Queenstown’s award-winning Millbrook Resort is celebrating a major milestone — taking the next step towards developing a neighbouring farm into a new golf course interspersed with high-end residential homes.
The development — with an estimated cost of $45m — 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 this 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 in early 2018, 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% 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.”
Former NZ golf pro Greg Turner said much of the new nine would occupy “perhaps the most spectacular landscape at Millbrook.”
“With the combination of the Arrow and Coronet nines receiving such universal acclaim from the NZ Open field this year, to be able to extend the Coronet experience to a full 18 is an exciting prospect indeed,” he said.
Parts of Mill Stream will be widened to create larger waterways, and other areas will be retained as over 20 hectares of working farmland, featuring common grazing land and an historic woolshed that will be rebuilt and relocated to a paddock adjoining Malaghans Road.
The original 1860’s farmhouse will be retained with some sympathetic additions, and an existing visible irrigation pipe, part of the Arrow Irrigation Company network, will be relocated and buried underground. An irrigation reservoir and pumphouses will also be built on site.