Historic Oamaru B&B for sale
Oamaru architect John Meggett Forrester designed the house in 1914. It has three bedrooms with harbour views.
A piece of Oamaru’s Victorian history, combining old-world architecture and warm hospitality, is being marketed for sale through Bayleys Timaru. Offers will be received until 4pm, on Friday, September 30.
Bayleys Timaru salesperson Sue Morton says legendary local architect John Meggett Forrester designed the house in 1914.
“Aged just 24, Forester took over the family’s architecture firm Forrester & Lemon in 1890, creating many of the town’s beloved whitestone buildings, including the Opera House and St Luke’s Anglican Church spire and chancel,” says Morton.
The house bearing his name is designed in his own “inimitable style” and distinct from other period buildings, she adds. Sitting on a 1012sq m site, the freehold going concern trading as Forrester House features three upstairs bedrooms with ensuites and views to the harbour. Downstairs are three living spaces and a potential fourth bedroom, office or additional living space.
Although it retains much of the original facade — enhanced by bespoke furnishings like hand-printed wallpaper, the house’s plumbing, drainage, spouting and electrics have been fully updated. Reticulated gas adds comfort throughout.
Morton says there are two guest bedrooms — the Napoleon and the Antoinette. Both have a rack rate of $265 per night, access to private bathrooms and views of the township and garden. Forrester House has a five-star rating on respected tourism website tripadvisor.com.
“The property has attracted wide interest, including from existing commercial accommodation providers in the region, and potential buyers from further afield looking to take on a ‘lifestyle’ business,” says Morton.
“Buyers are recognising the versatility of Forrester House; we have fielded inquiries from families, hoteliers and history buffs enamoured with the area.
“Located in the town centre, it’s close to major attractions including the public gardens, the blue penguin colony and the historic harbour.”
Forrester, who retired in 1931 and went on to serve as a borough councillor and mayor until 1933, would be proud of the town’s growing reputation, she says. “His legacy lives on through his celebrated architecture, a piece of which buyers can now possess for themselves.”
The gateway to attractions in the greater Waitaki Valley, Oamaru has an average stay for visitors of 1.53 nights — which its tourism board is keen to grow.
Voted “New Zealand’s coolest” by the Lonely Planet travel guide, the town experienced a recent boost in visitors, recording 420,229 guest nights in the year-ending April 2016 (up 9.4 per cent from 2015).
Known as the “steampunk capital of the world”, Oamaru hosts New Zealand’s steampunk festival. Festival-goers bring to life visions of a futuristic Victorian England run by steam machinery.
Oamaru is at the southern end of the recently completed Alps 2 Ocean cycle trail — a 301km trail from Mt Cook.