Port Waikato Holiday Park for sale

5:00 AM Saturday June 25, 2016 Paul Charman

The 5 ha holiday park offers powered caravan sites, tent sites, cabins and self-contained motel style units.

Port Waikato Holiday Park — an hour’s drive south-west of Auckland — is spread over 5 hectares, with accommodation options ranging from tent and caravan plots through to budget cabins. Camp facilities include 85 powered caravan sites, 63 tent sites, nine cabins, and six self-contained motel style units.

The Port Waikato Holiday Park freehold land, buildings and business are being marketed for sale by negotiation through Bayleys Auckland salespeople Meredith Graham and Mike Peterson.

Graham says the campground business is a virtual “turn-key operation”, coming complete with a 120sq m three-bedroom owner/manager’s house, a separate camp management office, a communal kitchen with fridges, freezers and microwave ovens, two separate barbecue areas, a laundry block with coin-operated washers and dryers and a segregated shower block featuring piped music through a speaker sound system.

Trading accounts show most bookings have come through returning campers and caravan site reservations. The campground’s busiest trading period is from the week before Christmas through until the beginning of February, when the park is at full occupancy.

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“Humans are creatures of habit. When they find somewhere they love, they tend to return … and that has certainly been the case for guests at the Port Waikato Holiday Park. Underpinning that commitment to the campsite has been the rustic nature of Port Waikato township — just a five minute walk away — which has remained largely as it was in the 1960s and 70s,” Graham says.

The holiday park is staffed by a family group, with part-time cleaning, and administration workers brought in over the busier summer months. The variously-sized cabins within the holiday park’s inventory have multiple bedding configurations, accommodating two-to-five people. For children, the campsite’s playground has the usual swings, slide and a huge inflatable in-ground “jumping pillow”.

Graham says the holiday park contains vast flat grassy spaces, which are currently under-utilised. These offer multiple development opportunities to take the business to a new level, through more salubrious cabins, introduction of high-end camping, or development of a function venue.

“People are becoming more time-squeezed. A generation ago campers would have ventured five-or-six hours in a car to get to their destination, they now only want to drive up to two or three hours,” she says.

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“Also, we’ve seen the rise in ‘glamping’ — where affluent couples are seeking that ‘camping’ experience under canvas, but want to sleep on an inner-sprung king size mattress, under a double-layer duvet, with a bedside table, and a bottle of wine or a few beers in the fridge in the corner of the tent.

“They are seeking the comforts of a four star hotel in an environment replicating a camp site.

It’s a huge potential for traditional holiday park businesses, where available space can be developed into a glamping accommodation.

“There is also potential for bigger apartment-style units with more personalised and high-level of amenities: a spa pool on the deck, Sky TV connection, wood-fired pizza oven for outdoor cooking, and hotel-grade fittings and furnishings.

“Of course, this higher quality accommodation option brings with it a higher yield.”

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Peterson sees an opportunity to develop the long-stay residency schedule.

“That could be on a 46 or 47-week calendar, with long-stay tenants vacating leased dwellings over the higher-yielding Christmas and New Year holidays,” he says.

The location draws a customers from Auckland and Hamilton regions, both having undergone substantial population growth in the past six years.

And that population surge had placed stresses on both cities’ housing supply, he says. “Plans for expanding accommodation units could factor in the potential of re-purposing standalone dwellings as leased residential dwellings,” he points out.

“It’s all about finding opportunities to lift the overall yield by maximising, not only existing infrastructure but also looking closely at what else could be done to drive revenues.

“With a ‘superette’ some 15 min walk, there’s also potential to expand the limited retail offerings run from the campground office,” says Mike Peterson.