Gumdigger’s Park for sale in Northland

5:00 AM Saturday December 3, 2016 True Commercial

Gumdiggers Park main shop and museum provides a link to the region’s rich gum digging history.

One of Northland’s most popular tourist attractions – Gumdigger’s Park on the Awanui Peninsula – is for sale.

Gumdigger’s Park is firmly established on the Northland tourism map – alongside such other “must see” attractions as 90 Mile Beach, Cape Reinga lighthouse, the giant Tane Mahuta kauri, and the Bay of Islands’ Hole in the Rock.

The Gumdigger’s Park business sits on 27.6ha, just off State Highway 1 on the main route to Cape Reinga. The business has been successfully operating for 16 years, but due to a change in the owners’ personal circumstances, it is now being marketed for sale — including the land and buildings.

Bayleys’ business sales consultant Mike Peterson says that, although Gumdigger’s Park had been initially established around showcasing the region’s rich kauri and gumdigging history, there was now considerable potential to expand that visitor base into a raft of new tourism-related activities.

“The sealing of the final 20km stretch of road to and from Cape Reinga was recently completed, and this has made the greater tourist route, and the Gumdigger’s attraction, far more accessible to visitors. At the same time, word-of-mouth reputation has seen awareness of Gumdigger’s Park grow considerably,” Peterson says.

“It’s all about offering more choice and reasons for visitors to stay. By extending the scope of activities within the park and the adjacent vacant land, there is substantial potential to increase the ‘stay-time’ of visitors, and per-head spend levels as a consequence. With about 22,000 visitors annually coming through the park’s doors, there is now the opportunity to look at ‘added value’ activities appealing to a broad range of interests.

True Commercial - Workers settlement at Gumdiggers Park%2c Northland.jpg

The workers’ settlement recalls the tough breed who dug the kauri gum.

“From cultural and historical perspectives, Gumdigger’s Park is one of the most valuable eco-tourism sites in New Zealand – right up there with the geothermal pools in Rotorua, the glow worm caves of Waitomo, and greenstone rivers of Westland.

“The kauri buried below Gumdigger’s Park is some of the oldest workable wood in the world – dating back between 100,000 and 150,000 years. Over the past decade, scientists from New Zealand, the US and the UK have spent considerable time on the site — studying and dating kauri swamp samples they found metres below ground level.”

Peterson says Gumdigger’s owners already had plans in place for a diverse new selection of activities suitable for the wider location. These additional revenue streams included:

Hosting kayak tours among New Zealand’s largest mangrove reserve. Building a kiwi and gecko breeding and viewing pavilion. Creating a rope climbing and confidence-building course among 5ha of mature pine trees.

Developing a range of accommodation for overnight stays – from campervan parking and camping amenities, through to cabins.

Expanding a wetland conservation area in conjunction with the Department of Conservation.

Extracting huge buried kauri logs on the property

Hosting school and cultural groups.

Planting avocado orchards.

Peterson says a small shop and museum already operates on the site, and would provide a base for future expansion plans, including a small coffee shop.

“You could say Gumdigger’s is a gold mine in a kauri swamp.”