Paihia’s ‘pre-eminent backpacker’ for sale

2:15 PM Friday September 15, 2017 Paul Charman

The 80-bed quality accommodation business is at 14 Kings Rd, Paihia. Photo / Supplied

Saltwater Lodge in Paihia — the country’s first ever Five Star Qualmark-rated backpacker — is for sale as a freehold going concern business, plus land and buildings.

Countrywide Real Estate agent Stephanie Lucas says the 80-bed quality accommodation business plays a leading role in the tourism sector at the gateway to the Bay of Islands.

It is a multi-award-winner, having regularly been named top backpacker in its catagory, including for 2017.

Saltwater is at 14 Kings Rd, along with Salty Bar, which the vendors are concurrently selling their investment in, as the bar is leased to a third party.

Tenders will close October 25, unless the lodge is sold earlier by negotiation.

“Offering quality accommodation for ‘glampackers’ Saltwater Lodge stands out among the half dozen backpacker hostels nearby,” says Lucas.

“It has become leading accommodation provider of this type in the area and to this day retains a Five-Star ranking, being the only lodge in Paihia to offer all ensuite rooms.

“In my view, its reputation for quality, friendliness and value-for-money easily surpasses the standard fare at Paihia.”

Lucas says the town is the focal point for the Bay of Islands, one of the strongest growing tourism destinations in the country.

Whereas traditionally international travellers have arrived in Auckland and headed to Rotorua and the South Island, increasing numbers include the Bay of Islands in their itinerary, she points out.

“Closeness to Auckland makes Paihia an ideal holiday destination now, however road improvements will make the journey even easier and quicker.”

Lucas says options to develop a backpacker businesses in Kings Rd are now limited. “There is no more land available for building in the area, while other hostels are smaller and in some cases in need of refurbishment.”

True Commercial - 14 Kings Rd%2c Paihia - Saltwater Lodge - rooms and balconies.jpg

Level One has two six-bed dorms, while Level Two has 10 spacious rooms. Photo / Supplied

The layout is:

  • Level One: two six-bed dorms, plus seven four-bed dorms - all of them with ensuites.
  • Level two: 10 spacious rooms with Californian king-size or twin beds, plus bunk bed, ensuite bathroom,TV, fridge, tea and coffee-making facilities and linen included.

Guest facilities include: a spacious communal lounge and dining area with TV; a large fully equipped kitchen; outdoor dining areas with barbeque facilities; disabled facilities; guest laundry; free off-street parking; free tennis, bikes, darts and table tennis.

The lodge has a full booking service for a long list of tourist activities: swimming with dolphins, cruises, day trips, fishing, sailing, kayaking, parasailing, horse riding, golf, bush walks, vehicular and passenger ferries to the islands. Also the newly opened Waitangi Mountain Bike Park is a welcome, year-round, free activity and a huge drawcard for the Bay.

Lucas says the lodge is purpose-built and of a modern standard, while being about 50m to beach and a few-minutes’ walk to bars, shops, trips and so forth.

Also provided are female-only rooms on request, outdoor dining/barbeque facilities, and night-time security patrols.

Lucas says over the last two-and-a-half years there’s been a major refurbishment and upgrading programme.

“For example, commercial, coin-operated machines have been added to the guest laundry and large machines for the lodge laundry. Californian King beds are used in each of the top floor’s 10 rooms. These split to twins depending on demand. There’s new lounge furniture in the common room area; new commercial refrigeration, oven and hob facilities in the kitchen and several other significant improvements.

“The website ( has been completely redesigned to develop a strong online presence for the brand, bringing increased direct bookings,” says Lucas.

  • Salty Bar is leased, to a third party, earning net annual rent of $51,000 net, plus outgoings. This lease commenced in February 2005, for an initial five-year term, with four rights of renewal of five-years-each. Final expiry will be in January 2030.