All aboard? Quirky train carriages turned accommodation on sale

Author
Nikki Preston, NZ Herald,
Section
Upper North Island,
Publish Date
Monday, 15 July 2019, 8:19PM
Two converted railways carriages, sleeping up to six people each, in Ōhakune Junction are for sale for $265,000 plus GST. Photo / Supplied
Two converted railways carriages, sleeping up to six people each, in Ōhakune Junction are for sale for $265,000 plus GST. Photo / Supplied

It may not be everyone's dream - but train enthusiasts or snow bunnies can hop aboard a cheap ski getaway or rental property for under $300,000.

The two iconic red and green train carriages opposite Ōhakune's night life area The Junction on Rimu St are for sale, just in time for the winter rush.

Each 50sq m carriage sleeps up to six people, with three separate spaces comprising two bedrooms and a living area with a pull-out sofa. There is also a small kitchenette.

Owner Cameron Robertson acquired the two carriages when he bought Rimu Park Lodge 10 years ago.

The Ōhakune resident sold the lodge last year, but kept the two carriages, which sit on a sloping 600sq m section across the road.

With plans to buy some land, Robertson has now put the quirky rental investment on the market for $265,000 plus GST.

He said the properties would be great for two families who could have a carriage each for ski holidays and rent them out when they are not using them. Alternatively one could be used as a holiday home and the other as a rental investment.

"They are set up pretty well for families and small groups of friends."

The carriages are managed by Rimu Park at present, but Robertson said there was potential to increase the 12 per cent or so yield by also listing them on holiday rental sites such as Airbnb, Book a Bach and Bachcare.

The converted 1940s railway carriages have three separate living spaces and sleep up to six people. Photo / Supplied

The converted 1940s railway carriages have three separate living spaces and sleep up to six people. Photo / Supplied

Each carriage rents for $220 a night for up to six people in winter and $120 for two people in the town's quieter summer season.

"They are very good little earners and they are something different."

Robertson said he had already had a lot of interest in them and had turned down offers of about $200,000.

"I know what I want to get for them and I think they are worth that."

He said the carriages' uniqueness and being reasonably priced made them a big hit with guests.

"They love them. They are just something unique. You get everything from guys who are into trains and a lot of families - you know, Thomas the Tank Engine - kids love it. It's the big drawcard. And couples who want something different."

The train carriages were built by NZ Rail in the 1940s.

Robertson believed they had been on the site for at least 20 years and said they had been transported there on the back of a truck by a previous owner of Rimu Park.

Robertson has sold another older-style carriage that is now being run as a bed and breakfast in Palmerston North.

The carriages are a three-minute walk to the Junction's bar and restaurants and a 20-minute drive to Turoa's ski field.

While winter is the busiest time of year in the area, Robertson thinks the development of a bike track and plans to build a gondola at Turoa this summer offer a lot of potential for it to become a year-round destination.

Average property prices in Ruapehu District have jumped 12.7 per cent from $195,448 in June 2018 to $220,336 last month, according to QV.

The $25 million Sky Waka gondola at Whakapapa opened this month.

 

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