A stately 19th century homestead and commercial hospitality and accommodation business on the doorstop of a world famous cycle trail, has been placed on the market for sale.
Category I registered historic home, Burnside, was built near Oamaru c1900, by John Forrester Reid - the eldest son of well-known North Otago pastoralist and meat industry pioneer John Reid, on the site which the Reids settled in 1864. The elaborate nine-bedroom late-Victorian bay villa has undergone extensive restoration under current owners Bruce and Alison Albiston, who bought the property in 1974, to return it to its former glory.
The property has offered distinguished Bed & Breakfast accommodation and fine dining to private guests and groups since 1995. In that time it has attracted thousands of guests, including distinguished heads and business leaders such as United Nations Development Programme administrator Helen Clark, merchant banker Sir Michael Fay, and former UK English Heritage Commissioner Sir Neil Cossons.
The Albistons have decided it’s time for someone else to realise their own vision for the homestead and have placed the property on the market for sale with Bayleys Timaru through an auction process on December 11.
Located close to Enfield at 527 Burnside Road, Elderslie, Burnside is inland from Oamaru and 16km from State Highway One via Weston. It is also on the doorstep of the world-famous Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail. Burnside’s history, location and business opportunities made it an attractive offering to potential buyers, said Sue Morton who is marketing the property.
“Burnside is a magnificent homestead in a stunning, secluded setting, which offers guests the chance to travel back in time and experience nineteenth century life,” she said.
“Its location also means it is easily accessible to the towns of Oamaru on State Highway 1, Omarama to Duntroon on State Highway 83 and all main South Island airports.
Entrance to the 625sqm main house is via an oak tree-lined driveway, surrounded by extensive park-like grounds. The front door opens to a short entrance hall leading to the octagonal great hall - an elaborate wood-paneled room with 18 clerestory windows and many decorative features - with doors leading to other parts of the house.
The main household has four guest suites with ensuites and one double bedroom with separate bathroom, all of which feature original furnishings and historic amenities such as canopy beds, claw foot bathtubs, a maid’s closet lavatory, and servants’ quarters.
In another wing is the three-bedroom, self-contained servants’ quarters. Upstairs there is an open plan one-bedroom owners’ apartment with full facilities. The main kitchen complex has a butlers’ servery, Cook’s kitchen and maids’ scullery, which are able to service up to 30 guests. In the orchard, stands the 105sqm Coach House - a two-bedroom rebuilt self-contained cottage that can accommodate six people, with full kitchen, living room, insulation and space heating.
“Guests at Burnside can enjoy roaring open fires in the great hall, dining at the 16-seat black oak dining table, play snooker or billiards, and eat breakfast in the sunny conservatory or on the sweeping veranda that envelops the house,” said Ms Morton.
Situated on 5.18 hectares, the grounds feature beautiful flower gardens, a large vegetable garden, heritage fruit trees including quince, pear, plum and peach varieties, feijoas, currants, raspberries, gooseberries, all harvested to supply the kitchen. Additional out- buildings include a three room dairy unit, storage sheds, 3 bay garages, workshop, potting shed and hen house.
Ms Morton said: “The original orchard and vegetable garden - along with tame sheep and poultry within the grounds - add to the authentic experience of a past lifestyle”.
Suite rates range from $245-$325 per night, self catering units $175-$225 per night with discounted rates for groups. Bookings have increased 35 percent since 2013, with more than 300 guests already booked for 2016. In addition to accommodation, the property has also been used as a function centre, hosting family gatherings, music events, and corporate functions due to its accessible and peaceful setting, said Ms Morton.
Situated on the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail with cyclists going past the gate of Burnside, the homestead is ideally placed to cater to guests seeking accommodation for their final night on the route. In addition to private guests, managed tours also regularly utilise the homestead for accommodation for up to 10 guests.
The opening of the cycle trail in 2013 has seen visitor numbers through the area grow dramatically, increasing demand for service businesses including accommodation. An estimated more than 10,000 walkers and cyclists each year pass through the spectacular four-to-six day track from Mt Cook to Oamaru.
The property is ideally-placed to benefit from the proven market of the booming cycle trail market and represents huge potential for further development, said Ms Morton.
“A new owner could grow the venue hire aspect of the business through utilising the kitchen which has commercial capacity and obtaining a liquor licence. A recently installed Belling induction cooking range complements a commercial dishwasher and catering fridge/freezer. This would create an ideal venue for weddings, hosting overnight corporate events or as independent boutique restaurant, said Ms Morton.
“Existing partnerships with Christchurch, Nelson and Queenstown tourism operators running group tours could also further enhance the business,” she said.