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Water Sports Business For Sale Leaves The Competition In Its Wake

One of New Zealand’s busiest wakeboarding and water-skiing aquatic leisure parks has been placed on the market for sale.

Taupo Wake Park in the Central North Island operates on a man-made lake just north of Taupo township, and gives users a simulated riding experience to being towed behind a motorboat.

Easily visible from State Highway 1, Taupo Wake Park is located within one of Taupo’s tourist activity hubs – additionally sustaining the family-orientated Huka Prawn Park, and the upmarket Wairakei Golf Course.

102 Karetoto Road - Taupo Wake Park

The wake park has been operating for six-years - cumulatively building repeat clientele over the period. User charges for the facility range from $40 for a 10-minutre burst, or $40 for a beginner’s tuition session, up to $75 for a half-day pass allowing multiple runs.

Trading seven days-a-week from 10am, Taupo Wake Park hosts a number of on-lake events throughout the year – ranging from social gatherings and well patronised school education programmes, through to the Central North Island regional heats for the national wakeboarding championships. Private parties and corporate bookings are also catered for.

Now the Taupo Wake Park business at 201 Karetoto Road in Wairakei is being marketed for sale by negotiation through Bayleys Real Estate’s business sales division. Salespeople Carolyn Hanson and Markus Blum said Taupo Wake Park runs as a one-person operation – achieved through a fully-automated booking system which allowed bookings and health and safety compliance to be undertaken on-line in advance of arrival at the venue.

“The automated system delivers a highly efficient and smooth traffic flow of users. It also provides the business with a strong database marketing channel where special events and promotional activities can be directly communicated to users,” said Hanson.

The park’s cable system runs an electrically-powered tow rope between two towers – pulling riders in a continuous figure-eight course where users have the option of skimming over ramps and angled jumps for completing trick manoeuvres. Spectators sit lakeside on grassed banks to enjoy the on-water action.

Hanson said support amenities and buildings within the park included an office, café, bathrooms, and rental equipment storage sheds. The park also has 25 car park spaces, with additional turning and space for large buses and school mini-buses.

In addition to generating revenue from sessions, the business also hires equipment to riders of all abilities for $15.

“As with much of Taupo’s tourism sector, Taupo Wake Park bounced back relatively quickly from the initial restrictions of operating under Covid-19 level three and four lockdowns. With international leisure travel for Kiwis is set to be constrained for the immediate future, revenue forecasts for Taupo Wake Park are looking very robust – underpinned by a strong domestic tourism market for the Central North Island,” said Hanson.

“Taupo Wake Park appeals to all levels of users – from beginners and school groups looking for a safe and non-threatening on-water environment enabling them to master the rudimentals of the sport, right through to advanced riders looking to hone their competitive repertoires on the jump ramps,” Hanson said.

“For wakeboarding and water-skiing beginners, lessons initially commence on land before novices are given the opportunity of riding on the water using radio-connected helmets where instructors can relay guidance to learners from anywhere onshore.

“Being on a small and sheltered man-made lake, the park’s cable tow system is not weather, tidal or swell condition dependant – ensuring a high-use schedule throughout the year where riders can be on the water with zero to minimal surface chop. The smoother the water, the more enjoyable and productive the rider’s experience - and there is even for the potential, subject to consents, for the lake to be geothermally heated, which would be a huge attraction to park users over winter.”

Blum said with Taupo Wake Park operating at close to capacity numbers on many days throughout the high and shoulder seasons – including school days - expansion of amenities was the biggest opportunity for taking the business forward to higher revenue levels.

“The lease agreement for the park encompasses nearly three hectares of land, of which the current lake and support services only utilise less than 25 percent. That leaves the opportunity of either expanding the existing lake’s size, or constructing another separate lake which would effectively double the park’s capacity,” he said.

“A bigger second lake could also support a wider range of aquatic activities – such as paddle boarding, kayaking, or an inflatable adventure activities structure.

“One of the attractions of any expansion of land use at the property is that the opportunity comes without any additional lease expenditure and marketing of the new activities could be simply bolted onto the existing channels supporting the wakeboarding and water-skiing services.”

Blum said Taupo Wake Park’s owner would look at undertaking a ‘hand-over’ transition for any potential purchase who was new to the recreational sporting sector. The business is on a lease at its Karetoto Road premises, currently running through to 2032, and paying annual rental of $12,394 plus GST. The property is zoned Commercial Tourist under the Taupo District Council plan.

Chattels included in the business for sale include the motorised cable tow system, jump ramps, wakeboard and water-ski hire equipment, and the company’s website and marketing collateral.

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