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Kiwi answer to Camp America - a business opportunity for the adventurous

Tags: Auckland Commercial Waikato

For the first time in its 21-year history, beloved Waikato adventure and farm camp ‘Lakewood Lodge’ has been placed on the market for sale.


Boasting bursting guest books which show the camp virtually at full capacity for the coming year, the ‘Camp America’-style business consistently attracts student groups from Hong Kong, China, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Malaysia, Tahiti and New Zealand with its organised camp activities, on-site accommodation and uniquely Kiwi experiences.

Marketed for sale in a negotiation process by Bayleys Counties, the freehold going concern is thought to be the only of its type in the country with on-site animal encounters, a focus on conservation and a variable host of facilities situated on the property.

“The huge range of activities on offer include kayaking, archery, a ropes course, a climbing wall, flying foxes and horse riding - ensuring that there is no shortage of repeat business from both New Zealand-based and international groups” says Bayleys Counties salesperson Nadine Lawson.

Lakewood Lodge Aerial

Located 10 minutes south-west of the growing Waikato township of Te Kauwhata on the cusp of the Auckland/Waikato boundary,the camp sits on 21 acres of park-like grounds bordered by the eastern shores of Lake Whangape, with the Waikato River also nearby.

Split across three titles, the camp presently employs 11 staff, including seven dedicated activities instructors and a cook, and is licensed to accommodate up to 72 campers in mostly dormitory-style rooms.

The lodge also features double, triple and quadruple bedrooms and cabins commonly occupied by visiting adults, teachers and families, with the potential to host up to 120 campers with the addition of an outdoor camping environment known as the ‘Survival Adventure’.

“The camp operates year-round excluding the month of June with packages available for groups of ten or more, with camps running for a duration of one day to three weeks” Ms Lawson says.

Founded as a camp for children aged between 8 and 16 by current directors Christine Lyons and her son Jeff in 1996, the sale of Lakewood Lodge comprises additional on-site structures including an extensive commercial kitchen, large recreation room for events, three chalets overlooking the lake, a separate cottage, an 11-metre high climbing wall, twin 130 metre-long flying foxes, a low ropes course and horse stables with a purpose-built arena.

“The business has substantial repeat bookings for the next ten years, and there is huge potential to capitalise on New Zealand’s growing popularity as an internationally regarded holiday destination.

“With both the capacity to increase the size and number of visiting groups from existing markets, and reach untapped markets in the Unites States, South America, Vietnam, India and the Philippines – there are opportunities aplenty to increase the scope and revenue of the business.

“The new owner may also wish to expand the camp with new structures and facilities, or investigate subdivision potential in the future” Ms Lawson says.

Lakewood Lodge

Occupying a prime position half-way between tourist hot-spots Auckland and Rotorua, Lakewood Lodge benefits from its enviable position, offering international groups a meet and greet service from the Auckland International Airport as well as tourist trips to nearby attractions including cultural and geothermal sites in Rotorua, the Auckland Skytower, glowworms at the Nikau Caves, ice-skating, snowboarding and ‘Hobbiton’ in Matamata – the village site made famous by the Lord of the Rings movies.

“Being in such close proximity to some of New Zealand’s leading tourist destinations is just another feather in the camp’s cap – opening up the door to future business partnerships and perhaps exclusive relationships with service providers in the future”

“The sky is the limit for this adventurous investment” Ms Lawson says.

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