One stop resort plus vines, church

By Colin Taylor

From conferences to weddings, dining to tennis, there's something for everyone at the well-equipped Huka Falls hospitality and tourism complex, which is on the market

Taupo's Huka Falls 3.8ha resort complex is  on the market along with a winery, vineyards and restaurant.
Taupo's Huka Falls 3.8ha resort complex is on the market along with a winery, vineyards and restaurant.

Taupo's Huka Falls 3.8ha resort complex is on the market along with a winery, vineyards and restaurant.

Huka Falls Resort, a 3.8ha hospitality and tourism complex with leased accommodation villas, a conference and function centre, vineyard, winery, licensed restaurant, a church and leisure facilities, is on the market.

"This is the Central North Island's only vertically integrated hospitality business encompassing viticulture, food and beverage service, entertainment and conference premises, and large scale commercial accommodation," says Paul Dixon, manager of the hospitality, tourism and leisure division at Bayleys' Auckland central office, who is handling the sale through a tender process closing on May 15.

The property was developed about 22 years ago and has:

•A 780sq m conference and function centre licensed to cater for up to 150 guests in a variety of room configurations.

•A 250sq m 140-seat licensed restaurant and dining room with a commercial kitchen.

•27 privately owned studios, one and two-bedroom villas leased back to the resort.

•500sq m of pinot noir vines and a boutique 198sq m winery with tasting room and function facilities.

•A consecrated church.

•A full range of resort-styled leisure facilities including tennis and petanque courts, and a swimming pool.

Dixon says the resort's occupancy is split between corporate functions during the week and leisure group bookings at the weekend - most using the resort as an all-in-one wedding venue.

"The various hospitality amenities within the greater resort allow for the provision of simultaneous function hosting," he says.

"At one end of the scale, the venue can be exclusively booked for sole use, while at the other end it permits the parallel hosting of several groups in the conference rooms, another group in the restaurant, another in the winery, and even another group in the church.

"Being in the virtual centre of the North Island, Taupo benefits from being equidistant from Auckland and Wellington, and is easily accessible from Hawkes Bay and the Bay of Plenty.

"For companies with a strong North Island presence, Taupo is the location of choice for accessibility - a fact that was recognised very early on by Huka Falls' original developer who had seen an identical trend emerge in the United Kingdom."

The Huka Falls Resort business employs 12 full time equivalent staff, with other part-time and casual staff.

"The business and its management team are well connected in the region's tourism sector - often referring accommodation bookings on to larger hotels when operating at capacity, or catering on-site for larger functions booking for its location."

Dixon says the multiple revenue sources from the business ensure that complementary activities can be run under one umbrella or as stand-alone entities.

"The function and dining facilities, along with the strong demand for wedding groups using the chapel throughout the year, ensure a guaranteed demand for the accommodation services," he says.

"The vines were originally planted and the winery was established, to be self-sufficient with all pinot noir produced under the Huka Falls Resort label consumed on the premises and no need for marketing or distribution channels.

"However, demand in recent years has far exceeded supply, as the vines are predominantly for aesthetic purposes making for great wedding or function backdrops."

The winery also had "a beautiful function room ambience" and the business made more money from operating it as a venue rather than as a manufacturing operation.

But the vines and the winemaking equipment were intact, so wine production could be started again with minimal effort.

Huka Falls Resort is zoned "low density residential" - allowing for subdivision and the sale of surplus land.

Dixon says the zoning also permits the addition of more accommodation structures in the existing villa style or as terraced units.

The swathe of landscaped gardens and open spaces within Huka Falls Resort allows for conference team-building activities such as clay bird shooting, archery, orienteering and cycling.

"Many of the other accommodation providers in the area don't have the space for such activities, which gives Huka Falls Resort a key point of difference."

- NZ Herald

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