Huge freehold forest estate for sale in Otago

Eight forest on Clutha Estate's 2,999ha of freehold land for sale

An expansive estate of eight freehold forests in the well-established Otago forestry region is for sale through Colliers International.

The 2,999ha Clutha Estate is being sold by US-based investment manager The Rohatyn Group.

Predominantly planted with radiata pine, the estate has a net stocked area of 2,588ha that has been professionally managed by well-regarded forestry manager Wenita.

Colliers International Forestry Specialist Warwick Searle is marketing the estate for sale by expressions of interest closing at 4pm on Thursday 30 August.

Searle says it is an excellent opportunity to acquire the freehold land, cutting rights and carbon credits to one of New Zealand’s largest forestry estates.

“Clutha Estate in Otago is superbly located in a well-established forestry region that offers exceptional access to a range of domestic processing facilities, as well as the key export hub of Port Chalmers.

“The condensed location of the blocks and staggered age class will provide the new owners with consistent wood flow from a single region over the ensuing years.

“Most of the estate is suitable for ground-based harvesting, with well-formed gravel and sealed roads providing access to all blocks.

“Principally established with Pinus radiata, the estate also offers smaller areas of macrocarpa and Douglas fir.

“With  demand for New Zealand log products at record highs, this is an exceptional opportunity to acquire a substantial freehold forest estate with almost unbeatable harvesting and processing potential.”

Clutha Estate is located in western and southern Otago, south of Dunedin, in an area well-known for growing quality forests.

The age class is predominantly middle aged to near maturity, with about 82 per cent of the crop planted over an 11-year period from 1994 to 2004.

The estate has capacity to generate carbon income, with 2,017ha of post-1989 forest registered in the Emissions Trading Scheme.

Searle says the radiata pine crops comprise both pruned and unpruned stands providing market diversification.

The macrocarpa stands have been pruned and do not require further silviculture. 

“Clutha Estate benefits from a very good forestry climate, with long sunshine hours, relatively even rainfall of between 650-800mm per annum, and average annual temperatures of 10C.

Clutha Estate’s eight forests range in size between 185ha and 739.78ha, as follows:

  • Lawrence North and South, the largest forest in the estate, is located off State Highway 8 near Lawrence. Its net stocked area of 614.2ha comprises 345ha of radiata, 203ha of macrocarpa, and 63ha of Douglas fir, predominantly suitable for ground harvesting.
  • Waitahuna Gully is a 618ha forest on the northern side of SH8, between Lawrence and Milton. It comprises 558ha of radiata, with the remaining area planted in macrocarpa, on easy contoured terrain.
  • Nugget Stream is a 354ha forest east of Waitahuna Gully, accessed from SH8 via 4.8km of metalled road. The forest’s undulating terrain is planted with 291ha of radiata and 13ha of Douglas fir, of younger to near-mature age class.
  • Falla Burn, on the southern side of SH8, is a 434ha forest west of Milton. It comprises 334ha of near-mature radiata and 44ha of Douglas fir and macrocarpa, mostly suitable for ground harvesting, with skidder tracks on the steeper gullies.
  • Glenore is a 209ha first-rotation forest on the southern side of SH8, a short distance from the SH1 intersection. It comprises 161ha of mostly near-mature radiata and 21ha of macrocarpa on undulating to easy ridges. 
  • Christies Gully, located only 48km from Port Chalmers, is a 190ha landholding comprising 171ha of 24-year-old radiata crop. It is mostly suitable for ground harvesting, with skidder tracks required for the steeper slopes.
  • Moeraki Bush is a 229ha second-rotation forest on the Tairei Plains, about 2km east of SH1, between Dunedin and Milton. It comprises 154ha of young radiata pine and 48ha of cutover land awaiting replanting, with extensive roading in place.
  • Scroggs Hill is the smallest forest and the closest to Dunedin, located only 37km from Port Chalmers. It comprises a small section of mature macrocarpa and 122ha of younger radiata. All but about 23ha is suitable for ground harvesting, with extensive roading in place.

Searle says the market for New Zealand log products has strengthened over the last two years.

“Domestic and export log pricing is strong, which should give purchasers confidence in the continuing demand for New Zealand wood.”

Searle says Clutha Estate is well-positioned for export, given its proximity to Port Chalmers.

“The port provides efficient and cost-effective handling of logs and forestry products, with a purpose-built forestry berth and adjacent 5.5ha log storage area.

Searle says the estate is also close to numerous domestic processing options, including Pan Pac’s Milburn Sawmill, which was recently redeveloped for $24 million; Otago Lumber near Mosgiel; Daiken’s fibre board plant in Mataura; Gorton Timber near Milton; Stuart Timber in Tapanui, and Craigpine in Winton.

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