Once upon a time in NZ: Wild West-style town for sale

Photos: Sotheby's International Realty
Photos: Sotheby's International Realty
Got a spare $11.6 million burning a hole in your pocket? Well, have we got a deal for you.

An entire town, complete with a manuka honey business, is currently for sale in New Zealand - and some rich foreigners already have their eye on it.

Mellonsfolly Ranch, a small town located in the Central Plateau, between Taumarunui and Ohakune, is an Old West Town that looks straight out of a western movie.

The town, a replica of an 1860s Wyoming frontier town, belongs to Rob Bartley, who owns an aluminium car parts manufacturer with factories in New Zealand and Canada.

Bartley bought the town off a friend in 2012 but says now the time has come to sell off the property, as he deals with some health issues.

"I'm certainly sad to be selling it," he told Bloomberg in the US. "My family doesn't really want to sell it, but we've got so many other business interests. I've got to make some decisions."

Among other features, Mellonsfolly Ranch includes 10 "period" buildings, such as a licensed saloon, a courthouse that doubles as a cinema, a sheriff's office, a billiards lounge, and 13 guest rooms that can accommodate a total of 22 people.

It also comes with a manuka honey business.

The town hosts an event every month. "It's as busy as we want it to be," Barley told Bloomberg. "We're quite selective about what we do and who we do it for because it's quite a special place."

The whole town is now listed for about NZ$11.6 million on New Zealand Sotheby's International Realty and it is drawing interest from people in the US looking to invest in New Zealand, as a pathway to residency in the country.

The whole town can be rented for $7,900 a night, or $14,900 for two nights.

Bartley says it's a good deal and they should actually "charge more".

The current owner says the ranch makes good money, especially from its honey business but also as a hospitality venue.

The listing is particularly attractive for foreigners when you consider that being priced over $10 million means the buyer can apply for an Investor 1 Residency Visa.

"There are a lot of people right now thinking of getting out of the US," Barley says. "They'd have fun out here."









Local trusted journalism matters - now more than ever

As the Covid-19 pandemic brings the world into uncharted waters, Star Media journalists and photographers continue to report local stories that matter everyday - yours.

For more than 152 years our journalists have provided Cantabrians with local news that can be trusted. It’s more important now than ever to keep Cantabrians connected.

As our advertising has fallen during the pandemic, support from you our reader is crucial.

You can help us continue to provide local news you can trust simply by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter