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Major tourism projects unveiled for Lake Tekapo

For Immediate Release

June 13, 2005

Major tourism projects unveiled for Lake Tekapo

The owner of Lilybank Station at the head of Lake Tekapo has purchased the entire Bluewater Resort development in Tekapo and will link the Bluewater Spa and Wellness Centre with his exclusive tourist lodge at Lilybank.

In a move that will be seen as a major boost to South Island tourism and the Mackenzie District in particular, Lilybank Station Ltd’s company manager, Dennis Thompson, said plans are to build a golf course and airstrip at Lilybank Station and re-open the luxury lodge.

As part of the on-going development of the tourism potential of Lilybank, he intends to build the golf course in close proximity to the lodge on existing pastoral land that will take in the spectacular scenery provided by the surrounding mountain ranges, the Godley and Macauley rivers and Lake Tekapo.

“The key reason for buying Bluewater is the fact that the health and spa industry is one of the fastest growing worldwide and resorts of the calibre of Lilybank need to have access to such facilities.

“By having ownership of both Lilybank and Bluewater, the two resorts can work together in conjunction with the health spa and golf course. Bluewater will provide for 4.5 star villa accommodation and Lilybank will re-open as an exclusive lodge providing for a range of eco-tourism activities,” he said.

“Apart from the obvious benefits that the linkage of accommodation and recreational activities will provide for travellers and the impact this will have on occupancy levels, the golf course will provide a very environmentally-friendly activity for visitors to enjoy and experience the spectacular scenery on offer in this area.

“It meshes so well with the eco-recreation activities that will also be on offer namely the spectacular walkways, river activities and close-at-hand viewing of the deer and tahr population that currently roams behind expansive fenced enclosures on the station.”

Work on the landing strip is expected to start in the next two months while the lodge will probably not open until next year after further refurbishments have been undertaken. This should coincide with the opening of Bluewater.

Former leading professional player and newly emerged golf course designer, Greg Turner, has expressed great enthusiasm for the Lilybank site.

“It is hard to imagine a more breathtaking site for a quintessential New Zealand high-country golf course. The iconic nature of the location offers the opportunity to merge a uniquely New Zealand golfing and wilderness experience into one.

“The grandeur of the station demands a minimalist approach, but in truth to contemplate anything else would be folly. I have always been confident that we could produce in New Zealand the sort of golfing environment that expressed much of both ourselves as a people and our environment as it has affected us. The potential to do so at Lilybank is a mouth-watering prospect indeed,” he said.

Turner has further declared that he is in discussion with the design company of golfing legend Jack Nicklaus. “The opportunity to form a relationship with the most successful golf course design business in the world and the greatest golfer of all time is an exiting one indeed.

“To be able to access the expertise within Nicklaus Design and apply them to a New Zealand environment offers great potential benefits. Given Jack’s well known love of the New Zealand back-country I am looking forward to alerting him to the plans at Lilybank,” Turner said.

Robert and Blair Brown, of Robert Brown Developments, previously undertook the Bluewater Resort Development. They will continue to manage the development process under contract to Lilybank Station Ltd.

Blair Brown said that work on the construction of Stage I of the $40million Bluewater Resort has begun. The resort will be built in three stages with prices ranging from $195,000 for a studio through to $635,000 for a three-bedroom lakehouse.

“While construction costs around New Zealand have escalated in recent times, through the shrewd stewardship of our project manager, Stuart Chadwick (ex Clearwater), we have been able to keep the prices constant over the last six months. Our retail development costs of $4200 sq m. are well under similar resort-type construction projects in other parts of New Zealand,” he said.

Bluewater contains 96 unit-titled properties, a club-styled restaurant and bar, all-weather competition-standard tennis courts and meeting and conference facilities as well as the health spa.

Chris Herbert, Bluewater Resort project marketing consultant, said the addition of a golf course plus the health spa along with all the other great attractions of the Mackenzie Basin, enhances Tekapo as a destination.

“These facilities are just what the region needs to underpin the growing number of tourists visiting the Mackenzie District. In the year to September 2004, the Accommodation Monitor figures for the area showed guest nights up 8.9 per cent, nearly double the national average of 4.5%.

“In spite of the very limited marketing of Bluewater Resort whilst negotiations with Lilybank Station Ltd were in train, unconditional sales of almost half of the available stock have been achieved. In the main, buyers have been from throughout the South Island, especially Christchurch, as all this is happening virtually on their doorstep being only 2.5 hours away.

“ However, if previous experience is anything to go by, I expect the North Island market to kick in now.

“There is an abundance of good skiing in the area and Tekapo’s Roundhill field is warmly regarded by this fraternity and it seems that just about everyone who has bought or enquired about Bluewater Resort learnt to ski there. There are also the nearby fields of Dobson and Ohau.”

Bluewater will be built in three stages. Stage I will include 48 lake houses, a clubhouse or lodge, tennis courts and landscaping and will take 12 months to complete. The remaining lake houses should take another nine months. Stage III will comprise the health spa.

Graham Murray, chairman of Mackenzie Tourism, is delighted at the prospect of a quality resort being available for tourists in the next 12 to 18 months.

“Having this complemented with a health spa and golf course will boost numbers to the region. These exciting developments will go hand in hand with the District’s planned Heritage Centre that is to be built next to Bluewater Resort.”


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