For the first time in nearly 30 years, a popular Bay of Plenty business which taps into the region’s unique underground natural geothermal water resource, along with its associated land and buildings, is on the market for sale.
Set on a 2.15ha native bush clad site, Fernland Spa is a well-established recreational operation offering a range of thermal mineral pools, picnic and function areas, a small camping ground, additional visitor accommodation and a manager’s dwelling.
The freehold property lies on the eastern side of Cambridge Road in the established Tauranga suburb of Bethlehem Heights.
Having first opened to the public in the mid-1970s, Fernland Spa has been in the same family ownership since 1989. Its owners are now looking to move on in a new direction after investing significant time and money into the seven-day-a-week business and the property’s infrastructure.
The purpose-built swimming pool and changing room complex features a large in-ground open-air main pool and eight semi-detached private pools – four open-air and four enclosed.
The pools have clear, non-chlorinated warm mineral water sourced via bores which access Tauranga’s underground geothermal system which extends from Waihi to Maketu.
The pools and a 22-site camping ground are located on the lower plateau of the property, with a modest 1950s home, sleepout and garaging on the upper portion of the property. The rear of the property backs on to private reserve land.
Jo Stewart and Lloyd Davidson of Bayleys Tauranga are marketing the freehold land, buildings and business via a tender campaign closing 4pm, Thursday 3rd December.
Stewart said with international borders remaining sealed to all but returning New Zealand residents, the domestic tourism market is enjoying a revival as people “scratch their travel itch” by seeing more of the country.
“Fernland Spa has long been a favoured place for Tauranga locals to visit and its appeal has spread right around New Zealand with many families returning each year to simply enjoy the pools or to stay in the camping ground and have the pools on their doorstep.
“I think as more Kiwis start to actively explore New Zealand’s playground, gems like Fernland Spa will find a whole new audience as families look to make memories with some wholesome road trips.”
Davidson said early enquiry on the property suggests that the buyer is very likely to come from the Bay of Plenty region or from someone elsewhere on the country wishing to invest in the robust and proven tourism fundamentals that the area boasts.
“Recent publicity around the fact that several other Bay of Plenty holiday parks have been acquired by offshore interests, may spark some patriotism among New Zealanders.
“The freehold status of the property also sets it apart from many other tourism-related properties.
“Here’s an opportunity to invest in Tauranga and to keep the local economy ticking.”
This proven business venture with solid forward bookings and a loyal customer base, still has capacity to extend its offering to optimise the operation’s presence in the leisure, recreational and accommodation sector.
“Fernland Spa already offers exercise classes and massages to complement the pool and spa experiences and with some fresh thinking, there could be other ways to create more income either via a holistic health and well-being approach or by expanding the accommodation options,” said Stewart.
“A new owner could investigate an on-site café and there is currently just one cabin available for hire, so that could be an area for future development to better cater for those not wishing to camp out in a tent or caravan.”
The Bethlehem Heights location is handy to the Tauriko Business Estate and is well-positioned to capitalise on a growing residential catchment. Adjacent to the subject property is a new two-stage residential development, with a total of 42 sites planned.
Property address: 250 Cambridge Road, Bethlehem, Tauranga.