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Pioneering tourism-hub hospitality business goes up for sale


The land, buildings and business sustaining a pioneering hospitality entity in what is now one of New Zealand’s fastest growing ‘off-the-beaten-track’ tourism hubs has been placed on the market for sale.

The Punakaiki Tavern, Bistro & Accommodation in the small settlement of Punakaiki on the West Coast of the South Island is a full-service hospitality operation encompassing a full suite of food, beverage and accommodation amenities – consisting of a fully-licensed bar and restaurant with nine adjacent motel-style self-contained accommodation units.

The township of Punakaiki on State Highway 6 is famous for its heavily-eroded limestone seaside rock formations – nicknamed the ‘pancake rocks’ for their visual similarity to a stack of layered pancakes.

The pioneering Punakaiki Tavern, Bistro & Accommodation hospitality enterprise was one of the first large scale tourism ventures built in the region – developed by entrepreneurs Ian and Lorraine Ryder who have owned the property since its inception 20 years ago.

The diverse business and property are located on 2,485 square metres of freehold land. Buildings on the property include the 416 square metre tavern premises, the 226 square metre accommodation block, and a 196 square metre owner/manager’s dwelling. The tavern and house was built in in 1997, with the accommodation amenities added in 2002.

The land, buildings and Punakaiki Tavern, Bistro & Accommodation business are now being marketed for sale by negotiation through Bayleys Nelson. Salesperson Reece Forbes said the multi-revenue stream entity was established in an era when Punakaiki had just the famous ‘pancake’ rocks and blowholes as its primary tourism attraction.

“When business founders Ian and Lorraine Ryder lodged their plans for Punakaiki Tavern, Bistro & Accommodation, they were literally laughed at by a regional business development agency who thought they were mad for planning to build a full-scale hospitality venture in the town. That just made them all the more determined to succeed.” Mr Forbes said.

“However their visionary concept has proven to be correct. Off the back of the growth of low-impact eco’ tourism in New Zealand, visitor numbers to the Punakaiki rocks and blowholes have increased steadily over the past two decades.

“In parallel, greater numbers of hikers have been using Paparoa National Park which is literally across the road on the other side of State Highway 6. You can actually see the park boundary from the tavern’s been garden. In the other direction, just a couple of hundred metres down the side road, is Punakaiki Beach.

“Compounding on those visitor stats, next year marks the opening of the Pike29 Memorial Track within the Paparoa National Park in honour of the men who lost their lives in the Pike River Mine tragedy in 2010.

“The 10.8 kilometre spur track will be first purpose-built shared-use Great Walk to be constructed by the Department of Conservation, and is expected to attract thousands of monument-tribute riders and hikers annually.”

Punakaiki Tavern, Bistro & Accommodation operates seven-days-a-week from breakfast to dinner, and is staffed by 14 full-time-equivalent employees across the food and beverage service, cooking, back-office administration, and housekeeping departments.

Chattels and assets being sold with the property and business include:

• A full commercial-grade kitchen featuring ovens, hobs, grillers, fryers, walk-in freezer and refrigerator, dish-washer/drying equipment, and extensive stainless steel benching

• An rural pioneer New Zealand-themed 118-seater bar fitout and adjoining restaurant area heated by an energy-efficient log burner

• An administrative office and staff room

• All bedding, kitchenette, and lounge furnishings within the motel units

• A landscaped outdoor area featuring walkways leading to a grassed garden bar space

• The two bedroom owner/managers home on the property and

• The much-photographed and high profile colonial pioneer horse and beer barrel-stacked cart monument immediately outside the tavern’s front door facing directly onto State Highway 6.

“The vertically-integrated service offering at Punakaiki Tavern, Bistro & Accommodation means that most guests staying in the accommodation units purchase at least two meals from the tavern and bistro – usually the combination of dinner and breakfast,” Mr Forbes said.

“The level of service offerings across both the hospitality and accommodation revenue streams at Punakaiki Tavern, Bistro & Accommodation has been well honed. In addition to capturing a healthy portion of the tourist market, the ‘country pub’ business is also the town’s ‘locals’ bar.”

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