Golfer’s Paradise Planned for Highlands
A world-class golf course and residential development are in the pipeline for Cromwell. Since it opened in 2013, Highlands has earned a reputation as an iconic motorsport and tourism attraction in Central Otago. Now, Highlands owner Tony Quinn has his sights set on another ambitious project.
“There are 58 hectares of forest down the back of the racetrack,” says Quinn. “If we can buy the land and get consent from the council then the plan is to build a world-class golf course and residential development next year.”
If that sounds far-fetched, then consider the fact that before Highlands opened in 2013, nobody could have envisioned a world-class racetrack in Cromwell.
“We don’t do things by halves,” says Highlands Chief Operations Officer, Josie Spillane. “We want people to come to Highlands to experience the exceptional and we’ve got plans for a first-class golf course and a high-end residential development.”
“We’re working with Brett Thomson, who is the top golf course designer in New Zealand and managed the design of Jacks Point, Clearwater Resort, The Hills and Windross Farm in Auckland. The sandy Cromwell soil is perfect for a golf course and Brett and Phil Tataurangi, who will be collaborating with Brett on the design, are very excited about the project. The plan is to showcase the natural environment with an inland links-style course.”
When Tony Quinn first visited Cromwell to view the piece of land that is now home to Highlands, the mountains reminded him of the Scottish Highlands in his homeland. The game of golf originated in Scotland so it’s kind of fitting that a Scotsman is building a golf course at Highlands.
“It wasn’t my idea,” says Quinn. “I’ve never been interested in golf. It doesn’t help that I’m useless at it! But a friend of mine called Grant Aitken convinced me that it would be a good thing for Cromwell and for our members. It’s succession planning. When our members get too old to drive cars, they can hop in a golf cart and play 18 holes! It will also be a beautiful spot to build a home, so the plan is to develop 100 residential sections that will have spectacular views of the golf course.”
“Golf complements the existing motorsport and tourism offering at Highlands. Golf tourism has overtaken the ski business in Central Otago and people come to Queenstown for a week and they play at Millbrook, The Hills and Jacks Point. Golfers like to play a different course every day and we can offer something very special. They can come to Highlands and play golf in the morning. They can have lunch in the cafe, have a drive around the track and do the wine tasting experience in the museum in the afternoon. We can offer them the full package.”
Spillane is equally excited about what it means for the region.
“Cromwell is positioned beautifully in the ‘Bermuda Triangle’ of tourism,” says Spillane. “You’ve got Wanaka, Queenstown, and Cromwell and the addition of another world-class tourism offering means that Cromwell can cater for the high-end tourist dollar. We want people to come and stay and play in the region which building a reputation for authentic world-class offerings.”
The Highlands Resort will be a high quality, high value offering to the domestic and international market just 45 minutes from Queenstown International Airport and the adventure capital of the world. The residential sections will offer fairway views in a private community nestled in the foothills of Bannockburn.
“It’s an opportunity for people to own their own piece of paradise in paradise,” says Spillane. “Golf membership will be a feature of the residential offering while our existing members at Highlands and Hampton Downs will also enjoy the benefits of the golf resort.”
“We’ve come a long way since we opened Highlands almost five years ago and we’re just getting started. We’re not afraid to be bold, direct or innovative and we’ve continued to deliver on our promise – to be exceptional. The golf course and residential development at Highlands will reflect the high standards we set for ourselves in everything we do.”