Queenstown’s Millbrook Resort is celebrating the next step towards developing a neighbouring farm into a new golf course interspersed with high-end infrastructure.
The development, with an estimated cost of $45 million, has been three years in the planning. In 2014 the Overseas Investment Office approved Millbrook’s purchase of 67 hectares of the former Dalgleish Farm land on its western boundary.
Two years of discussions followed around the Queenstown Lakes District Council’s District Plan review as it applies to Millbrook Resort’s existing and future zoning, and a Plan Change hearing was held in February last year.
On October 18 the QLDC notified its approval of an extension to the existing Millbrook Resort Zone subject to appeals. The appeal period closed on 30 November with no third-party appeals believed to have been submitted.
Millbrook itself has appealed one narrow aspect of a solitary rule which is expected to be resolved quickly. Once resolved, the new ‘District Plan Chapter 43 – Millbrook’ will become operative. The new development will add nine new golf holes to Millbrook’s current world-class 27-hole offering, meaning two full 18-hole courses will operate when it opens.
Site clearance is scheduled to start early this year, including a raft of ecological and landscape enhancements. Once the new golf course is constructed and ‘grown-in’ the aim is for it to be open for play over the summer of 2021/22.
Introducing a 36-hole format at Millbrook will be a ‘game changer’ for the resort in more ways than one. Millbrook director of golf, Brian Spicer, said the additional nine holes of golf on the farm land would effectively add 100 percent golf capacity.
“It will mean we have two fully operational 18-hole courses that can be played simultaneously for minimal additional maintenance costs,” he said.
It’s fantastic news because it will cater not only for our Millbrook Country Club members and locals, but for the significant growth opportunities for high-yielding golf tourism in New Zealand, particularly here in the Queenstown Lakes area.
Our plan is to run one private members’ course and one public course, changing the holes played on a daily basis.
That adds to the exclusivity of our golf club offering for our 480 family memberships, and alternating it will keep it interesting for members and be an incentive for visiting golfers to stay an additional night and play the other course.”
Millbrook Director of Property and Development Ben O’Malley said the re-zoning and notification process had been “extremely comprehensive” and the resort was delighted to have reached this milestone moment.
“We’ve worked very closely with the QLDC to reach this point in the planning process and they’ve been pragmatic enough to see the wider benefits of extending the Millbrook Resort Zone, for which we’re very grateful,” he said.
“Our membership base continues to grow with the continued success of our building programme within the existing Millbrook Zone and with the 42 homes that are planned for the new land.”
The news has also been welcomed by Golf Tourism New Zealand (GTNZ) Executive Director Ryan Brandeburg. GTNZ had been tasked with growing the value of inbound golf tourism from $145 million to $223 million by the end of 2016.
“I’m happy to report that we currently sit well in excess of $300 million annually, and Queenstown has proven to be an incredible draw for international visitors,” said Ryan.
“The town captures a significant amount of the 32,000 international visitor rounds played across New Zealand’s marquee courses in 2016, and happily many of those visitors are lovers of wine too, which Queenstown’s pretty good at!”