Davies family's big resort plans
A Rich Lister family wants to build a plush new golf resort near Arrowtown.
Sir John Davies' company Trojan Holdings, which owns Queenstown's skifield operator NZSki, has submitted plans to the local council for a 'Hogans Gully Golf Resort Zone' on 132 hectares of uneconomic farmland at Arrow Junction.
The 18-hole championship course has been designed by local former golf pro Greg Turner to relieve peak-season pressure on the resort's other main tourism courses.
Also planned are a clubhouse, pro shop and restaurant, luxury lodge and five or six clusters of residential house sites.
The land is largely owned by the Davies family's company Hogans Gully Farming Ltd.
Sir John's son Michael lives there.
"There's probably not much other land that lends itself to a golf course within the Wakatipu Basin," Michael Davies says.
"Rather than a large housing development out there in 15 to 20 years' time, I think it's a great use to have some green space in the basin.
"I also think the undulating land lends itself to hiding some house sites."
The site's three kilometres from Arrowtown and is bordered by the Lake Hayes-Arrow Junction highway to the south, McDonnell Road to the east, Hogans Gully Rd to the west and the exclusive Bendemeer subdivision to the east.
In its district plan submission, Trojan Holdings stresses the development's 'low impact' philosophy and its plans to enhance the site's ecological values, including wetlands.
Davies says Hogans Gully will be a public golf course rather than a private one like jeweller Sir Michael Hill's nearby course, The Hills.
He's also discussed taking irrigation water from the Arrow irrigation race which runs through the property.
Turner says the terrain's a lot more rugged and rustic than The Hills and Arrowtown's other championship course, Millbrook Resort.
"There's parts in there that are quite dramatic, and it's just another beautiful part of the basin."
In his submission to the district plan hearings panel early this year, Turner said "there is significant concern about the lack of [golf course] inventory in the Queenstown region limiting the potential for growth in this tourism sector".
"I have observed that there is significant pressure on availability in the peak season (January to April) and the growth in international television and media coverage of the NZ Open [at The Hills and Millbrook] seems likely to add more pressure to the limited supply."
Like The Hills, Millbrook and Queenstown's Jack's Point, Turner says Hogans Gully will also be an international-standard course - 6500 to 7000 metres long off the championship tees.
"It would be very capable of hosting any event."
Turner - who designed Millbrook's nine-hole extension and an unbuilt course at Gibbston - says the difference between skiing and golf is visiting golfers like to play different courses each day.
"You want to bring them back for a second or third visit, so if you're bringing on new product, that creates an impetus to do that."
Paddy Baxter, whose Baxter Design Group is the resort's master planner and landscape architect, says Hogans Gully is a unique piece of land "with folds and landscape forms you won't find anywhere else in the Wakatipu".
"The important thing is that you'll be able to drive around the surrounding roads and you won't be able to see it."
Baxter says the resort will have a traditional Central Otago style.
"We want to keep sheep around the edges of the golf course."