Waikato's hobbit motel for sale
Submarine, plane, a train and hobbit holesKASHKA TUNSTALL
An award-winning Waikato motel complex paying homage to New Zealand's Middle Earth tag is to go to auction.
Vendor Barry Woods has placed his 3.5 hectare Woodlyn Park estate in Waitomo on the market after running the property for almost 20 years.
The park, which won most innovative hotel concept prize at the Worldwide Hospitality Awards in Paris last year, is home to a range of historic transport units which have been fitted out and turned into motel accommodation.
A twin-engine 1950 Bristol Freighter, one of the last Allied planes to leave Vietnam at the end of the Vietnam War, has had its cockpit and fuselage, cargo hold and tail, converted into two self- contained three bed units.
A 1918 train carriage sleeps up to five people.
A World War 2 anti-submarine patrol boat, constructed in Auckland in 1942 to search New Zealand's coastal waters for enemy subs, was moved to the property in 2006.
Thought to be one of only two surviving nautical vessels of its kind, the boat has been converted into five units.
But the park's biggest drawcards are the two Hobbit-themed subterranean motel rooms built into a hilliside.
Woods fashioned the Hobbit holes in 2005, complete with circular windows and doors, two years after the final The Lord of the Rings film was released.
Bayleys agent Mike Swanson said renewed interest created by Peter Jackson's The Hobbit trilogy has seen the themed rooms attracting solid bookings.
The Hobbiton film set is an hour and a half drive away from the park, while Waitomo's own tourism attraction of the Waitomo caves is less than a kilometre away.
The vendor also allows camper van travellers to use the facility free of charge.
Woods also generated revenue from his niche entertainment side-business, Swanson said. Woods performs a live Kiwi Culture Show at the park around New Zealand's country life, from native forest to farmland.
Latest Waitomo District Council records show the property has a capital valuation of $1.1 million.
The property and business will be auctioned by Bayleys Hamilton on Thursday, December 5.
Swanson said the property was being marketed domestically and internationally.
He said the park had further expansion opportunities and the vendor had considered adding a former Soviet Cold War submarine, a gold miner's hut, a refrigerated container unit converted into a sub-zero Eskimo igloo with reindeer bedding, a London double-decker bus, and a Buddhist temple to the accommodation options.
- Waikato Times