Media Releases

Queenstown's award-winning Millbrook Resort still flying high after 20 years

Fri, 8th Mar 2013

Queenstown’s multi-award-winning Millbrook Resort marked an important milestone, on March 6 2013, celebrating twenty years since it first opened its gates.

Now employing almost 250 staff, the luxury golf and lifestyle resort is the largest in the South Island, contributing extensively to the local economy over the years.

Known the world over as one of the most picturesque golf resorts in the world, Millbrook is still privately owned by the Japanese family who created the development in 1993.

Founders Eiichi and Hiroko Ishii and their son, managing director Gota Ishii, together with Gota’s wife Miki and daughter Milly, are at the resort to join in the festivities and represent three generations of the Ishii family.

Eiichi Ishii said he and his family were “immensely proud” to have reached such a significant milestone in the resort’s history.

“Over twenty years ago our family’s vision was to create a nice place for nice people, a place where everyone could come and enjoy the wonderful lifestyle and surrounding scenery,” Mr Ishii senior said.

“Staying true to the land’s history was important from the outset, and we’re thrilled to have created an award-winning luxury golf resort while maintaining the beauty of the natural environment. Our coming of age cements Millbrook’s position as a trusted golf and lifestyle resort that’s stood the test of time.”

A special event to celebrate the birthday will be on Friday March 8 2013, at Millbrook’s Clubhouse and attended by the Ishii family, Country Club members and other guests.

Millbrook receives numerous awards and accolades every year and has developed into a thriving resort set amid 500 acres of pristine alpine landscape. Operating a successful luxury hotel, award-winning day spa, world-class 27-hole golf course, numerous restaurants and conference, incentive and wedding venues, Millbrook has been voted the Leading Golf Resort in Australasia for three years running.

When the resort first opened in 1993, there was no health and fitness centre, swimming pool or spa, the golf shop was housed in what is now the Hole in One bar, it boasted an 18-hole championship course designed by Sir Bob Charles and accommodation was in a small number of Hotel Villas.

Fast forward to 2013 and now Millbrook has 175 hotel rooms, multi-million-dollar homes and a range of neighbourhood ‘clusters’ scattered around the existing and newly-developed areas bordering the new 27-hole course (the original Sir Bob Charles course re-configured and an additional nine holes added in the mid 2000’s by Turner McPherson Golf Design).

It has a purpose-built driving range and a number of restaurants, as well as new spaces catering perfectly for weddings, conference and incentive and other meetings.

It has its own real estate company Millbrook Realty Ltd to cater for sales and re-sales, and the resort’s success has been widespread with properties re-sold and new developments unveiled annually, including Taramea Square, McEntyres Tarn, Coronet Square and the recently released Mica Ridge.

Millbrook has also gone from strength to strength in 20 years thanks to its members, with some owners now living in their third or fourth property at the resort and second generation members coming through.

Millbrook Property and Development Manager Ben O’Malley said it was a wonderful achievement to celebrate two decades in business, through boom times and worldwide economic crises.
“The Ishii’s vision and investment into the golf course, its development and facilities was a bold yet strategic move to place Millbrook and Central Otago as a world-class golfing destination in Australasia,” said Mr O’Malley.
In the early years Millbrook were lone pioneers in New Zealand in this endeavour and the development was not without its doubters. Twenty years on the Ishii’s decision to invest has been vindicated.

“New Zealand, and particularly Queenstown, has a lifestyle appeal that is growing significantly in both international and national property markets. Millbrook, in its stunning Central Otago location, provides superb architecturally-designed homes that are beautifully finished within 20 minutes’ drive of a booming year-round destination,” he said.

“With every new development we have continued to enhance Millbrook’s reputation for quality and buyers have responded to that by continuing to invest at Millbrook.”

The future of Millbrook is bright, with plans to grow its membership base and to expand the resort to the west with more neighbourhoods over the next 10 years.

“There are no other developments in New Zealand that have Millbrook’s solid history and reputation. While our history as Millbrook Resort spans an impressive twenty years, our heritage dates back even further to the 1860s when Frenchman Peter Butel set about planting the now towering trees that adorn the property and constructed his farm yard with stone crofts in a quadrangle that is traditional in Europe,” said Mr O’Malley.

“Millbrook really has been 150 years in the making and is an iconic property known throughout the world!”


For further media information please contact:
Julie Jolley, Sales and Marketing Manager
T: +64 3 441 7047

About Millbrook

Set in a natural, alpine amphitheatre against a backdrop of snow-capped mountain ranges on the outskirts of world-renowned tourism destination Queenstown, Millbrook was formerly a wheat farm with a 150-year history. It’s retained many heritage features including the original Millhouse, rustic buildings and a majestic avenue of trees.

Millbrook features five-star accommodation, world class dining, the Spa at Millbrook (ranked among the Top Ten in the World), a health and fitness centre, a championship 27-hole golf course, covered driving range, swimming pool, outdoor spa pools, tennis courts and kilometres of biking and walking trails.

Nearby you can enjoy the gold rush era village of Arrowtown with its many restaurants, museums and shops. Queenstown’s attractions include a wide range of activities, wineries, easy access to five ski areas, great nightlife and award-winning restaurants and bars.

Some of the key recognitions Millbrook has won over recent years include:

  • Best Asia Pacific Golf Course at the Shanghai Travelers’ Club 2013 Luxury Travel Awards
  • Voted No 1 Hotel in New Zealand in the 2013 Trip Advisor Travellers' Choice Awards
  • Voted as one of the Top 25 Hotels in the South Pacific and Top 25 Luxury Hotels in New Zealand in the 2013 Trip Advisor Travellers' Choice Awards
  • Voted Leading Golf Resort in Australasia at the World Travel Awards in 2010, 2011 and 2012
  • Voted Leading Golf Resort in New Zealand at the World Travel Awards in 2011 and 2012
  • The Millhouse was awarded the Wine Spectator Magazine Award for Wine Excellence in June 2012
  • Executive Chef, Russell Heron and The Millhouse was awarded the Beef & Lamb Award for Excellence in 2011 and 2012
  • Executive Chef, Russell Heron was the New Zealand Beef & Lamb Ambassador 2010
  • Named Best Overseas Golf Resort by Luxury Travel Magazine Australia in 2010, 2011 and 2nd Best in 2012