Coastal campground pitched for sale
A pristine seaside campground, the Whangaruru Beachfront Camp, along with the 59.7 hectares of coastal land it is located on, has been placed on the market for sale – with property developers eyeing up potential conversion of the beachfront site into an exclusive holiday home development.
The freehold land, buildings and business are being offered for sale at auction on October 28 through Bayleys Whangarei.
The campground overlooks the golden sands of Parutahi Beach, just north of Whangarei, and currently caters for all levels of holidaying campers. At peak-use periods such as Christmas and New Year, the campground accommodates holidaymakers in four bach-type motel units, five basic cabins, 42 powered caravan and tents sites, and 40 non-powered tent sites.
It also has an administration building and on-site manager’s accommodation. The camp owner/manager’s accommodation is a four-bedroom home with a new kitchen. The building’s ground level contains the camp utilities – encompassing the communal kitchen, boiler room, and toilet facilities.
The waterfront block of land is zoned Countryside and Coastal Countryside Environments in the Whangarei District Plan and consists of one single title. However, Whangarei District Council has issued a resource consent for the subdivision of the land into four smaller titles.
The land has been surveyed and the resulting title applications are ready to be lodged with Whangarei District Council. Under this plan, Lot 1 of 12.83 hectares would house the campground business – with vehicle access through two sides of the property. The property overlooks the beach.
The remaining three sites on the hills overlooking the campground would all become coastal lifestyle block sized parcels under the Whangarei Coastal Management Strategy Structure Plan. Lot 2 would be of 3.87 hectares, Lot 3 would be of 17.27 hectares and Lot 4 would be of 25.79 hectares.
Bayleys Whangarei salesperson Ross Blomfield who is marketing the property said that while the land and buildings had a 2012 council valuation of $3.7 million, it was much harder to place a market value on the site as the campground was being sold as a ‘going concern’ with a proven six-figure revenue stream.
“The Whangaruru Beachfront Camp turned over in the region of $220,000 in the 2014/15 financial year, and is forecast to turnover more than $250,000 in the current financial year,” Mr Blomfield said.
“The camp already has a near capacity number of bookings over the Christmas/New Year period, with strong reservations throughout the remainder of summer leading right up to Easter.
“The nature and aesthetic feel of the Whangaruru Beachfront Camp is very much what could be described as ‘traditional Kiwiana’ – that is, set up for tents, caravans, motorhomes, and budget-level bunk cabins,” he said.
“There is the opportunity to ratchet up the accommodation rating a star or two, through the addition of a somewhat more salubrious standard of lodging. This could be achieved with the construction of a serviced apartment block, or stand-alone boutique chalets with a higher than existing standard of fit-out and amenities.
“There is also the opportunity of establishing a ‘glamping’ offering.”
Glamping is the term used for upmarket camping – where large luxury tents contain such home comforts as big screen TVs with SKY connection, chef-size BBQs, cocktail fridges, and king-size beds with fully-padded mattresses topped with cotton sheets and duvets.
“With the location, views and surroundings offered by the Whangaruru Beachfront Camp’s seaside position, it would be relatively simple for a new operator to achieve a three or possibly even four-star Qualmark accommodation rating,” Mr Blomfield said.
Mr Blomfield said that while the campground generated most of revenue for the landholding, some of the hill country overlooking the lower reaches was leased to a local farmer for cattle grazing.
The Whangarei Coastal Management Strategy Structure Plan identifies approximately 2.5 hectares of Whangaruru campground property as being considered appropriate for a large-lot residential development which may allow approximately 10-15 2000 square metre lots on an un-sewered basis.
“Alternatively,” states the Whangarei Coastal Management Strategy Structure Plan, “up to 20 lots of 1000 square metres may be possible if the development was sewered. Another option is to allow two lots of 10 hectares if discretionary planning was approved.”
A Government report – Review of Camping Opportunities in New Zealand – compiled by the Department of Conservation, identified that increasing land values in coastal areas had resulted in a number of commercial holiday parks and camping grounds being sold over the past decade, and the sites developed for other uses.