Saturday, June 26, 2010

Wanna Own A Whole Village?

Want to escape the rat race? Here’s your chance to be the village laird. An entire West Coast hamlet, complete with hotel, school and fire station, is up for sale here in NZ.
Christine and Bill Hennah outside the Otira HotelBill and Christine Hennah bought Otira (18 houses, a school, hotel and fire station) in 1998 after passing through and "feeling sorry for it". Now the couple, in their 60s, no longer have the energy to run the hotel as well as the village. So, the hotel's for sale at NZ$350,000... or if you're interested in the entire village, a package deal is just NZ$1-million. Christine feels the town has a lot of potential and opportunity, but Bill says the Department Of Conservation is not keen on too much town growth, as Otira is right in the middle of Arthur's Pass National Park.
Otira (pop.44), perches high in the Southern Alps of the South Island at 3,445ft., surrounded by spectacular snowcapped peaks and a pristine national park filled with native birds and rata forests. The TranzAlpine train, hauling large numbers of international tourists from Christchurch to Greymouth, passes through twice a day.
Otira in snowWinters there are very cold and windy, and sometimes Otira is cut off by snow for days. As for the fire station, it has no fire brigade: it's rented out as a mechanic's workshop. The Otira Hotel, which started life as a coaching stop on the alpine pass in the 1860s, is the only place for miles around to find a bed, beer or meal, and also doubles as the post office. Almost all the buildings are wooden, most pre-framed and assembled on site when the town was established during rail and road construction in the 1920s. During its heyday Otira was home to about 600 workers and their families.
The sale offer is attracting so much international media interest, that the Hennahs have been too busy fielding media calls to reply to prospective buyers. But if you're interested, do keep ringing!

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