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Bolt-Holes and Businesses in New Zealand…and how overseas buyers can still invest….

28 May, 2019

There are many anecdotes about wealthy foreigners seeking to buy ‘bolt-holes’ in New Zealand to escape the real and potential problems in the Western World. New Zealand is arguably one of the most beautiful and safest places in the World and has been consistently ranked as having one of the least corrupt public sectors and judiciaries in the World. In 2017 the capital city of Wellington was ranked the best place to live in the world in a global Deutsche Bank study of 47 cities.

There is a perception that following the changes in 2018 to N.Z’s Overseas Investment Act the door has now been shut on foreigners buying in New Zealand. While that is partly true there are still many opportunities within current N.Z. law for foreigners to acquire their own little slice of paradise.

Not a total ban

The Overseas Investment Act 2005 (OIA), subject to certain exemptions, brings ‘residential land’ into the definition of ‘sensitive land’. This means that the acquisition of residential land by overseas persons now requires the consent of the Overseas Investment Office (OIO). With some exceptions for Australian and Singaporean citizens, anyone who is not a New Zealand citizen or is not ‘ordinarily resident’ in New Zealand, is an overseas person.

Sensitive land includes various types of land including residential land, non-urban land over 5 hectares, land which has frontage to foreshore and seabed, land on certain islands and land which has certain special characteristics.

Examples of properties that foreigners may still buy

While many residential properties now require consent, there are still other properties and businesses that are not covered by the Act. And they are still very affordable by international standards! Following is a cross-section of some current examples:

River Ridge Retreat is a slice of paradise in The Catlins – a relatively unspoiled and tranquil region in the South Island.  The beautifully groomed grounds (freehold title) are bounded by the crystal clear Catlins River with a backdrop of rugged native bush-covered hills, stunning ridges, bird life, and the promise of abundant wildlife. Featuring a large, modern functions centre and a range of accommodation that sleeps up to 80 people this could suit a range of options including hunting & fishing resort, health and wellness retreat, eco-tourism resort, functions centre or just as your own private ‘bolt-hole’. Expressions of interest invited over USD$985,000


Omakau Commercial Hotel is a strategically located ‘trophy property’ adjacent to the iconic ‘Central Otago Rail Trail’ and only approx. 90 minutes’ drive to Queenstown or Wanaka. It was winner of the 2016 (and 2018 finalist) ‘Best Country Hotel’ in New Zealand. Set on a substantial land holding of 1.0170 hectares there is considerable scope for further development, including potential to construct additional units or houses (subject to council approval). There are options to purchase the freehold land and buildings only at approx. USD$920,000 with a 35year lease in place to the business, providing a net 7.0% return; or the freehold going concern at approx. USD$1,150,000.


Kuramea Holiday Park – this great property and business is located at Pounawea, a restful beach-side holiday community at the gateway to the Catlins and an increasingly popular tourist destination. It offers magnificent scenery, native bush, bush walks, bird life, wildlife, kayaking and fishing, peace & tranquility.

The facilities include approx 14 powered sites, 2 cabins, amenities block and recently renovated ‘flat’ split into two self-contained units – 3-bdrm and 4-bdrm that is permitted to sleep up to 17 guests. There is ample scope to grow the business, further develop the site and/or use as your private beach-side ‘bolt-hole’! Where else can you buy a property like this in such an idyllic location for only USD$430,000!


Grumpy’s Geraldine Kiwi Holiday Park – is a spacious 2ha (approx.) holiday park with substantial amenities including owner/manager’s home. It is only 6km/5min north of the Geraldine village and strategically positioned on the corner of state highways SH79 and SH72, the Christchurch to Southern Lakes Scenic Route, with prime exposure to tourist traffic. The area offers plenty of including attractive parks, reserves and walkways where visitors can tramp, bike, horse trek or feel the thrill of rafting on the Rangitata River.

The owner is planning his ‘retirement’ and has priced the freehold and business very realistically at USD$786,000.


If you wish to find out more about these opportunities, or just wish to make a general inquiry, then please feel free to contact the author.

Disclaimer: This article should not be implied as legal and/or immigration advice. You should obtain your own independent professional advice if you wish to explore any of the opportunities introduced in this article.

Dunedin – N.Z.’s Emerging Rockstar City?

28 August, 2018

I believe that Dunedin is N.Z.’s emerging ‘rockstar’ city. Sure I’m biased. I’ve lived in Dunedin on and off for most of my life – over 50 years. Dunedin is New Zealand’s first city – currently with the fastest broadband services in the Southern Hemisphere. Dunedin…an official UNESCO City of Literature, joining the likes of Edinburgh, Melbourne and Dublin. Dunedin…”one of the world’s great small cities”.

Dunedin logo on beach

For many years it didn’t feel great living in Dunedin. As someone born in the region and with strong family ties I felt like a captive. With a reputation for being highly conservative, perhaps alluding to its strongly Scottish heritage, and apparently unfriendly towards business and development, the city seemed to stagnate while much of N.Z. prospered. My late father, a proud high-achiever (particularly on the sports field) with a “can-do” attitude often reminded me that “change is a dirty word in Dunedin” and “its the only city in N.Z. where the dead still walk the streets”. I think that as someone who wanted to advance progress and could envision Dunedin’s huge potential, Dad felt oppressed and ultimately defeated by the seemingly entrenched local attitudes.

Good things do come to those who wait. Now in 2018 the city is the most positive that I can ever recall. It is literally buzzing with excitement with perhaps the unspoken sentiment that finally the city is on the verge of something truly special. After all – how many other cities could sell out four Ed Sheeran concerts over an Easter holiday? Maybe that had something to do with the contentious mural in Bath Street or more aptly the wonderful multi-purpose Forsyth Barr covered stadium! There really is something great in the air…and its not all hot air! Some incredibly positive, tangible things are occuring that could very well help catapult Dunedin into genuine Rock-Star status.

Dunedin has traditionally been a University city. In my humble opinion it is New Zealand’s only genuine University! Most of the over 20,000 students, 85% of whom come from outside Dunedin, live in close proximity on what was recognised as one of the 16 most beautiful campuses in the world (Huffington Post 2013). It is ranked in the top 3% of universities in the world… and in the top 100 in 12 subject areas. It has recently embarked on a progressive development plan – spending $650m over several years upgrading its campuses. And we shouldn’t overlook Otago Polytechnic – which is leading the pack among N.Z.’s institutes of technology and/or polytechnic and is investing considerable amounts in ongoing development.

Otago University clocktower

Prof Harlene Hayne, the University of Otago Vice Chancellor, recently suggested that Dunedin was one of New Zealand’s best kept secrets, adding “…there has been a palpable change of public mood here in recent years” and “…the university, and Dunedin along with it, is going ahead…With the world in such a state of flux, Dunedin’s geographical distance and southern location has become a major advantage.”  She also noted that “People from around the world and within New Zealand are starting to find our best-kept-secret, and realise the big-city benefits of living here; the many great restaurants, shops, cafes, theatre, parks and recreational facilities – not to mention the natural beauty of this part of the world.”

You don’t need to go too far to encounter “the local buzz“. Talk to most accommodation providers and they will tell you about record occupancy rates. Cafes are humming with business-people conducting their off-site meetings and restaurants are busy even on traditionally quiet nights. Take a drive to the ‘green-field’ areas on the outskirts of the city and note the huge numbers of new homes springing up like mushrooms in every available space. And one of the biggest issues seems to be that there is not enough land for new development – demand for quality property is out-stripping supply. The residential real estate agents have never had it so good! Despite this the average price of a Dunedin house is still relatively affordable at just over $400,000 compared to Auckland and Queenstown at over $1M.

With much of New Zealand, notably Auckland, faced with increasing congestion, social issues and crime rates, Dunedin remains relatively relaxed. The claim of being “the ten-minute city” is still very apt. A ‘traffic jam’ is when you are held up for more than one change of the lights but even at the busiest times of day you can generally get to most central places in “around 10 minutes”. It is not uncommon for people to take a long lunch-hour and go for a leisurely walk or perhaps a mountain-bike or a surf. There are so many things on offer within easy reach. Finish work at midday Friday and head up to the Central Otago playground for a weekend skiing or adventure pursuits. This city literally oozes lifestyle!! Did I almost forget to mention that the city has a thriving arts and culture scene? It isn’t known for “the Dunedin sound” for nothing!

As a place to raise a family Dunedin is unrivalled. With an abundance of quality schools all with easy proximity and many associated family activities and services children have ample opportunity to flourish whatever their talents. And Dunedin is still a relatively safe place to be. Kids can walk or bus to school with comparative ease. It is simply a “hassle-free” environment.

A “Drawn-out Boom” – Perhaps the icing on the cake is the recent announcement of a $1.4B rebuild of Dunedin Hospital – due to commence around 2020. Early indications are that around 1,000 people will be needed in the city to assist in this project.It is anticipated that there will be about 800 or 850 people working on the project for four or five years, most of whom will have a trade qualification of some sort. Maybe another 200 staff will be involved in ancillary work such as security services, truck driving or offsite construction. Local Advisory Group convenor and former MP Pete Hodgson said the boom in the construction industry would not stop in 2026 when the hospital was completed. The University of Otago, Otago Polytechnic and the Dunedin City Council would be deliberately scheduling work for the years after the hospital build. “All this means that Dunedin’s construction sector is moving from a lower level of activity historically to a somewhat higher one for the next 12 or 15 years. “It isn’t going to be a boom and bust so much as one long and drawn-out boom.” (Source: 18th July 2018)

Signalling a progressive and ambitious vision Dunedin city councillors recently gave the green light for a $20million architecturally designed bridge that some say will be a game-changer for the city. It is expected to be the spark that will light a distinctive Architecture Van Brandenburg proposal for exciting harborside development of the Steamer Basin area.

Harbourside bridge

Tourism is booming! Visitor arrivals to New Zealand are expected to grow 4.6 per cent a year, reaching 5.1 million visitors in 2024 from 3.7 million in 2017 and total international spend is expected to reach $14.8 billion in 2024, up 40 per cent from 2017 (source: Dunedin is now a significant tourist destination with a reputation for outstanding landscapes, wildlife and distinctive heritage architecture. All indications are that tourism will continue to help drive the city’s momentum.

dunedin wildlife montage

Dunedin’s growth is underpinned by genuine business confidence, whether this is within the tertiary institutions, existing industry, the tourism sector or new start-ups. Confidence drives the willingness of industries to invest, remain, grow and innovate in the city. Confidence has never been greater. My late Dad would be stoked that the Dunedin is finally embracing change and progress. It can quite rightly lay claim to being N.Z.’s emerging rock-star city!!

Think & Grow ‘Eco-Rich’…in The Catlins (N.Z.)

22 March, 2018

The Catlins is a dramatic and beautiful part of New Zealand and a major highlight of the Southern Scenic Route in the South Island of the country. Situated off the beaten track, the Catlins encompasses the area between Kaka Point and Fortrose. You will journey through rural heartland and podocarp forests, past rugged coastlines, hidden lakes and stunning waterfalls. The natural landscapes are enthralling and the wildlife is extraordinary.


The ‘Eco-tourism’ industry is growing at approximately 10-30 percent per annum, with many of these visitors coming from Australia, the United States, Europe and increasingly, China and Asia. There is a wealth of attractions to tempt visitors to the The Catlins, and a growing range of activities ensures visitors to the area will find plenty to do and see.

Whether you are looking for relaxed solitude in an untouched part of New Zealand or the challenge of exploring rugged and remote coast and rainforests – there is something for all tastes.


Catilns_map4Walk along deserted sandy beaches, forest tracks, beside rivers and absorb the feeling of isolation and solitude. Visit areas where flocks of seabirds including Shags, Gannets and Shearwaters and occasionally penguins can be seen. Royal Spoonbills nest on one of the islands off the coast. Other spectacular attractions include the McLean Falls, the highest and arguably the most spectacular water-falls in the Catlins, and the Cathedral Caves, one of the largest sea caves complexes in the world. The area abounds with interesting native flora and fauna. It is one of the only places where Hoi Ho Penguins, Fur Seals, Hookers Sea lions and Elephant Seals coexist. And visitors can see the rare Hector’s dolphins in their natural habitat.

As an emerging Eco-tourism destination this area is poised for a steady increase in visitors from around the globe. As such we are very lucky to be able to offer two great businesses for sale:

The Catlins Gateway Motels were originally developed and have been owned by the same family for many years. With just eight units plus a house (for owner/manager) this is a currently a relatively small operation but there is substantial untapped potential to build additional units on the spare land and create something truly special. The strong forward bookings suggest that there is ample scope for further accommodation. This is a genuine opportunity to  purchase a freehold Motel business at only USD$573,000 and establish additional equity by working hard to develop and build over the next few years.


By contrast The Whistling Frog Resort is a substantial freehold property and business in the hub of the Catlins region that represents a strategic opportunity for a significant operator and/or investor to establish a dominant position in the area.

This property would be regarded as the largest, most comprehensive eco-tourism complex in the growing Catlins region. The concept was to provide a one-stop dining and accommodation experience in a pristine environment to complement the many local attractions on offer. High-end adventure tour companies are now increasingly utilizing the resort for group stop-overs so that visitors can take in the spectacular attractions in the area. The resort offers a variety of accommodation units and the on-site restaurant/café caters to large groups with quality food.

As a genuine eco-tourism hub and destination, the Whistling Frog Resort already delivers solid revenue but has genuine potential for significant development and growth.

For further information please complete the contact form below.



Idyllic Lifestyle Business on New Zealand’s “Original Great Ride”

22 March, 2018

New Zealand’s first Rail Trail and Original Great Ride is in the stunning, picturesque  landscape of Central Otago, near Queenstown. Opened in 2000 the 152km long trail follows the former route of the Otago Central Railway. Because the trail has been created on what used to be rail tracks the gradient is ideal for cyclists of all ages and fitness levels. And for those who may have a medical condition or are less fit there is now the option to join in with the rest by riding an ‘e-bike’ which takes the hard work out of biking and it makes it more manageable for people of lesser ability.


Ranked #1 of “Things to Do” in Central Otago by Trip Advisor the Otago Central Rail Trail has been described as “A must ride in a beautiful part of the world” and an “awesome trail, challenging and rewarding“. 

i-PgSPhk5-X2 (3)

The trail is approximately 150 kilometres and usually done over three to five days although some extra-keen cyclists have been known to do it in one day. Connecting four Central Otago plains and valleys, the Rail Trail includes the Strath Taieri and the township of Middlemarch, the Maniototo (with Ranfurly at its centre), Ida Valley and Oturehua, and the Manuherikia area – with Alexandra and Clyde.

You will experience magnificent viaducts and the intricate stonework in bridges and tunnels. These demonstrate not only the extraordinary skills of engineers and stonemasons but the tenacity of the many labourers who often worked in conditions of great hardship, especially in winter. Dotted along the trail you will also find other townships with a full range of accommodations available –  suitable for large groups, families, couples, back-packers and “luxury-seekers”.

Riding Around teh Salt Lake - Middlemarch

The Central Otago Rail Trail offers many compelling reasons to ride. As you travel through this untamed natural environment with its intriguing history there is plenty to explore on and off the trail. Discover old historic gold-mining villages, country pubs, rugged breath-taking scenery with views of distant mountains, and enjoy the good “old-fashioned Southern hospitality” along the way.


Cycle Surgery is a highly profitable business that has been operating on the Central Otago Rail Trail since its inception in 2000. The company mission statement “Is to provide the ultimate cycling experience in New Zealand“. Cycle Surgery may be best described as “The Rail Trail Travel Agent” because it facilitates the entire Rail Trail Experience from Start to Finish, including bike hire, accommodation, pick-ups and drop-offs and general advice. It is effectively a “one-stop-shop”.

2017 Ford Ranger

Having operated the business for almost 20 years the owners Dave and Pip have decided that it is now time to do something different and have put it on the market with Tourism Properties.Com. Priced at just USD $540,000 (approx) this includes 2018 bikes, a proprietary on-line booking system, exclusive use of the Cycle Surgery brand and forward bookings that already account for over USD $215,000 gross margin. So a big part of the purchase price is already well and truly covered! And the great thing about this business is that it closes over the Winter months – allowing the owners time off to do other things – but the bookings and cash-flow still keep coming in! This is an ideal business for a couple seeking a change in lifestyle in one of the most beautiful, safe places in the World. For further information please complete the inquiry form below.


Business Opportunities in New Zealand’s Booming Tourism Industry

31 May, 2017

Tourism in New Zealand is “red hot” at the moment. The tourism industry has overtaken dairy as New Zealand’s top export earner, with nothing to suggest an imminent slowdown in the tourist boom.

In the the year ended December 2016 there were close to 3.5 million visitors.

ASB chief economist Nick Tuffley recently commented ”Pleasingly, no single individual country or region is responsible for the continued growth in tourism, offering New Zealand a degree of protection from individual geopolitical events offshore.”

Australia made up about 40% of tourist arrivals on an annual basis, followed by China at 12%, the United Kingdom 8%, and the United States 8%.

This boom is continuing to drive unprecedented growth in hotel occupancy and room rates, new research from Colliers International shows.

The rapid growth is putting the tourism industry ahead of schedule to achieve our Tourism 2025 goal of $41 billion total tourism revenue per year.

Appetite from overseas travellers is increasing at an increasing rate. According to a recent New Zealand Tourism Forecasts 2016-2022 (MBIE 2016) the annual growth rate for Chinese visitors in particular is expected to outstrip all other markets. China will be New Zealand’s largest market for spend in 2017, as well as the fast-growing. In terms of absolute volume, Australia is forecast to remain New Zealand’s largest market for arrivals over the forecast period, but growth in visitors from China outstrips all other markets. Visitor growth from emerging markets India and Indonesia will be significant, albeit from a much smaller base of visitors.

According to a recent article by Rodney Dickens, the managing director and chief research officer of Strategic Risk Analysis Limited, factors behind this boom (despite a generally high NZD in recent years) include growing per capita incomes in parts of Asia resulting in increased propensity to travel and associated with this has been many new routes being opened up between NZ and Asia and falling airfares that recently will have been driven at least partly by lower fuel costs. I would further suggest that other factors include increasing volatility such as Brexit, Trump’s election and global terrorist activity have enhanced N.Z’s reputation as a relatively safe place to visit. Dickens also says that this growth has driven occupancy rates to the highest level on record and this is somewhat belatedly flowing through to increased consents for hotels etc.

If you are interested in a hospitality and/or accommodation-based business in New Zealand, here are some South-Island businesses for consideration.

Apartments at St Clair (Dunedin) – The Majestic Mansions – approx NZ$2,390,000 for Freehold land, buildings and business – beachside!


Catlins Whistling Frog Resort  – NZ$4,900,000 + SAV

This thriving business has a serious cash-flow with resulting bottom line profits and significant development potential.


Lone Star Cafe & Bar (POA)

Established icon in the local (Dunedin) hospitality industry – catering to a wide range of loyal clientele including professional people, tourists, students and families. It is generally the first ‘after-match’ stop for visiting sports teams and their supporters, and is the ‘Official Club Rooms of The Highlanders’. Now enjoying a significant turnover of approx $4m and employing approx 46 staff, there are some great opportunities providing a strong platform for continued growth.


Beach-Lodge Motels (Business only) Saint Kilda, Dunedin NZ$825,000

This is a stable cash-flow business comprising 18-units. It has outstanding occupancy with impressive returns! Being close to the popular St Kilda Beach, away from the concentrated ‘motel strip’ of George Street, and priced at an afforable level, these Motels have a loyal following that is relatively immune to economic cycles.


Catlins Cafe NZ$540,000 for Business and Freehold Land & Buildings

This is a well-priced, hospitality-based business in a relaxed location that offers great lifestyle and access to some of New Zealand’s most stunning scenery and outdoor activities.


Grandview Bed & Breakfast – Dunedin NZ$925,000

This is a heritage listed mansion located in the heart of Dunedin offering a lifestyle and business opportunity with a diversified mix of short (B & B) and longer-term visitor accommodation.


Please contact me for further information on these and other opportunities.



‘Rooftops’ – 487 George Street, DUNEDIN, NZ. Offers invited circa NZ$1.5M

16 April, 2014
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If you a seeking a quality investment property, with reliable cash-flow in a top location, then this is it!

'Rooftops' – 487 George Street, DUNEDIN. Offers invited. » New Zealand Property Based Investments.

Modern Commercial Property For Sale – DUNEDIN, New Zealand. Returning $565,000 pa (net) – Price NZ$7M

16 April, 2014
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This modern commercial property is in a prime location in Dunedin, New Zealand. Featuring serviced apartments, all on individual freehold unit titles, with strong lease to Quest, this represents an outstanding, relatively passive commercial investment with reliable cashflow. For further information refer to the link below.


NZ Property Based Investments » New Zealand Property Based Investments.

New Zealand now the “Most Socially Advanced” Country in the World!

15 April, 2014

New Zealand has come through the recent GFC strongly and is poised for steady growth on the back of a relatively strong economy based primarily on agriculture (you can’t go wrong feeding the world!) and tourism. It is also a wonderful placed to invest, especially being recently ranked one of the world’s least corrupt countries and one of the easiest to do business in. And it has now been rated the World’s Most Socially Advanced Country as discussed in the following articles.

NZ Ranked World’s Most Socially Advanced Country

NZ Ranked #1 for Social Progress





New Zealand Commercial Property Investment – Minimum Investment NZD$50,000. Projected 8.75% cash return pa*.

1 August, 2013

Projected 8.75% cash return pa*. Farmers Building (Dunedin, New Zealand) Proportionate Ownership Scheme. Contact me if you’d like further information (including Investment Statement and Prospectus) sent to you.

Investors switch to real estate – New Zealand

25 November, 2012

Investors switch to real estate |

Contact me if you want to find out more about investing in N.Z. property – including commercial and university student rental property.