I'd never heard of it - until I saw the advertisement.
My own slice of beachfront paradise for $240 down and the balance, at 3 per cent, paid at $34 a month over five years.
Still, when you are on a cadet reporter's wage of $25 a week, that's a hefty burden. So I persuaded good old mum to stump up half the money, filched from her housekeeping savings, and we drove north to pick a site.
The turn off, near Mangonui, was only a few kilometres from where we'd lived before joining the exodus to Auckland a few months before I started school.
"Your father could have bought a place on the beach at Opononi or at Coopers beach for 12 but he thought it just a waste," mum complained. "We used to picnic and camp wherever we liked."
About 13km of winding, unsealed, rutted and dusty road later, we stopped at the top of the steep hill that drops down into Taupo Bay. The view is stunning. A 1km golden crescent, narrow strips of white surf break, and a sea of deepest blue flanked by imposing headlands rearing up to 300m. Flat Island and the outer Cavalli Islands lay on the horizon in the far, far distance.
The road is sealed now and there are homes and baches behind the crescent of sand. But the view from the top of the hill is still one of the best in Northland. We always pause there briefly to soak it up. When the kids were little they'd shout: "Hip hip hooray, we're at Taupo Bay."
Well you would, wouldn't you, after a four-hour drive. One glimpse of the beach is enough to make the trip worthwhile.
Mum and I chose a site next to a venerable pohutukawa, the only one on the beach in those days. Now there are trees everywhere and my friends across the road suggest my trees could do with a trim. Fat chance. We grew our karo trees from seed when we were young and enthusiastic, camped for years with babies and pets, developed lasting friendships and watched our family grow.
We once had 46 teenagers camped there for New Year. Some of them still come back. We have had 50th birthday parties and weddings. We've been so spoiled by fresh fish that we rarely eat fish anywhere else. We've tramped in the hills, picnicked on deserted beaches nearby, explored the nooks and crannies of a fascinating coastline by sea kayak, and seen the dawn of a new millennium.
We watch dotterels guard their nests and swim with dolphins in the surf. Every day is the same and every day is different. Some mornings there is kelp on the beach to collect for the garden. Or an unusual shell. Once there was a leatherback turtle.
My son likes it best when the surf's up; my daughter likes to party with a gang of mates, who all say "yes please", to any invite. All of us love Christmas, and New Year.
Some people like to tell me how much my slice of paradise is worth. I don't think they have any idea. All beaches have sand and sea; only Taupo Bay has our memories.