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Dated beachfront campground cited for development potential


Dated beachfront campground cited for development potential is placed on the market for sale

A long-running ‘Kiwiana-style’ beachfront camp ground and caravan park has been placed on the market for sale – with suggestions the site could be redeveloped into an upmarket holiday accommodation destination.

The Opononi Beach Holiday Park on the shores of the Hokianga Harbour on Northland’s west coast has been operating as a camp site since the early 1960s. It sits alongside the new Manea Footsteps of Kupe cultural and heritage education centre scheduled to open later this year.

However, after nearly three decades of hosting thousands of pitched-tent campers, caravan holidaymakers and motorhome tourists, the campground’s owner-operators are now looking to retire - and are selling up the property and business.

There are just two commercially-run campgrounds operating in the Hokianga area. The other such facility is located at Rawene – some 12 kilometres further inland up the harbour reaches.

The Opononi Beach Holiday Park is located immediately across the road from the golden-sand Opononi Beach. The camp contains several accommodation options – ranging from bare grass tent sites at $20 per person per night, through to seven budget cabins available at $110 per night for two adults.

With a graveled loop road running through the centre of the property, the Opononi Beach Holiday Park is designed to support up to 34 powered camping/caravan/motorhome sites, and an additional 80 tent plots. The camp is serviced by Opononi’s town water supply network.

The freehold land, buildings, and going concern Opononi Beach Holiday Park business at 43 Hokianga Harbour Drive are now being marketed for sale at auction on February 4 through Bayleys Kerikeri. Salespeople Anthony Van Gessel and Todd Skudder said the land sustaining Opononi Beach Holiday Park was zoned for commercial accommodation use.

“The building infrastructure and set up of Opononi Beach Holiday Park reflect the very heart of Kiwiana from a bygone era. The cabins and amenities are basic, yet totally functional - from a time where families talked around the dinner table lit by Tilley lanterns or played cricket and frisbee on the grass outside, rather than being hunched over their mobile phones and i-pads, or scrambling over the ropes and poles of a supervised adventure theme park,” Mr van Gessel said.

“The ‘solid ‘bones’ of Opononi Beach Holiday Park’s infrastructure could easily be modernised and expanded – by refurbishing and upgrading the existing inventory of units to deliver a greater degree of guest comfort which many New Zealand families are now seeking, or by adding new cabin stock.”

“The elevated topography of the property from the front to rear means virtually all guests staying at Opononi Beach Holiday Park have views of the Hokianga Harbour across the road.”

Building infrastructure on the site includes :

• A reception office and adjoining one-bedroom owner/manager’s residence

• A communal amenities block containing the camp’s toilet and bathroom facilities, a, kitchen with commercial-grade refrigeration units, gas cookers and stainless steel benching, and a laundry space with coin-operate washing and drying equipment


• A pair of concrete 2,000 litre water storage tanks ensuring water supply for guests during the solidly booked Christmas/New Year holiday period.

Mr van Gessel said the Opononi Beach Holiday Park’s vast expanses of flat grassed spaces were currently under-utilised – and consequently offered multiple development opportunities to take the business to a new level either through the addition of more salubrious cabins, or the introduction of high-end camping sustained by new communal amenities.

“Holidaymakers are becoming selective in choosing where they stay in small holiday town locations. In provincial New Zealand, this has of course driven the rise in ‘glamping’ – where affluent campers are seeking that ‘under the stars’ experience sleeping outdoors,” he said.

“However, within that camping experience they want to sleep on an inner-sprung king size mattress, under a double-layer duvet, with a bedside table, and a bottle of wine or a few beers in the fridge in the corner of the tent.

“But glampers are prepared to pay top dollar for that ‘authentic’ camping experience. In essence, the cosmopolitan camper of today is seeking the comforts of a four star hotel in an environment replicating a traditional Kiwi camp site.

“That societal evolution built on the camping roots of the past represents a huge potential for traditional holiday park businesses such as the Opononi Beach Holiday Park - which has the benefit of its sensational harbour-fronting location, combined with an expanse of open space which could be developed into glamping accommodation options.

“Glamping also makes accommodation a year-round operating option for New Zealand camping sites, whose traditional busy period has been from Christmas through to the return of children to school in February. Glampers travel throughout the year though – even in winter. That trend is particularly true for weekend-break glampers who simply want to get out of the big city, in this case Auckland, for a couple of days away.

“Alternatively for the future, there is the potential for a new owner of Opononi Beach Holiday Park to add bigger apartment-style units and raising the standard of amenities – such as installing a café or bar, installing a spa pool and spa treatment suite, improving WiFi connectivity, and maybe mounting a wood-fired pizza oven for outdoor cooking. Then with the implementation of lodge or hotel-grade fittings and furnishings inside the units, the higher quality accommodation option would generate a room higher yield.”

Mr Skudder said the camp’s 1.79 hectare rectangular-shaped landholding was bordered on one edge by a ‘paper road’ which, along with the substantial water frontage, could be developed to sustain subdividing the camp ground into a residential enclave.

Hokianga Harbour is one of a handful of predominantly undeveloped harbours – along with Kaipara, Raglan and Kawhia - within easy holiday home commuting distance from Auckland.


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