A $5m Wakatipu gem comes complete with waterfall

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A secluded property with one of the Wakatipu’s most outstanding natural features is being marketed for $5 million plus GST. 

Waterfall Park is in a horseshoe-shaped canyon off the Lake Hayes-Arrowtown Road. 

Thirty metres above, on the crest of a spectacular Mill Creek waterfall, the area is surrounded on three sides by Millbrook Resort. 

The portion of Mill Creek below the waterfall is renowned as a brown trout spawning bed. 

The property, on three adjacent titles, is 14.7 hectares and has been owned by South Island Asian investor Pan Tai Holdings since 1993. 

The main building is a somewhat dilapidated A-frame-like structure which formerly operated as a function centre. 

Several years ago it was the base for a short-lived Maori cultural activity, Haka Pa Queenstown. 

One of the property’s main selling points is a special Waterfall Park resort zoning in the district plan, similar to Millbrook Resort and Jack’s Point. 

The zoning provides for up to 100 residential units. 

There’s also provision for a village centre area, where the main building is, that allows for amenities like bars, restaurants, theatre, conference, cultural and resort facilities. 

However an elevated part of the property overlooking Lake Hayes – the latest title to be added – appears to be zoned rural general. 

Waterfall Park’s listing agent, Bayleys Queenstown owner David Murray, describes it as “one of the most exciting properties I’ve seen in 40 years selling real estate”. 

“It’s remarkably unique from every angle – the zoning, the location, the shape of the land. 

“It has the potential for intensive use or just one grand estate with perhaps various out-buildings. 

“I think it’s a property to fall in love with – somebody’s going to take it on as a special project.” 

Murray says he’s already fielding overseas enquiries. 

“Someone will turn its apparent challenge into a strength.” 

Queenstowner Kevin Ritchie – Waterfall Park’s original developer – is someone taking an interest in the sale.
He bought the then four-hectare property off Wilf Cotton in 1971 for $8000. 

Ritchie says he didn’t know about the waterfall till he was walking above it with his fiancee. 

“I said, ‘I can hear rapids’, and climbed down to have a look – the waterfall was covered in big willow trees.” 

Ritchie says he borrowed $7200 from his fiancee to buy it. He put a road into the property and put the A-frame-like building up in the late ‘70s. Ritchie ran it as a function centre and museum till selling the property in 1984 for $300,000. 

Seeing the property now selling for $5m “makes me laugh”, he says. 

“If I was young I’d be annoyed but what use is it now? 

“I’m 81 on Saturday and staying alive is the main thing.”