So you’ve got a spare few million and you’re looking for an investment. One of the oldest and most architecturally revered historic homes in New Zealand – now operating as a high-end boutique lodge – is up for sale.
Film mogul James Cameron recently bought land there in Wairarapa (just down the road, sort of, from fellow director Peter Jackson), Canadian songstress Shania Twain has a large spread in the South Island which she apparently never visits, and New York billionaire Julian Robertson developed tourist resorts in New Zealand, and made the largest single art collection donation in Australasia. Russian steel tycoon Alexander Abramov is building a $NZ40 million mansion, said to be 3,600 square metres, north of Auckland.
The massive home for sale is Warwick House on the outskirts of Nelson, on the upper west coast of the South Island and blessed with high sunshine hours. It was built in 1854 for successful English merchant Alfred Fell. Since then, the place has grown substantially and undergone several reincarnations. At the turn of the 1900s the homestead was run as a gentlemen’s boarding house, before being converted into five apartment dwellings. Current owners, Nick and Jenny Ferrier, bought Warwick House in 2002 and spent many of the subsequent nine years restoring the commanding residence back to its former glory.
New Zealand’s Historic Places Trust ranks Warwick House – often called The Castle by locals – as a Category-Two registered building, and notes it is one of the largest examples of Victorian Gothic Revivalist architecture in New Zealand.
- It sits on 2,864 square metres of land.
- The house covers 810 square metres.
- Very strongly built throughout with great beams of native timber – kauri and 28mm thick matai floors. All weatherboards, ceilings and most doors are heart kauri.
- Exceptional features include the opulent ballroom with a 5.5 metre stud and the four-level, 33 metre high octagonal turret.
The lodge now features six accommodation rooms – each with their own individual ensuites. Rack rates for the larger rooms range from $NZ255 per night over winter up to $NZ395 per night in the peak summer period. The property is being marketed for sale by Bayleys Nelson through a price-by-negotiation process.
Bayleys Nelson salesman Nick Lambert said that while the Ferriers had been meticulous in their restoration of Warwick House, they had taken it as far as their enthusiasm allowed. The agent is coy about a price. “Price by negotiation” is all that Bayleys’ will say.