Dreaming of escaping the rat-race?
Then Halfway Bay Station could be for you, with its gorgeous lakefront land lying nestled among Queenstown’s snow-capped mountains and giving access to world class fly-fishing and heli-skiing.
Yet, before you reach for your cheque book, you might need to try winning one – or maybe three – Lotto grand jackpots first.
That’s because selling agents Sotheby’s International Realty were expecting buyers to put up offers of more than $50 million for the high country farm.
For that kind of cash, however, the farm came with 18,000ha of pastoral lease, including its own towering mountains, four separate valleys and seven kilometres of shore front land on Lake Wakatipu.
Twenty-three kilometres of the Lochy River – a world-renowned fly-fishery flowing with rainbow trout – also passed through the station.
It even has its own hydro-electric system generating electricity from a river for the farm.
What it doesn’t have, however, is road access.
The only way onto the farm that was by a nine-minute helicopter ride from Queenstown’s airport or boat across Lake Wakatipu.
Sotheby’s agent Matt Finnigan said the farm’s sale was effectively a “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity for one of New Zealand’s super rich.
“Large, undisturbed high country landscapes around lakes are very limited anyway, but then you get to Queenstown and we have no more than a handful,” he said.
“They very seldom change hands.”
The farm would most likely be snapped up as a hidden retreat for a very wealthy Kiwi citizen or resident or syndicate of buyers.
Foreign buyers would likely find it very hard to gain approval from the Overseas Investment Office to make the purchase.
And while most sales of elite high country stations typically take place privately rather than on the open market, Halfway Bay Station was being marketed for sale publicly.
Finnigan said it was probably one of the most impressive high country farms near Queenstown to be put publically on sale in the last 20-30 years
“To have something that large, that private, that close to a resort town – it puts it right up there in desirability,” he said.
Like other grand stations, most of Halfway Bay Station’s land was subject to a pastoral lease with restrictive conditions that limited activities on the site to largely farming purposes.
The station’s current owners bought the farm 40-years ago and – as with other famous high country farms snapped up by wealthy buyers, such as Branches Station, near Coronet Peak – they continued to run sheep and cattle on the farm.
Finnigan predicted a future buyer would operate the farm along similar lines, whereby they continued farming but did not try to make a big return from it, choosing instead to protect the natural ecosystem.
Similarly, a future buyer could build new homes on the small patches of freehold land on the station, but would be unlikely to be allowed to build a hotel or major commercial building due to the pastoral lease restrictions.
The picturesque farm did not currently have a grand mansion on it.
Its current owners instead built a more humble “Owner’s Cottage”, while all the station’s other buildings – including a woolshed and manager’s house – were farming related.
Yet for any future buyer, the station’s appeal would likely lie as much in its rugged, wilderness as in the creature comforts of any mansion.
Those staying at the property could embark on long hikes up its valleys, passing by the side of rivers and streams and even staying in mountain huts that were mostly used by workers at mustering time.
They could stop to fly-fish the Lochy River or pass into the 65,000ha Eyre Mountain Conservation Park that borders the station.
It could also be possible to gain permits to run heli-skiing trips onto the station’s mountain peaks, Finnigan said.
For those less active, there was also the chance to boat into the quiet coves and bays of Lake Wakatipu.
Describing the station as a “stunning trophy holding”, Finnigan’s fellow selling agent Russell Reddell said the station’s beauty was in its “enormous size, scale and scope, as well as (its) complete seclusion”.
Better buy your Lotto tickets now.
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