Whangaruru Beachfront Camp could be ‘developed’

10:00 AM Wednesday September 30, 2015 Colin Taylor

An aerial view of the Whangaruru Beachfront Camp and some of the 59.7 ha of coastal land it occupies.

Northland’s pristine Whangaruru Beachfront Camp has been placed on the market for sale along with the 59.7 hectares of coastal land it occupies.

The freehold land, buildings and business featured in Bayleys’ latest Total Property magazine are being offered for sale at auction on October 28 through Bayleys Whangarei. Bayleys says its likely property developers will be eyeing up the potential conversion of the big beachfront site into an exclusive holiday home development.

Overlooking the golden sands of Parutahi Beach, just north of Whangarei, the business caters for several levels of holiday visitors. At peak-use periods such as Christmas and New Year, it accommodates holidaymakers in four bach-type motel units, five basic cabins, 42 powered caravan and tents sites, and 40 non-powered tent sites.

The property has a camp office/administration building and a separate two level building that houses the on-site manager’s accommodation on the upper level, comprising a four-bedroom home with a new kitchen. The building’s ground level contains the utilities encompassing a communal kitchen, boiler room, and toilet facilities.

The waterfront block of land is zoned Countryside and Coastal Countryside Environments in the Whangarei District Plan and consists of one single title. However, Bayleys says that Whangarei District Council has issued a resource consent for the subdivision of the land into four smaller titles.

“The land has been surveyed and the resulting title applications are ready to be lodged with Whangarei District Council. Under this plan, Lot 1 of 12.83 hectares would house the campground business – with vehicle access through two sides of the property which overlooks the beach.

“The remaining three sites on the hills overlooking the campground would all become coastal lifestyle block sized parcels under the Whangarei Coastal Management Strategy Structure Plan. Lot 2 would be of 3.87 hectares, Lot 3 would be of 17.27 hectares and Lot 4 would be of 25.79 hectares.”

Ross Blomfield of Bayleys Whangaruru who is marketing the property says the land and buildings have a 2012 council valuation of $3.7 million. “However, it is much harder to place a market value on the site now because the campground is being sold as a going concern business with a proven six-figure revenue stream”

Blomfield says the Whangaruru Beachfront Camp turned over in the region of $220,000 in the 2014/15 financial year, and it is forecast to turnover more than $250,000 in the current financial year.

“The camp already has a near capacity number of bookings over the Christmas and New Year period, with strong reservations throughout the remainder of summer leading right up to Easter,” he says.

Whangaruru Beachfront Camp, Northland - entrance.jpg

Entrance to Whangaruru Beachfront Camp in Northland.

“The nature and aesthetic feel of the Whangaruru Beachfront Camp is very much what could be described as ‘traditional Kiwiana’ – set up for tents, caravans, motorhomes, and budget-level bunk cabins.”

“There is the opportunity here to ratchet up the accommodation rating a star or two through the addition of a somewhat more salubrious standards of lodging. This could be achieved with the construction of a serviced apartment block, or stand-alone boutique chalets with a higher than existing standard of fit-out and amenities.

“There is also the potential to establish a ‘glamping’ option,” Blomfield says.

Glamping is the term used for upmarket camping – erecting large luxury tents that contain such home comforts as big screen TVs with SKY connections, chef-size barbecue units, cocktail refrigerators, and king-size beds with padded mattresses topped with cotton sheets and duvets.

“With the location, views and surroundings offered by the Whangaruru Beachfront Camp’s seaside position, it would be relatively simple for a new operator to achieve a three-star or even a four-star Qualmark accommodation rating..”

Blomfield says the campground generates most of the revenue for the landholding but, in addition, some of the hill country overlooking the lower reaches has been leased to a local farmer for cattle grazing.

He says the Whangarei Coastal Management Strategy Structure Plan identifies about 2.5 hectares of Whangaruru campground property that is considered appropriate for a large-lot residential development which may allow for 10 to 15 lots of around 2000 square metre on an “un-sewered” basis.

“Alternatively, up to 20 lots of 1000 square metres may be possible if the development is sewered. Another option could be to allow the development of two lots of 10 hectares if discretionary planning is approved.”

Blomfield cites a Government report Review of Camping Opportunities in New Zealand compiled by the Department of Conservation, as saying that increasing land values in coastal areas have resulted in a number of commercial holiday parks and camping grounds being sold over the past decade with the sites being developed for other uses.