage in the house and the couple insulated the ceiling and under the floor.
"We've done everything to make it comfortable and warm.
"It's got a really great fish cleaning area out the back. You park the boat and turn the corner and you're there and it's got a big space on the lawn to wash down the boat."
Margie says the bach has been a social place with plenty of visitors who are easily accommodated on the big deck, and she says Mangawhai is a great spot.
Mangawhai Heads, where they are, has cafes, shops and fish and chips, and a Four Square. About 3km away is Mangawhai Village and its chocolate factory.
"You can get everything at Mangawhai." And there are always happy people around, she says.
"It's a summer place, it's a holiday place, and when you're looking out down to the estuary and see everyone swimming and laughing and splashing, it's great."
While their own commute to the bach is short, Margie says they often drive to Auckland and back in a day and that it only takes about 90 minutes each way so even a commute from Auckland is not too bad.
She and Reade are making some changes, she says. They are selling their beloved bach but they they are staying in the area.
1 ROBERT ST, MANGAWHAI HEADS
• 3 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, 1* parking spaces.
• Land 855sq m, house 167sq m.
• Auction: Feb 20.
• Inspect: Sat/Sun 2-3pm.
• Schools: Mangawhai Beach Primary, Otamatea High, Rodney College.
• Contact: Robbie Robertson, Bayleys, 021 95 97 98. Dianne Christensen, 021 741 541.