The mountains, isolated among the trees, surround you. The only sound is the song of the native birds. You contemplate the tranquil waters of Lake Wakatipu. The steamer Earnslaw plows a lazy furrow to the sheep station at Walter Peak. The sun sets in the west over Moke Lake. As night falls, you are rewarded with a dazzling display of the southern constellations.
If you wish, you can watch it all from your own sheltered hot tub from your very own treehouse, nestled in the forest above the lake. Or you can share the experience with others, who will come and stay – and go home to tell others about it.
“Unique” may be an overused word in real estate, but in this case, it’s justified. This is a unique opportunity to purchase 6.4 hectares of land, as well as an ecotourism development project, in Ben Lomond – which despite its remoteness is only a 15 minute drive from Queenstown .
It all started in 2018 when Martina and Daren Blanchard moved to Queenstown from Auckland. The couple were fascinated by the landscape and sought to develop their own concept of ecotourism. Martina, from the Czech Republic, called it “Slow Stay”. The concept encompasses Shinrin-Yoku, or “forest bathing”, which offers guests an enhanced wellness experience through immersion in nature.
Their long-term vision is to remove invasive species and regenerate the entire site with native and alpine vegetation to further improve the landscape.
“We felt like it was such a special place, not far from Queenstown, but you feel very isolated in nature, being so high in the mountains with a view of the lake,” says Martina Blanchard. “So we created our boutique hosting project.”
The Blanchards have obtained resource consent to subdivide the site into two lots, with the possibility of building a Luxury Treehouse Retreat, consisting of four treehouses with a central building. Alternatively, a buyer could build their own detached residential home, and the Blanchards are also open to the possibility of developing the project as a joint venture.
“The treehouses are in an exceptional landscape area, so for us to get permission to build structures like this was very lucky because it doesn’t happen often,” says Blanchard.
Queenstown award-winning architects Kerr Ritchie have designed a series of treehouses, each subtly different, but all maximizing views, with features such as roof terraces and sunken outdoor baths. Passive design elements and sustainable construction materials were chosen for their energy efficiency and environmental friendliness.
Business adviser Ben Terry, of New Zealand Sotheby’s International Realty, says the philosophy behind the project is different.
“People are looking for something more from their experiences when they travel now. They like to stay in unique places and that’s what we’re trying to channel here. Lake Wakatipu and having a glass of wine. To say it will leave a lasting impression would be an understatement.”
Terry says the property will appeal to a wide range of buyers: developers and investors, people looking for a lifestyle change, people looking to create a heritage project, or people looking to leave the big city in search of the beautiful life.
“It’s a different opportunity, you can do a little or you can do a lot.”
The property, at 178 Moke Lake Road, Queenstown, is for sale by treaty at deadline, closing at noon on November 25.
For more information see: luxury treehouses, or call Ben Terry, of New Zealand Sotheby’s International Realty, 021 994 392, or email: [email protected], or Stephanie McMeeken, 027 338 6474 or email: [email protected]