Millbrook is now one of the world best golf and lifestyle resorts, but it's rich history dates back to the 1800s.
The land on which Millbrook now calls home was first discovered by Maori and much later by Europeans, lured to the region by tales of a gold rush. In the 1860s, it was the French brothers John and Peter Butel from Normandy who established a 450 acre wheat farm to feed hungry miners. The rustic remains of the farm live on in Millbrook's restored buildings and The Avenue of trees that still welcomes visitors just as it did 150 years ago.
In the sombre years of World War One, the land was transformed into a tent city. A hospital for the injured Kiwi soldiers returning from Europe, soldiers were nurtured by the natural amphitheatre of Millbrook and the soothing majesty of the mountains helping to heal their body and soul. After World War Two the land was returned to its farming roots, but it wasn’t until four decades later that a new vision was born. In 1993 the Ishii family, who still own the resort today, set out to create a resort of international standing built in harmony with the land.
The trees in The Avenue were planted in 1867 and the plaque beneath the first tree commemorates that event. On that day, two-year-old Mary Cotter watched the seedlings being planted and workmen said if she skipped around it they would name the tree after her. Mary is of course no longer with us, but local legend says that skipping around that very same tree all these year later still brings good luck.
Nowadays, Millbrook is a five star golf and lifestyle resort. A pioneer in the luxury lodge industry of New Zealand, Millbrook Resort is a place for everyone and the perfect place to escape the rat race, relax and unwind.
The 12th March was an historic day for Millbrook Resort as Mr Eiichi Ishii, the visionary behind the resort was presented with the keys to Arrowtown. In a special presentation which took place as part of the 2015 BMW New Zealand Open opening ceremony, an event which Millbrook Resort proudly co-hosted with The Hills, Mr Ishii was honoured with the keys alongside fellow visionary Sir Michael Hill, to a magnificent applause. Mr Ishii’s wife, his son Gota and family were at his side for the occasion which marked a wonderful moment for the family. As he spoke to the hundreds of people gathered in his honour, Mr Ishii simply described his vision for Millbrook as ‘a nice place for nice people,’ and ‘paradise on earth.’