By CHARLOTTE COSSAR.

Once known as Naughty Bay for being home to a raucous cabaret and theatre about 80 years ago, Browns Bay has matured into a peaceful seaside suburb popular with people who have a love of the water.

One of the first North Shore seaside suburbs, with the first McDonalds in New Zealand (although its residents would like to think it's famous for other reasons), this area is rich in architecture offering residents a choice of clifftop mansions to good-sized sections with family homes.

When buying in this suburb you know you are going to get a decent home for a decent price, or as one local real estate agent put it: " ... better value for money than suburbs closer to the city."

This established area with its own beach and easy access to the other East Coast bay beaches attracts throngs of people in summer looking for a great place to enjoy a piece of paradise. However, the beauty for Browns Bay residents is that they never have to leave the area to go home.

A SPOT OF SHOPPING

Browns Bay residents don't have to go far to do a spot of shopping - the local shops cater for most needs and provide a great place to meet and catch up. Keeping up with bigger shopping centres nearby, the local shops have late-night and Sunday opening. Offering an eclectic mix of stores, from clothing chain stores to cafes and restaurants, this thriving shopping centre is expected to expand and change with Browns Bay's changing face.

WHAT SPORTS FACILITIES ARE THERE?

The main sporting facility has to be the sea, which caters for all water-lovers and their favourite toys and pastimes. However, if you prefer your sports on the dryer side, you can turn your hand to bowls or tennis or pumping weights at the gym.

WHAT ARE THE AMENITIES?

Browns Bay has three supermarkets, a language school, medical facilities and an excellent library and RSA. Every Sunday there is a market and many events are held at the Browns Bay Recreation Centre.

HOUSE PRICES

With properties ranging from family homes to apartments and retirement villages, this suburb caters for most tastes. And for a not-to-hefty price tag, on average between $300,000 and $400,000, you could be enjoying the seaside haven. Although there are homes selling for as little as $200,000 and others for more than $3 million, there are loads of homes in between, including apartments, homes on full sections, townhouses and executive family residences. The most sought-after houses are coastal properties, clifftop abodes and homes in the Rangitoto College area.