Lochmara Lodge in Queen Charlotte Sound near Picton is on the market for sale.
Award-winning Marlborough Sounds eco-lodge is on the market following more than 20 years development by its owners.
Locals Shayne Olsen and Louise Bright have hung the “for sale” sign out on Lochmara Lodge in Queen Charlotte Sound, a 20-minute boat taxi ride from Picton at the top of the South Island.
The eco-lodge buildings and business includes one of New Zealand’s only two underwater aquatic observatories.The other is in Milford Sound.
The pair bought the Marlborough Sounds property more than 20 years ago, and then invested in pest control and habitat planting before opening a backpackers in 1998. That was followed by a studio and gallery and then a Wildlife Recovery Centre in 2005. Two years later chalets and a restaurant were built.
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The property includes several buildings and 4392 hectares of freehold land and is across the Queen Charlotte Sound from Picton, where the ferries between the North Island and South Island dock and cruise ships visit.
Fourteen chalets and studio and one bedroom units can accommodate up to 40 guests a night while the cafe-restaurant can accommodate up to 70 guests for breakfasts, lunch and dinner, catering for day trippers and groups who arrive in their own boats or on the lodges’s scheduled water taxi from Picton.
Nightly rates at the chalets range from $245 to $280 and at the units from $100 to $198.
The owners established over the years eco-tourism activities, working with the Department of Conservation to run wildlife rehabilitation and breeding activities and supporting the Marlborough Sounds Wildlife Recovery Centre founded in 2007, real estate marketing agents Bayleys Marlborough said.
The centre has an endangered species breeding programme to help grow local species like geckos and kakariki parakeets. Several walks wind around through the bush and around the hills near the lodge for guests and members of the public to use.
In 2010 the lodge was award the Department of Conservation in Action award for the owners’ contribution to conservation and the environment. And in 2012 Lochmara Lodge was the overall supreme winner at the Marlborough Chamber of Commerce business awards.
Bayleys Marlborough real estate agent Kurt Lindsay said there had been good interest in the property and business from all over the country.
Because the property included the coast it was deemed sensitive land under Overseas Investment Act legislation, he said.
Investors, tourism operators and mums and dads had inquired about the property and several information packs had been sent out including financial information which required those asking for it to sign confidentiality agreements.
The owners placed the property on the market in 2014 but did not sell it at the time.
Out the front of the property was a sandy beach and commercial wharf while much of Lochmara’s land was covered in native bush.
The property included the lodge, a bath house, a manager’s residence, staff quarters, a boatshed for storing water sports equipment, a replica high country musterer’s hut and replica Maori whare, and a 160 square metre aviary, a hen house, bee apiary and enclosed gecko shelter.
The lodge also had consent for 16 permanent moorings in the bay for boaties to tie up at.
It had a Gold enviro-rating from Qualmark. Water supply was drawn from from two spring-fed streams and its waste water and sewerage system were connected to an in-ground tank system.
Tenders for the lodge close on February 12.