Kingfish lodge is a big catch

5:00 AM Saturday August 29, 2015 Colin Taylor

Exterior view of Kingfish Lodge from across the water. Photo/Kellie Extance Photography.

A well-known Northland luxury lodge that has served as the private escape for a number of movie stars over the years, including Robin Williams, Michael Douglas, Tom Cruise, and Nicole Kidman has been put on the market for sale.

“Kingfish Lodge in Whangaroa Harbour offers its guests seclusion and tranquillity in a beautiful setting within an unspoilt marine environment,” says Michael Osborne, hospitality specialist with Link Business. Osborne is marketing the freehold land, buildings and going concern business for sale by tender closing at 4 pm on September 28 at the agency’s Great South Rd, Ellerslie office – unless its sells earlier by negotiation.   

“The undulating 11.8 hectare property on 13 titles is amenable to a wide scope of entrepreneurial ventures including converting it into a luxury or eco retreat, a health spa, retaining it as an exclusive getaway or simply purchasing for private use,” Osborne says.

The lodge encompasses luxurious apartment-styled waterfront guest rooms, a restaurant and bar, private beach, boat and jetty. Included in the sale are five swing moorings and three Mediterranean moorings along with the lease of a dedicated wharf at Whangaroa.

“We expect much interest from New Zealand based investors as well as from off-shore interests,” says Osborne.

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Accommodation suite at Kingfish Lodge depicting Whangaroa Harbour View - Photo/Kellie Extance Photography.

Accessible only by water and air, Kingfish Lodge is about 10 minutes by boat from the small settlement of Whangaroa which is a 3.5 hour drive from Auckland or a short drive from Kerikeri airport which is served by five daily flights from Auckland.

Osborne says the vendors Jeremy and Jacqui Elvidge may consider a trade of commercial property and they may also consider a partial sale of the property. “However this is specifically subject to negotiation.”

The wharf at Whangaroa Cove, which is included in the sale, incurred damage during a recent storm and is subject to an insurance funded repair that the vendors are currently negotiating. Remedial work is due to take place in the summer months.

Osborne says there are three categories of accommodation at Kingfish – seven Cove View rooms, five Waterfront rooms, and one CO’s suite.

The Cove View rooms are positioned above the lodge restaurant and bar with views over to Kingfish Cove, Whangaroa Harbour and Headlands. Recently refurbished, the room have

super king-sized beds, new ensuite bathrooms with high pressure shower, a bar, fridge, tea and coffee making facilities, LCD televisions with SKY access.

The Waterfront rooms have uninterrupted views of Kingfish Cove and Whangaroa Harbour. “These are spacious and have been refurbished to create clean, simple and contemporary interiors that fit with the natural beauty of the setting,” says Osborne.  

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Vendor Jeremy Elvidge in the Kingfish Lodge lounge - Photo/Kellie Extance Photography.

Various configurations sleep from one to four guests and the Waterfront rooms feature decks leading to the garden and waterfront.

The CO’s suite was formerly the site of the Commanding Officer during WWII military occupation and more recently the lodge owner’s personal residence.

Osborne says the suite “offers incredible privacy and world-class views and is the best that Kingfish has to offer”.

Recently refurbished, the suite features a master bedroom with super king bed, walk in wardrobe, small office, separate shower and his/hers basins..

Kingfish restaurant is open for both lunch and dinner to guests as well as day visitors who take advantage of the reserved moorings.

“The Elvidges have already taken forward bookings for the Christmas and New Year 2016 period so a purchaser will have a head start on reservations for this peak period,” Osborne says. “If the purchaser requires vacant possession, the earliest date, this would be possible is 1 April 1 next year.”

The Elvidges say their purchase of Kingfish Lodge 2012 gave them an escape from the turmoil of post-quake Christchurch.

“What started as a way out of the red zone in the form of a cash settlement from the insurance company became a labour of love,” says Jeremy Elvidge. “We wanted a hands-on project..”

The “project” included re-piling the foundations under the bar area, replacing the “hotchpotch” roof of the main building,  re-plumbing and rewiring the whole complex, installing LED lighting and Econergy heat pumps.

“Jacqui tackled the interior décor, breathing new life into the jaded accommodation and communal spaces and transforming them into the simplistic elegance of a colonial outpost, but with a comfortable, contemporary feel,” Jeremy Elvidge says. “Modern tiled bathrooms with good water pressure were a must, and are often what tips the balance for a booking inquiry.”

The couple used local trades and skills wherever possible. Most of the custom made furniture came from Kaiwaka Darfield and home furnishings from Paihia.

Natural rocks protect the waterfront bank and a water farm with 220 cubic metres of storage was installed for irrigation and fire fighting using a series of Gulf War surplus PVC bladders hidden in the bush-line behind the buildings. Natural springs on the property provide drinking water for the lodge, and a new gravity-feed system provides an abundant water source for other uses.  

A flat strip of land bulldozed as a fire break in the 1940s by the resident military contingent has been earmarked for construction – either for row of cabins or new staff accommodation to free up the existing two-storey officers’ quarters for redevelopment into a brace of new luxury apartments.