Cycle trail may be homestead money spinner

4:55 PM Friday June 19, 2015 Colin Taylor

Frontage view of Craigellachie villa homestead in the Waitaki Valley settlement of Otiake.

A regal South Island homestead in Waitaki, north Otago, with a link to a famous Scottish whisky distillery, has been placed on the market at a time when the recent opening of a nearby cycle trail presents tourism business possibilities. 

Craigellachie was built in 1899 by a Scottish migrant who chose the name as it fondly reminded him of a place in northern Scotland. Meaning ‘rocky hill’, Craigellachie is at the heart of Scotland’s malt whisky trail. The village sits above the rivers Spey and Fiddich – the latter’s valley or ‘glen’ giving its name to one of the country’s most famous whiskies, Glenfiddich.

Easily accessible from Timaru, Dunedin and Christchurch airports, the New Zealand namesake is located at 399 Otiake Rd in the Waitaki Valley settlement of Otiake.

Built on 9.7 hectares, Craigellachie villa is surrounded by majestic grounds featuring original rose gardens, a running brook and unobstructed views of Mt Domet and across the Waitaki valley.

“The property is on the doorstep of one of New Zealand’s most popular cycle tracks which have become a booming tourist market,” says Sue Morton of Bayleys Timaru, who is marketing the property for sale by auction on July 16 following a decision by its Auckland-based owners who have now decided to cash up their investment.

“In addition to being a private home, Craigellachie has operated a commercial business, renting for $900 a week as short-term accommodation, and most recently as a long-term tenancy,” Morton says.

“Situated in the heart of the Waitaki Valley, surrounded by farms, vineyards and the Waitaki River, Craigellachie is a grand homestead in a private, idyllic setting.

“The 220 sq m, four bedroom house is built from Oamaru stone and features an internal stone archway, 3.5 metre high ceilings, original fireplaces, kauri floors, formal dining room and separate living room.”

Morton says the entrance to the property is via a picturesque tree-lined driveway.

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Craigellachie villa pictured within its Waitaki Valley setting

“The grounds are as equally as grand as the building and reflect the historic character of the property.”

They feature the original rose garden and easy-care gardens, as well as extensive macrocarpa shelter belts, full fencing, a woolshed, along with several outbuildings including a stone cottage/barn doubling as a garage. A 10,000-litre water tank has recently been fitted with a new pump.

“This property has huge untapped potential for development, with its setting, size and location well-suited to commercial enterprise or as a private residence,” says Morton.

“Among the opportunities for a new owner are cultivating the property into a full-time accommodation business such as a lodge or B&B, a wedding and function venue, artistic retreat, day spa, homestay, farmland for grazing or calf rearing, or as a grand private residence.”

Morton says Craigellachie’s location on the doorstep of world famous cycling trail Alps 2 Ocean, makes it ideally-placed to cater to the growing market for accommodation.

“More than 10,000 walkers and cyclists each year are estimated to pass along the spectacular four-to-six day track from Mt Cook, past lakes and rivers and finishing at the ocean in Oamaru.

“The opening of the trail in 2013 has seen visitor numbers through the area grow dramatically, increasing demand for service businesses including accommodation.”

Craigellachie is situated on the doorstep of section seven of the cycle trail between Kurow and Duntroon and would be an ideal choice for visitors seeking somewhere to stay after a long day of cycling.

“It’s also beside the Waitaki River and State Highway 83, linking Omarama, Aviemore, Duntroon and Georgetown, which receives a high volume of passing traffic,” Morton says.

A recent report by the Government’s Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment noted the huge economic benefits which cycle trails such as Alps 2 Ocean have delivered to provincial New Zealand.

The report highlighted that respondents visiting cycle trail regions “only or mainly because of the cycle trails” spent an average of between $131 and $176 per person per day – with 20 per cent of participating businesses involved with the routes indicating they had expanded since the opening of the cycle trail in their region.

“More than a third of business survey participants indicated they had seen an increase in the number of customers served by their business, with flowon effects in business income/turnover and business expenditure, but also in profit,” Morton says citing the Government report. The positive economic impact was most often seen by businesses located around the cycle trails.

Morton says Craigellachie would be perfectly suited to a couple or family wanting to take over a home and business with huge growth potential, while enjoying the flexible lifestyle of a private, rural location.

“The property is strategically placed to benefit from the proven market of the booming cycle trail market and represents huge potential for further development,” she says.