Country pub with cycle trail ‘spin-off’

2:21 PM Friday November 10, 2017 Paul Charman

The Coach House country pub, by the hugely successful Hauraki Rail Trail cycle network, has two bars and a cafe-style restaurant. Photo / Supplied

A country pub adjacent to the hugely successful national cycle network has gone on the market — just as a new spur to the track has opened up a few kilometres away.

The Coach House hotel, in the Coromandel township of Puriri, sits upon the Thames-Paeroa link of the Hauraki Rail Trail, which opened in 2012.

It rivals the Otago Rail Trail as New Zealand’s most used tourist cycling amenity.

In five short years the Hauraki Rail Trail has continually expanded — driven by high visitor numbers from across The Golden Triangle population matrix of Tauranga, Hamilton and Auckland.

This month, a new 55km Kaiaua/Thames link was added.

The Coach House hotel is about 250m from the off-road cycle track, with the new Kaiaua/Thames spur making Puriri township a “pass-through” point rather than a termination or commencement destination.

The property at 8865 Paeroa-Kopu Rd — also known as State Highway 26 — traces its roots back to 1881. At that time the Coromandel was prospering because of kauri logging and goldmining, while to the south Karangahake Gorge residents were flush thanks to gold and road building.

The hotel was built as a coach stop on the Thames to Paeroa/Thames to Waihi/Thames to Te Aroha routes. Horses were stabled at the rear and in a neighbouring paddock.

Sitting on 3165sq m of freehold land, the Coach House land, buildings and hospitality business will be sold at auction on December 6, being jointly marketed by Bayleys Thames and Bayleys Hamilton.

The property features in Bayleys’ latest Total Property portfolio magazine.

Puriri Bar.jpg

Two traditional Kiwi country style bar areas serve short-order bar food like gourmet burgers and chips. Photo / Supplied

Bayleys Hamilton salesman Josh Smith says the 450sq m building contains five double bedrooms, a cafe-style restaurant, and two traditional Kiwi country style bar areas — one a “public” bar and the other area known as the “ladies lounge”. This arrangement dates to the early 1900s when women were not allowed in the male-only bastion of the main bar.

Smith says the amenities have been substantially refurbished and modernised over the past two years — with a more family-orientated clientele now stopping in for meals and drinks.

“Like many country hotels throughout New Zealand, the Coach House has transitioned from serving a purely gumboot and singlet-wearing local rural clientele, into a destination venue,” he says.

“That said, the pub has remained true to its loyal customers who have enjoyed the brighter new format and wider range of both food and beverage options, as well as entertainment ranging from the traditional pool table through to big-screen TVs showing sporting events.”

A commercial-grade kitchen in the Coach House serves both gastro pub meals such as dukkha-crusted prawns or coconut curry mussels in the main restaurant, through to short-order bar food such as gourmet burgers and chips in both bars.

Puriri Restaurant.jpg

The restaurant serves many a hearty meal to cycle trail travellers. Photo / Supplied

Cooking equipment in the kitchen features a six-burner gas hob, deep fryer and grillers — both under a stainless-steel extraction range — a walk-in chiller unit, and commercial-grade dish washer/rinser.

Davis, who works for Bayleys Thames, sees an opportunity for either an investor to buy the premises and lease out the food, beverage and accommodation business to an operator, or for a hospitality-focused owner-occupier to take on the premises lock, stock and barrel and expand the range and standard of offerings.

He says that while the prominently positioned pub has undergone internal enhancement in the past couple of years, there remains opportunity to add more value and service offerings on the site.

“At the side of the property is an expansive flat grassed area, where the original coach horses were allowed to graze, and this could be developed into a camping amenity through the installation of motorhome power cabling, or an ablution block to service tent campers.

This would have the benefit of driving business to the adjacent restaurant and bar.”