Banks Peninsula is capturing the imagination of Kiwis with the overwhelmingly successful crowd funding campaign to ‘Buy the Hill’ earlier this year followed by the sale of the historic Grand Hotel in Akaroa.
Against that backdrop, Philip Cooper and Michael Lough of Colliers believe the landmark Hilltop Tavern, with its panoramic views into Barrys Bay, has diverse potential for a new owner. The Hilltop is set for auction on 4 November.
Situated at 5207 Christchurch Akaroa Road, the property comprises a land area of 9.8ha with the freehold building itself covering 380sq m. The site is currently subject to a lease that expires in September 2022 with no rights of renewal.
The Hilltop sits at the confluence of popular Banks Peninsula walking and biking tracks. These are set to get busier following the high-profile ‘Buy the Hill’ fundraising campaign to purchase 500ha of land that has increased awareness of the stunning Te Ara Pātaka track network that connects the Lyttelton to Akaroa craters along the summit ridgelines.
The Hilltop Tavern is perfectly positioned to provide refreshments, transport shuttles and overnight accommodation for trampers and bikers coming through from Christchurch to Akaroa, up from Little River or just seeking a short stroll in Montgomery Reserve with its 2000-year-old ancient totara.
The land bought by the ‘Buy the Hill’ campaign means the walking tracks all finish at the Hilltop. They include the Te Ara Pātaka/Summit Walkway that links Kaituna Valley and the Okuti Valley track – all of which meet at the Hilltop.
Cooper says the world class panoramic views from the well-known landmark make it ripe for development.
“The outstanding position is unsurpassed and is a trophy acquisition to any visionary developer, owner-occupier or accommodation operator. State Highway 75 at the Hilltop provides one of the most scenic views of the famous Akaroa Harbour and the surrounding breathtaking countryside on this busy highway, which runs between Christchurch and Akaroa. It’s seen as a compulsory refreshment and photo stop on the journey,” Cooper says.
“We think the Hilltop will appeal to a wide range of buyers whether it be for accommodation, a private family home, or hospitality. It’s a great opportunity to reposition and recreate something special that capitalises on the spectacular outlook, with accommodation and hospitality components, supported by the growing industry in outdoor tourism reinforced by the walkways and bike tracks. This highlights the need for accommodation in the vicinity of the Hilltop.”
Lough has been involved in two significant sales on the Peninsula in the past year. The first was the sale of the historic Grand Hotel in Akaroa, the adjacent Waeckerle’s Cottage, and 1,909sq m of surrounding land, with the second being three hectares of land in nearby Wainui, overlooking Akaroa Harbour.
“Banks Peninsula is in strong demand. These properties attracted a wide range of interest from both national and international buyers. We’re expecting the same with the Hilltop,” Lough says.
The original Hilltop was built in 1872 and became a popular stopping place in the old coaching days. The railway came to Little River in 1886, further boosting the hotel’s business.
Fire destroyed it in 1931, and the current premises were built in the mid-1930s.
It last changed hands in 2009, having previously been held by four generations of the same family.