Queenstown’s five-star Millbrook Resort has purchased 66 hectares of farmland so it can offer two full golf courses in the expanding golf tourism market.
The Overseas Investment Office gave the green light last week for the purchase of the land on the resort’s western boundary, said Ben O’Malley, Millbrook’s property and development manager.
Japan’s Ishii family bought the original Millbrook land west of Arrowtown 26 years ago and opened to the public in 1994.
Millbrook has 27 golf holes, the Arrow Nine, Remarkables Nine and newer Coronet Nine, and is co-host of the New Zealand Open 2014.
The resort is considering a number of options, including an extended golf offering or rural lifestyle options.
“Our favoured option is to expand the course to provide for two 18-hole courses along with further residential development,” Mr O’Malley said.
Golf tourism is booming and is recognised by the government as a growth area.
The land has to be re-zoned the from rural general to resort zone, which could take 18 months to three years.
It’s “a bit rough” and earthworks will be required to transform it, Mr O’Malley said.
Greg Turner, who designed the Coronet Nine, has already looked at possible routing options for a new nine-hole course on the land.
The resort has permanent residents and is a well-known destination for tourists.
The start line for this weekend’s inaugural Queenstown International Marathon is at Millbrook. About 6000 runners are entered in the marathon, half marathon or 10km run and 90 per cent of them are estimated to be visitors.