Tirau tourist attraction for sale

5:00 AM Saturday March 11, 2017 True Commercial

Tirau’s Castle Pamela is among Waikato’s best-known tourist attractions. Photo / Supplied

A Waikato castle housing New Zealand’s biggest doll and toy collection has been placed on the market for sale.

The Castle Pamela in township of Tirau south of Hamilton is one of the region’s best-known tourist attractions.

The 825sq m property sits on 2.88ha over two titles overlooking rolling countryside and is being marketed for sale by Bayleys Hamilton through private treaty, with offers closing on April 6.

Bayleys agent Blair Hutcheson says the sale is an opportunity for someone to own their own castle — with moat — and develop and operate a landmark tourist destination.

“The toy collection is the largest of its kind in Australasia and includes numerous rarities from the 19th century, as well as limited edition All Blacks dolls and classic Fun Ho! Toys from the 1930s,” he says.

“There is the potential to purchase not just the land and buildings, but the doll and toy museum business and chattels too.

“The museum is a turnkey operation, although there are numerous opportunities to grow revenue streams, including expanding its potential as a large-scale hospitality and function venue.

“The castle contains multiple function rooms, a cafe and dining area, and additional floor space for retail ventures. An investor could lease out the business operations to a tenant, or take charge of it themselves.”

The castle was built 17 years ago by Kelvin and Pamela Baker and has attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors. They chose the location for its picturesque setting, closeness to State Highway 1 and placement in the “golden tourism triangle of Auckland, Rotorua and Waitomo.

On the ground floor, are a dining hall and cafe, an adjoining room for the doll and toy museum and a separate room, named, The Stag Hall.

Two additional spaces are not currently open to the public: one originally designed as a commercial kitchen and an additional breakout room presently used for storage.

A yet-to-be-completed mezzanine area is designed to include toilet and bathroom facilities with three separate rooms and balcony to the fully enclosed courtyard. One of the castle’s turrets has a stairway to a viewing platform.

The grounds include landscaped gardens, a moat with goldfish, extensive parking and a paved outdoor dining area.

True Commercial - Tirau Castle - interior .jpg

The ground floor houses a dining hall and cafe, an adjoining room for the doll and toy museum and a separate room, named “The Stag Hall”. Photo / Supplied

Also included in the sale is a 241sq m house with three bedrooms and an adjoining large double garage-workshop.

Hutcheson says the property presents numerous opportunities.

“A buyer could either lease out the business operations to a tenant, or take charge of it themselves. With two land titles, there is the prospect of developing the residential component or on-selling the separate vacant residential lots.

“The vendors recently gained a resource consent to use the premises as a large-scale hospitality and function venue. The castle could cater to groups of up to 300 and host a diverse range of events including business conferences, weddings, a different dining experience or corporate team-building activities.”

Hutcheson sees scope for a developer to capitalise on the castle’s reputation and architecture by turning it into an accommodation venue, such as a luxury resort-style lodge.

“Either would meet the growing demand for quality accommodation from increasing tourist numbers, as well as the ongoing trend for the New Zealand population to move southward,” he says.

Such opportunities are in keeping with both the South Waikato Council’s long-term economic strategy — to assist existing business and to grow visitor expenditure to $1.35 billion by 2025 — as well as the Waikato Tourism’s priority to find new and compelling tourism opportunities.

“The support of both these initiatives make the property an attractive proposition,” Hutcheson says.

“Tirau is a popular stop for visitors travelling South from Auckland and North from Taupo and Rotorua.

“The township is close to many tourist highlights, including the Hobbiton set used in Sir Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films, as well as natural attractions such as the Okoroire Hot Springs, Te Waihou walkway and the Waikato River trails.

“With visitor numbers to New Zealand at historic levels, those in Tirau’s tourism and hospitality industry are well placed to take advantage of the boom.”