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Prawn Park business offers buyers chance to add to a winning cocktail

Huka Prawn Park has established itself as one of Taupō’s most popular and unique visitor attractions since it opened for business in 1987.

Nestled within Wairakei Tourist Park, a few kilometres north of the lakeside tourist mecca, the operation is home to the world’s only geothermally heated Prawn Park, with related visitor activities and Taupō’s only riverside restaurant.

The park has long been a favourite among families with activities for all ages including behind the scenes Prawn Park tours, prawn and trout feeding, adventure trails, aqua bikes, pedal boats, stand-up paddle boards, water cannons and geothermally heated footbaths.

With an abundance of land and a unique and largely untapped geothermal resource, Bayleys Taupō salesperson Gary Harwood says the business is ripe with possibilities for a new owner to expand and diversify into new areas such as a geothermally heated theme park.

The buildings and business sustaining Huka Prawn Park are being marketed through Bayleys for sale as a going concern. Sale will be by way of a tender closing on Wednesday 3 November, unless the business sells sooner.

The Huka Prawn Park business operates on about 12.8 hectares of land leased from the Crown. The current lease term runs through to 2029, with a further 10-year right of renewal to 2039.

The land is zoned Taupō Rural Environment under Taupō’s district plan.

“Positioned beside the Waikato River on Karetoto Road, the site is dissected by State Highway 1, presenting the business with exposure to up to 20,000 passing vehicles per day,” said Mr Harwood.

“A rich cluster of activities and attractions in and around Wairakei Tourist Park and nearby Huka Falls make this a year-round hub of visitor attention.”

The business sale includes several buildings with a total floor area of approximately 3,160 square metres.

“These include a prawn nursery and hatchery with a combined floor area of over 2,600 square metres, plus a pump house, viewing platform and staff area.

“Positioned beside the Waikato River is a restaurant seating up to 300, with a large commercial kitchen, bar, retail and reception areas.

“There is extensive parking on site with room for buses and campervans plus a charging station for electric vehicles’” Mr Harwood said.

Other business assets include a heating system with substantial infrastructure to circulate hot and cold water around the park, plus aqua trikes, mini water bikes, pedal boats, stand-up paddle boards and water cannons.

“Some 22 full-time and approximately 25 part-time staff are available to a new owner, offering continuity and expert operational knowledge. Their expertise spans roles including a general manager, operations, administration and restaurant managers, a marketing co-ordinator and biologists,” Mr Harwood said.

Detailed information on business performance and assets is available to potential buyers subject to signing a confidentiality agreement.

Bayleys salesperson Lisa Christensen said another key advantage to a buyer of the going concern was that all permits, consents and agreements needed for the operation were already in place.

“This includes a fish farm licence, restaurant licence and recreation permit, as well as consents to take and release freshwater to the Waikato River.

“Consent is also in place for the supply of 19,999 cubic metres of geothermal liquid per day from Contact Energy to the Prawn Park.”

“Consent is also in place for the supply of 19,999 cubic metres of geothermal liquid per day from Contact Energy to the Prawn Park.”

Ms Christensen said a major new heating system was under construction and due for completion by May 2022, with all costs covered up to commissioning.

“This system will produce a large amount of extra heating capacity. Together with about 8.2 hectares of surplus land, this unique and rare resource can be harnessed by a new owner to reimagine the site and explore new possibilities such as a geothermal fun park.

“A new owner could even explore using the system as a heating source to support propagation of high-end edible plants or health products.”

Ms Christensen said Taupō’s enduring popularity as a year-round destination for domestic visitors had lent resilience to its tourism market through Covid disruptions.

“Taupō’s position at the centre of the North Island provides it with a market of four million people within a four-hour drive, including Auckland, Wellington and Hamilton.

“The prospect of New Zealand beginning to reopen its borders to lower-risk countries as the pandemic response moves forward promises future growth in international visitors.”

Click here for more information on the listing.

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