Historic Oamaru B&B on market
Oamaru architect John Meggett Forrester designed the house in 1914.
A piece of Oamaru’s Victorian history, combining old-world architecture with the warmth of southern hospitality within a bed and breakfast operation, is on the market.
“Local architect John Meggett Forrester designed the house in 1914,” says Sue Morton of Bayleys Timaru, who is accepting offers to purchase Forrester House at 5 Ure St, South Hill, Oamaru, until 4pm, September 30.
“Aged just 24, Forester took over the family’s architecture firm Forrester & Lemon in 1890, then creating many of the town’s beloved whitestone buildings,” Morton says.
“These included the Oamaru Opera House and St Lukes Anglican Church spire and chancel. The house bearing his name is designed in his own “inimitable style” and is distinct from other period buildings,” she says.
Sitting on a 1012sqm site, the freehold going concern trading as Forrester House features three upstairs bedrooms with ensuites and views to the harbour. Downstairs are three living spaces and a potential fourth bedroom, office or additional living space.
Although it retains much of the original facade – enhanced by bespoke furnishings like hand-printed wall-paper – the house’s plumbing, drainage, spouting and electrics have been fully updated. Reticulated gas adds comfort throughout.
Morton says two bedrooms are available for guests – the Napoleon and Antoinette. Both have a rack rate of $265 per night, have access to private bathrooms and views of the township and garden. It has a five-star rating on respected tourism website tripadvisor.com.
Forrester House has three bedrooms with harbour views.
“The property had attracted wide interest, including from existing commercial accommodation providers in the region, and potential buyers from further afield looking to take on a ‘lifestyle’ business,” says Morton.
“We have fielded inquiry from families, hoteliers and history buffs enamoured with the area.
“Located in the town centre, it’s close to major attractions including the public gardens, the blue penguin colony and the historic harbour.”
Forrester retired in 1931 and went on to serve as a borough councillor and mayor of the town until 1933.
“His legacy lives on through his celebrated architecture, a piece of which buyers can now possess for themselves,” Morton says.
She says Oamaru has an average stay-for-visitors of 1.53 nights which its tourism board is keen to grow.
“The gateway to scenic attractions in the greater Waitaki Valley, Oamaru was voted ‘New Zealand’s coolest” by the Lonely Planet travel guide, the town experienced a recent boost in visitors, recording 420,229 guest nights in the year-ending April 2016 - up 9.4 per cent from 2015).
Oamaru famously hosts New Zealand’s steampunk festival which features visions of a futuristic Victorian England run by steam-powered machinery.
The town is also at the southern end of the recently completed Alps 2 Ocean cycle trail – a 301km trail leading from Mt Cook to Oamaru.