A unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to own and operate Lake Åhau Lodge in the Southern Alps, along with running the Åhau Snow Fields under concession from the Department of Conservation, is on offer through CBRE.
The 10-hectare lodge property, located off State Highway 8 in the Mackenzie high country, occupies a stunning lake front setting surrounded by the majestic Southern Alps. It is being sold as a freehold going concern by its family owners, who have operated the facilities for the past 33 years.
CBRE Christchurch managing director Tim Rookes is leading the international expressions of interest marketing campaign, which closes at 5pm on September 7, alongside Tom Gibson, Australia-based director of CBRE Hotels.
Lake Åhau Lodge is fondly known by many New Zealanders and international travellers who have visited for skiing, mountain biking, trout fishing, weddings, conferences or just to enjoy the lodge’s convivial surroundings, legendary high country hospitality and breathtaking views, said Rookes.
“Åhau is more than just a lodge and ski field. It is an icon of New Zealand’s South Island, renowned for its spectacular scenery and exceptional year-round recreational offerings, all in a pristine alpine lakeside setting which leaves visitors awestruck.”
The lodge and snow fields comprise a “genuine trophy investment” that captures the essence of South Island tourism, offering a dream opportunity for visionary buyers looking to make their mark in the growing global adventure travel market, he said.
“This asset will appeal to investors who will recognise it as a highly exciting opportunity to acquire an iconic South Island tourism destination with well-established ski and accommodation facilities.”
First established in 1951, the existing lodge is steeped in history; while its lakeside title is favourably zoned for accommodation use. The snow fields, which extend across 250 hectares of skiable terrain, are located a short drive from the lodge.
Rarely do investment opportunities become available to purchase that offer the genuine exclusivity, natural beauty and significant existing ski and accommodation facilities that Lake Åhau Lodge and Åhau Snow Fields present, said Rookes.
“The sale also offers a generational opportunity to embark on the next stage of Lake Åhau Lodge’s development, which could include renovation of the existing lodge, extension of the facilities onto additional building sites, or building an entirely new high-end lodge to capitalise on the growing luxury travel market.”
The potential to renovate the existing 72-room lodge or develop a new luxury accommodation offering opens up endless possibilities for creating an unforgettable experience for guests, surrounded by the picturesque beauty of the Southern Alps.
“Exciting concepts have been drawn up for two undeveloped building sites on the property, capturing spectacular views up the lake. We have also been in discussions with global luxury accommodation operators who have expressed interest in operating a new lodge at Åhau on behalf of the new owners.”
From humble beginnings, hosting 5,000 visitor nights annually when the current owners took over, the Lake Åhau Lodge business has developed legendary status, attracting 25,000 visitor nights per year – having recovered to pre-Covid visitor levels and still growing.
One of the lodge’s most significant advantages is its strategic location along the famed Alps to Ocean Cycle Trail, which attracts visitors year-round. This presents an exciting avenue to continue to appeal to the booming adventure tourism sector and cater to the increasing demand for upscale accommodation among outdoor enthusiasts seeking world-class experiences.
The Åhau Snow Fields further enhance the allure of this extraordinary offering, providing a strong attraction which ensures the lodge’s accommodation and restaurant offerings are often fully booked during the winter months. The USA and Norwegian alpine ski teams also regularly train at Åhau Snow Fields during the New Zealand winter.
The Te Araroa Trail also passes close to the lodge, providing a welcome rest stop for hikers on the increasingly-popular trail spanning the length of New Zealand. Other outdoor experiences available in the local area include Aoraki/Mount Cook, Tasman Glacier, trout fishing, boating, heli-skiing and stargazing, with the property being located within the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve, said Rookes.
“Over the years, the lodge has become an integral part of the South Island regional tourism landscape, strongly supported by the key attractions of the Åhau Snow Fields and the world-famous Alps to Ocean bike trail. The synergy between these exceptional offerings has elevated Lake Åhau Lodge into a sought-after destination, drawing adventure seekers from all corners of the globe.”
Lake Åhau Lodge and Snow Fields are located in an accessible yet exclusive location in the heart of the Southern Alps, between Queenstown (125km to the south-west), Christchurch (230km to the north-east) and Dunedin (190km to the south). Both Twizel and Omarama are just 30 minutes away, while helicopter and fixed wing access are supported with a heli pad and airstrip.