Property Ref: 24886

add to watchlist
remove from watchlist

Catlins Whistling Frog Cafe & Holiday Park - Lease or Buy

Catlins Whistling Frog Cafe & Holiday Park - Lease or Buy 1Catlins Whistling Frog Cafe & Holiday Park - Lease or Buy 2Catlins Whistling Frog Cafe & Holiday Park - Lease or Buy 3Catlins Whistling Frog Cafe & Holiday Park - Lease or Buy 4Catlins Whistling Frog Cafe & Holiday Park - Lease or Buy 5Catlins Whistling Frog Cafe & Holiday Park - Lease or Buy 6Catlins Whistling Frog Cafe & Holiday Park - Lease or Buy 7Catlins Whistling Frog Cafe & Holiday Park - Lease or Buy 8Catlins Whistling Frog Cafe & Holiday Park - Lease or Buy 9Catlins Whistling Frog Cafe & Holiday Park - Lease or Buy 10Catlins Whistling Frog Cafe & Holiday Park - Lease or Buy 11Catlins Whistling Frog Cafe & Holiday Park - Lease or Buy 12Catlins Whistling Frog Cafe & Holiday Park - Lease or Buy 13Catlins Whistling Frog Cafe & Holiday Park - Lease or Buy 14Catlins Whistling Frog Cafe & Holiday Park - Lease or Buy 15Catlins Whistling Frog Cafe & Holiday Park - Lease or Buy 16Catlins Whistling Frog Cafe & Holiday Park - Lease or Buy 17Catlins Whistling Frog Cafe & Holiday Park - Lease or Buy 18Catlins Whistling Frog Cafe & Holiday Park - Lease or Buy 19Catlins Whistling Frog Cafe & Holiday Park - Lease or Buy 20Catlins Whistling Frog Cafe & Holiday Park - Lease or Buy 21Catlins Whistling Frog Cafe & Holiday Park - Lease or Buy 22Catlins Whistling Frog Cafe & Holiday Park - Lease or Buy 23Catlins Whistling Frog Cafe & Holiday Park - Lease or Buy 24Catlins Whistling Frog Cafe & Holiday Park - Lease or Buy 25Catlins Whistling Frog Cafe & Holiday Park - Lease or Buy 26Catlins Whistling Frog Cafe & Holiday Park - Lease or Buy 27Catlins Whistling Frog Cafe & Holiday Park - Lease or Buy 28
  • 1.-Southwest-view-of-park.JPG
  • 2.-Gatekeepers-cottage-and-cafe.JPG
  • 3.-Park-overview-to-north.JPG
  • 4.-Drainfields-and-Staff-building.JPG
  • 5.-Motel-Exterior.jpg
  • 6.-whistlingfrogsignage1-1.jpg
  • 7.-Whistling-Frog-Entrance.jpg
  • 8.-Parkpeopleapril-009.jpg
  • 9.-Staff-quarters-building.jpg
  • 10.-Chalet-exterior.jpg
  • 11.-Cabin-interior.jpg
  • 12.-Campervan-group.jpg
  • 13.-Waipati-Beach-behind-farm.jpg
  • 14.-Atrium-dining-area.jpg
  • 15.-Cabin-ext.jpg
  • 16.-Motel-outdoor-area.jpg
  • 17.-Gold-plate-award.jpg
  • 18.-Tautuku-Beach.jpg
  • 19.-Cafe-interior.jpg
  • 20.-Sea-cave-in-cliff.jpg
  • 22-River-shot.jpg
  • 23-View-of-caves-entrance-from-beach-at-angle2.jpg
  • Further-room-to-develop.jpg
  • Panorama.jpg
  • to-staff-accom.jpg
  • Looking-across-to-new-staff-accom.jpg
  • Restaurant-inside.jpg
  • Sunroom-area.jpg

Property Information

The Whistling Frog Resort is a substantial freehold property and business in the hub of the Catlins region - an emerging eco-tourism destination with huge potential. This represents a strategic opportunity for a significant operator and/or investor to establish a dominant position in the area.

This property would be regarded as the largest, most comprehensive eco-tourism complex in the growing Catlins region. The concept was to provide a one-stop dining and accommodation experience in a pristine environment to complement the many local attractions on offer. High-end adventure tour companies are now increasingly utilizing the resort for group stop-overs so that visitors can take in the spectacular attractions in the area. The resort offers a variety of accommodation units and the on-site restaurant/café caters to large groups with quality food.

The ‘eco- tourism’ industry is growing at approximately 10-30 percent per annum, with many of these visitors coming from Australia, the United States, Europe and increasingly, China and Asia. New Zealand nationals and overseas visitors are now also discovering the Catlins area for the first time. As a genuine eco-tourism hub and destination, the Whistling Frog Resort already delivers solid revenue but has genuine potential for significant development and growth.

Sitting in the epi-centre of the 56,000 hectare Catlins Coastal Rainforest at the busy intersection of the Southern Scenic Route and Rewcastle Road, in the Chaslands Nature Reserve, the resort is the perfect base for visitors to experience the beauty and tranquillity of this rugged and pristine coastal wilderness.

Walk along deserted beaches, forest tracks, beside rivers and absorb the feeling of isolation and solitude. Visit areas where flocks of seabirds including Shags, Gannets and Shearwaters and occasionally penguins can be seen. Royal Spoonbills nest on one of the islands off the coast. Other spectacular attractions include the McLean Falls, the highest and arguably the most spectacular water-falls in the Catlins, and the Cathedral Caves, one of the largest sea caves complexes in the world. Tautuku beach, just a few kilometres away, is spectacular for its untamed beauty. The area abounds with interesting native flora and fauna. It is one of the only places where Hoi Ho Penguins, Fur Seals, Hookers Sea lions and Elephant Seals coexist. And visitors can see the rare Hector’s dolphins in their natural habitat.

What is For Sale?

The resort property’s design is based on the ‘permaculture’ model developed by Australian author, Bill Mollison, in which each portion of the project has been designed to maximize income and land use in the most efficient and sustainable way possible. Each ‘economic zone’ purposefully contributes to the whole enterprise.

A theme of re-purposed buildings initially provided the basis for the rapid expansion of the accommodation offerings and promotes the environmental sustainability of the project.

All components of the resort are separate profit centres carefully designed to complement each other. These include:

  1. Amalgamated 6+/- hectare freehold sub-divided parcel of land
  2. Infrastructure including deep-water bore site, drain-field and expansion paddocks, with tunnel house and cafe vegetable garden
  3. The Whistling Frog Cafe & Bar, with reception centre and excursions booking office, which supports the accommodation complex. Purpose-built in 2005 it forms the first ‘meet and greet’ sales point, generating all-day income and bookings for both passing trade and park guests
  4. ‘Nature’ accommodation complex is adjacent to the Whistling Frog Cafe & Bar in a separate space to the café
  5. Children’s playground located next to the cafe
  6. Owner/Manager Accommodation – 3-bdrm ‘Gatekeeper’s Cottage’ constructed in 2012 to anchor the park facility and provide for future key management teams and/or an on-site manager. It is positioned at the entrance to the park and adjacent to the café
  7. Original 3-bdrm brick farmhouse located on a sunny, sheltered, mature section above the park. This is ideal for re-development into owner’s accommodation unit if desired, and is complete with associated infrastructure, including sleep-outs and garaging
  8. ‘The Park’ with accommodation complex complements the café by providing a safe, comfortable accommodation option for patrons and tourists who do not wish to ‘drink and drive’. The accommodation units in turn generate quality clientele for the café and contribute significant revenue to the overall business. This area is fully self-contained including a full Park laundry infrastructure building which serves as the laundry room, staff break room with kitchen, sitting room, shower and toilet. An outdoor solar drying building saves drying costs and provides dry storage for mowers and small tools. Glass bottles are ground on-site and the recycled ‘sand’ is used around the park property.
  9. The Park comprises internal guest-roading with white pebble overlay, an amenities shower, toilet and kitchen block, plus coin- operated laundry. There is a private disabled bathroom in the ablution block. Immediately adjacent to the amenities block is a common building for use by park guests providing covered outdoor seating and TV room, information centre and guest lounge is. A separate five-person dorm room is also included in the common building.
    • The property can sleep over 90 guests in beds. It comprises many configurations depending on budget and level of luxury desired.
    • A Dorm Room, sleeps up to five, is located within the common building next to the amenities. Intended for the budget traveller this includes two single beds plus double bunk beds with single on top.
    • ‘Kiwiana’ cabins x 12, with covered veranda, are historic and have been fully restored and enhanced. Each sleep up to two persons, catering to the “comfy - not too many-frills” market.
    • Motel-studio, ensuite rooms x 7, with dedicated adjoining kitchen and common area intended to service the ‘mid-range’ market.
    • Self-contained Chalets x 5 - near new, luxury and very popular, (one with disabled access). Purpose-built, these self-contained, one bedroom, chalets cater to parties of four or five depending on the configuration.
    • ‘Bellbird’ cottage 2-bedroom, self-contained, disabled compliant, available for parties of up to six.
    • 36 x powered campervan sites, on level all-weather spaces. Common showers, plus one disabled compliant and kitchen plus coin-op laundry included.
    • Common Building, with TV Room and Information Centre, outside covered seating, in a private setting with lawn area.
    • Unpowered Van & Camping Tent sites, sheltered grass areas.
    • Multi-Purpose Conference Building, with large modern kitchen facilities, covered deck, fireplace, large flat screen TV and gathering area, New 2018.
    • Custom Motel Complex with 5 x ensuites, plus 5 x shared-bathroom units in the rear, laundry & disabled compliant, which can be used for staff or groups. New 2018.
  10. Out-buildings including two sleep-outs that can sleep 7, with a kitchen and toilet, a double lockup garage with sleep-out, three-bay shed for firewood and storage, a pump-house and tunnel house.


The operation has 10-15 core employees assisting with housekeeping and the restaurant. The balance of the year is serviced by permanent on-site management, with hospitality experience and a small café/house-keeping team. The restaurant is open from October until June and then closed in the Winter months July to September.


This substantial business would suit an aggressive business consortium with experience in the hotel, guided-tour and/or hospitality industry and seeking reliable ROI with significant growth potential.

The current owners recognise great potential in developing and/or taking ownership of tours and attractions in the area to secure the revenue from what is effectively a captive market.

By using the Whistling Frog Resort as a ‘tour base’ and ‘sales office,’ an existing and experienced tour company could introduce a wide range of value-added Catlins excursion activities. There is also scope in the ‘off-season’ of Autumn/Winter for Aurora Australis and Black Sky star-gazing experiences.

We welcome your enquiry, please contact the specialist Tourism & Hospitality Business Broker, Peter Gale on 021 608 107 or email:


The owners have put together a very a Vision Statement for any purchaser of the amazing business opportunity:

The Vision:
The  goal has been to create a high income property in the middle of the undiscovered and pristine Catlins Coastal Conservation Park. In 2001, the vendors purchased an 850 acre mixed sheep & beef farm to provide a strategic Catlins foothold and to take advantage of what they saw as a future business opportunity to reap a benefit from explosive tourism growth that was expected in the Catlins when the final portion of the Southern Scenic Route was tar sealed.

The vendors have transformed this property into a tourism hub that provides a lifestyle, a personal retreat, an excellent income and a legacy to pass on to future generations. With solid marketing growth and earnings, this property is now mature. It is time for the next operators to capitalize on this vision and take the venture to the next significant income level.

Paul and Lynn Bridson, the owners  wanted  to preserve the special character and feel of the space, close to the cities of Dunedin, Stewart Island and Invercargill on the now popular Southern Scenic Route. It falls conveniently in the link between tourism hubs of Queenstown and Dunedin, via Invercargill, Stewart Island, Fjordland and Te Anau. The “Central Otago rail trail” bike path also provides a number of visitors.

The nature-based tourism industry is estimated to be growing at approximately 10-30 percent per annum, with fully 15% of these visitors coming from Australia, the United States, Europe and increasingly, China and Asia. Many New Zealand nationals and overseas visitors are now discovering the Catlins. Many tour companies are now using the resort as a tourist base for their groups, because of the location and availability of on – site dining.

To access and download full confidential individual files on businesses for sale on this website, you must first be registered and have ticked the box that you agree to the strict terms and conditions of the confidentiality agreement provided by - A two minute process! If you are already registered, you can request full access to this listing’s confidential files by logging in with your existing user name and password. Peter Gale will quickly respond confirming your approval. When your business broker, Peter Gale, emails you access approval you must be logged in to this website to download the confidential files.

  • Taking-the-Scenic-Route-Otago-Daily-Times-Story.docx - 26.4 KB

  • Valuation.pdf - 1.6 MB

  • Financials WFRL-SALE-OF-BUS-2016.pdf - 282.3 KB

  • Business-Plan.pdf - 405.4 KB

  • Whistling-Frog-site-plan.pdf - 461.2 KB

  • Proposed staff area floor plan - 53.1 KB

  • Whistling-Frog-Summary-Dec-2018-prepared-by-owners.pdf - 3.0 MB

A selection of Tripadvisor comments:

Warm, Comforable Lodgings in the Middle of the Catlins Rainforest.”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 26 February 2015
After a beautiful drive through the Catlins rainforest on the way to Invergargill, out of curiosity, I pulled into The Whistling Frog Café and Bar. This place is essentially a van park in between Dunedin and Invercargil. They have camping and van site , with the option cabins, which I opted for. Once the heater was on , the cabin was comfy and cosy, with all the necessary basics. If, like myself, you rolled up without food, the restaurant/ bar had a wide array of food available, albeit not opening for breakfast until 10 am. If you had food with you, they have a fully functional communal kitchen. Located where it is, you might easily drive right by, but you will certainaly miss a beautiful part of the south coast. There are several beautiful rainforest walks , right out of the park and more off the beaten trail than other walks I encountered. Also this is a great point to head out late afternoon to view the sealions at Curio Bay. The staff are very helpful and you wont be disappointed by pulling up here, if only for a coffee. Visited October 2014

A welcome break”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 21 February 2015
We stopped on a trip in round the Catlins.
Some beautiful scenery en route but none to look at there.
Service was great and staff very helpful.
Outside seating area clean as was inside.
Toilets clean.
Worth a visit. Visited February 2015

“Value for money”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 8 February 2015
What a delight to take our guest to this lovely Cafe. Excellent service, great food and not over priced. The Cafe was busy however the service was quick but we were not rushed. We will certainly be returning to The Whistling Frog Cafe & recommending to the Guests that stay at the HeritageHub Caravan Park at Tuapeka Mouth. (for self contained campers) Visited February 2015

“An unexpected treat”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 4 February 2015
What a wonderful setting, in the heart of the Catlins. We stopped on a wet and windy day and felt so welcomed by the friendly staff. You must try their blue cod - in fact try everything - it is all delicious.
Visited December 2014

“Fantastic place!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 February 2015
We stumbled across this place as we were trying to find somewhere to stay for the night. The accommodation was clean and we liked the eco-friendly aspect of it. The staff were super friendly and went out of their way to help us. Definitely recommend!!

“Can't wait to go back”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 February 2015
Spent a week staying here just after New Years. Amazing experience! We stayed in a reasonably priced cabin with shared facilities. Showers and toilets were clean and no charge for Hot water! Cabin included a tv with DVD player (free dvd hire at cafe) & side table with kettle. As we were staying for a while we were able to experience breakfast, lunch & dinner, all of which exceeded our expectations. The bar had a good selection of beers, ciders & cocktails, it made my partner smile to see Boundary Road flying Fortress on tap - legends!
Staff were very attentive and helpful we had a Vegetarian with us & even though there was a vege option, they went above and beyond to create a meal for him that wasn't on the menu! Breakfast you can't go past the big breakfast with Scrambled eggs! Yum!! For lunch I highly recommend the Kiwi lamb burger! Its Divine! Comes out on a big rustic wooden board with homemade aioli & fries seasoned with paprika. And my favorite for dinner was the steak, perfectly cooked at MR it was juicy and tender, the mushroom filo was a nice touch. Can't wait to go back. Already planning our next trip! Visited January 2015

“Best meal ever!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 28 January 2015
I had heard amazing things about The Whistling Frog and when I arrived there it was even better than I had hoped. The wait staff were lovely, attentive and went all out to make sure a great experience was had.
I ordered the Seafood Chowder which was literally the best I've ever had, such fresh ingredients and wonderful food for somewhere in the middle of no where. Over my stay I also had a couple of other meals including their big breakfast which had bacon fresh from their smoker which was done that morning and the lamb burger for lunch which had a home made pattie. You can definitely tell that the wait staff and kitchen staff put a lot of thought ad effort into their food and their service. I also met Sonic their family dog who is a friendly chap who comes to hangout with the guests as the holiday park welcomes dogs / is dog friendly for travellers which I feel makes for a homely atmosphere. I left The Whistling Frog happy and satisfied, definitely worth checking out as one of the main attractions and experiences in the Catlins. Visited January 2015

 “Great place”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 28 January 2015
Great place to base yourself whilst roaming around the catlins. Rented a chalet was just perfect everything I needed very cute, beautiful park to stay. I strolled to the whistling frog for food and a few cleansing ales excellent service, yummy chowder and hail to the ale. Will defiantly return.

“Absolutely fantastic!!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 25 January 2015
We hooked our caravan on and drove. We came across this place and pulled in. The staff were friendly. We booked in for a night. The cafe was clean and very well presented. The food was amazing. We ended up having all our meals here. Will defiantly be going back and taking friends with us.
Highly recommend walking up to the then waterfall there as well

“Great food and facilities”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 25 January 2015
After walking to the falls, we stopped in for lunch. It was peak season, and they should have had at least one more staff member waiting tables. Great to use a flushing toilet after all the DoC longdrops! It was nice to see a children's menu that wasn't just fries and chicken nuggets (or similar); there were actually sophisticated choices for a small person. I had the most delicious pie I have ever eaten. Visited January 2015

“Great place to stop”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 24 January 2015
Just popped in for something to eat before walking to the water falls. All I can say is great service and food. Next time i will make it a stop over.

“Hidden Gem”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 10 January 2015
As we were travelling from Dunedin to Invercargill on the Southern Scenic Route we decided to take time to explore the area and booked in to the Whistling Frog for one night in a cabin. We opted for the Stay and dine package and we were not disappointed. The meal was one of the best we have had in quite some time, the staff were friendly and efficient and the food was fantastic. We will definitely be returning next time we are in New Zealand

 “Amazing in every way!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 4 January 2015
The whole experience at Whistling Frog Cafe and Bar was perfection. The staff are very friendly and exceed expectations of making my partner, and our young children and I feel very welcome and comfortable. They have created a family feel, and was truly a positive experience for us all. Our chalet accomodation was pristine and in a lovely native setting....