Hospitality spot near Pancake Rocks

4:54 PM Friday July 20, 2018 Paul Charman

The much-photographed pioneer horse-and-barrel monument outside Punakaiki Tavern’s front door. Photo / Supplied

A hospitality venue synonymous with the ancient coastal formations known as the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks and Blowholes is up for sale.

The geological formations on the South Island’s rugged West Coast are just 20 minutes’ walk from the Punakaiki Tavern, Bistro & Accommodation, on State Highway 6.

Brokers describe the operation, now on the market, as a pioneering hospitality entity in one of this country’s fastest growing “off-the-beaten-track” tourism destinations.

Its buildings and business are being marketed for sale by negotiation through Bayleys Nelson.

The tavern was built 20 years ago by present owners Ian and Lorraine Ryder. It sits on 2485sq m of freehold land, and includes the 416sq m tavern premises, a 226sq m accommodation block and a 196sq m owner/manager’s dwelling. The tavern and house were built in in 1997; accommodation amenities were added in 2002.

Bayleys salesperson Reece Forbes says the multi-revenue stream facility was established in an era when, the Pancake Rocks and Blowholes were about the area’s only claim to fame.

Additional tourism activities have become popular in the area but that wasn’t the foreseen during the 1990s, he points out.

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The establishment – identified by a red border - is on State Highway 6, close to Pancake Rocks and opposite Paparoa National Park. Photo / Supplied

“When Ian and Lorraine first lodged the plans they were laughed at by a regional business development agency people, who considered them mad for planning to build a full-scale hospitality venture in the town. That just made them all the more determined to succeed,” Forbes says.

“But their concept has proven correct. Off the back of the growth of low-impact eco-tourism in New Zealand, visitor numbers to the Punakaiki Rocks and Blowholes have increased steadily over the past two decades.

"As well, more hikers are using Paparoa National Park, which is directly opposite Punakaiki Tavern, Bistro & Accommodation, just across State Highway 6. You can see the park boundary from the tavern’s beer garden.

“In the other direction, just a couple of hundred metres down the side road, is Punakaiki Beach,” says Forbes.

“Next year the Pike29 Memorial Track will open within the Paparoa National Park.

“Featuring alpine tops, limestone karst landscapes and thriving rainforests, this walk will provide breathtaking views.

“It has been designed to honour of the men who lost their lives in the Pike River Mine tragedy in 2010.

“The 10.8km spur track will be the first purpose-built shared-use Great Walk to be constructed by the Department of Conservation, and is expected to attract thousands of riders and hikers annually.”

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Punakaiki Tavern has a pioneer New Zealand-themed 118-seat bar. Photo / Supplied

The tavern operates seven days a week, with its eatery’s opening hours spanning breakfast through to dinner.

It is staffed by 14 full-time-equivalent employees across the food and beverage service, cooking, back-office administration, and housekeeping departments.

Chattels and assets to be sold with the property and business, include:

  • a full commercial-grade kitchen featuring ovens, hobs, grillers, fryers, walk-in freezer and refrigerator, dish-washer/drying equipment, and stainless-steel benching;
  • a pioneer New Zealand-themed 118-seat bar fit-out and adjoining restaurant area heated by an energy-efficient log burner;
  • an office and staff room;
  • all bedding, kitchenette, and lounge furnishings in the motel units;
  • a landscaped outdoor area featuring walkways leading to a grassed garden bar space;
  • the two-bedroom owner/managers home on the property; and
  • the much-photographed and high profile colonial pioneer horse and beer barrel-stacked cart monument outside the tavern’s front door facing directly on to State Highway 6.

“Most guests staying in the accommodation units buy at least two meals from the tavern and bistro — usually the dinner and breakfast,” Forbes says.

“The level of service offerings across both the hospitality and accommodation revenue streams at Punakaiki Tavern, Bistro & Accommodation has been well-honed.

“In addition to capturing a healthy portion of the tourist market, the ‘country pub’ business is also the town’s ‘locals’ bar.”