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Buyers aim high as treetop walkway business goes up for sale

Located just south of Hokitika, West Coast Treetop Walk & Café is one of the West Coast’s top visitor attractions.

It attracted more than 45,000 visitors last year with the chance to roam its 450-metre aerial walkway and 45-metre-high viewing tower overlooking stunning native rainforest, or to enjoy a unique food-and-beverage experience in a wild setting.

The business also has approval to install New Zealand’s longest and highest rainforest canopy zipline at the site, which is forecast to boost annual visitor numbers by a further 5,000 to 10,000.

Expressions of interest are now being sought for the land, buildings and business sustaining West Coast Treetop Walk & Café.

The business is being marketed for sale as a freehold going concern through Bayleys Canterbury and Bayleys’ specialist Business, Hotels and Tourism Sales team, on behalf of the Hokitika Rimu Treetop Walk Limited Partnership.

Salesperson Lindsay Petty said consideration would also be given to an investor purchasing a 50 percent shareholding.

The sale would include some $5.8 million of tangible assets, including land, café/visitor centre buildings, walkway infrastructure and inventory, as well as stock, he said.

The seven-day-a-week operation has some 10 staff on a varied roster.

“Constructed in 2012 by Australian eco-tourism company Canopy01, the treetop walk and other infrastructure and buildings represent a significant investment by the current owners in developing and enhancing the experience for visitors,” said Mr Petty.

“It has since grown into a standout eco-adventure operation with excellent revenue and exciting prospects for further expansion.”

Mr Petty said information on earnings would be available to potential buyers subject to signing a confidentiality agreement.

The business operates on some 9.2 hectares of freehold land owned by the company at 1128 Woodstock-Rimu Road, Hokitika, along with about 1.3 hectares of adjoining Department of Conservation (DOC) land under a lease agreement.

The freehold land is zoned Rural (1A) by Westland District Council. The lease over DOC land runs through to 2056, with annual rent calculated as a percentage based on visitor numbers and revenue, along with management and concession monitoring fees.

Mr Petty said the property contained ample car and bus parking as well as dedicated parking for cycles.

The approved zipline would run from the top of the viewing tower, 45 metres above the ground, to the visitor centre café, a distance of over 400 metres.

“This zipline development will cost approximately $500,000. It is currently scheduled for installation in 2021,” Mr Petty said.

“This new attraction will increase visitor numbers to the site, especially younger thrill-seeker types, and it will provide another option for marketing to tourists.

“The 5,000-10,000 additional visitors it is expected to attract will drive a significant lift in revenue and profit.”

Mr Petty said the construction or cost of the zipline was not included in the sale. However, it may be negotiated as part of the sale. There was also an option to have the current owners involved in a supervisory role in the installation, he said.

A considerable area of residual land would also present a new owner with numerous ‘blue sky’ options to further expand the business.

“An existing masterplan includes options to add eco cabins, a helipad, a farm experience and a Maori cultural centre, along with water and mountain bike activities. A new owner may also consider developing a luge slide to cement the site’s credentials as one of New Zealand’s leading multi-adventure destinations.

“West Coast Treetop Walk and Café is already a standout adventure tourism business. Held together by 12,500 bolts, the steel walkway stands 20 metres off the ground – leading through the canopy of mature native West Coast forest amid the crowns of giant rimu trees. The special feature known as the Hokitika Tower offers stunning 360-degree views across West Coast wilderness – from mountains to sea.”

The existing restaurant/café is open 9am to 5pm in summer and 9am to 3pm in winter, serving a wide range of food and beverages including breakfast, lunch and coffee. It has indoor and outside seating for 100 people.

“The building encompasses a visitor centre selling tickets and souvenir items. It has a contemporary architectural design with extensive north-facing glazing and natural timber to complement the bush setting,” said Mr Petty.

“The facility also provides day visitors with interpretative information, along with the chance to soak up stunning views of the rainforest, nearby Lake Mahinapua and the Southern Alps.”

Mr Petty said the West Coast Treetop Walk and Café currently received about three percent of total visitors to the West Coast. Its current owners believed a target of 20 percent was realistic, based on the success of another treetop walk operation the company runs in Victoria, Australia.

Click here for more information on the listing.

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