Despite being a fairly popular emigration destination for some time, many Hongkongers now only know New Zealand through the spectacularly scenic locations in the Lord of the Rings movies, that sparked an influx of visitors seeking to put themselves in the picture via themed guided tours.
Luxury property sales benefited. Demand was fed by overseas investors, including wealthy Asians and Americans who regard New Zealand as a cut-price paradise.
'Imagine waking up to breathtaking views of the mountains and ocean,' says Tony Ramlose, CEO of Piece of Paradise, which targets overseas buyers. 'As overseas investors seek to spread their increasing wealth, New Zealand's open approach to immigration and the government's softening stance on investor migrants is fuelling the demand that Lord of the Rings initiated.'
Garry Knapp, sales manager at Premium Real Estate Group, believes New Zealand's diversity is its defining feature. 'New Zealand offers the whole range of luxury options from absolute waterfronts, stunning clifftops and breathtaking alpine. What makes New Zealand such a unique location - other than its world-renown as a clean, green haven - is the variety of landscape options it offers without having to negotiate the vast, exhausting distances of most continents,' he says.
The most sought-after luxury property includes waterfront and clifftop homes along the Bay of Islands and Hibiscus Coast on North Island; lifestyle properties in Coatesville and Albany, north of Auckland's central business district and lake and mountain options in locations such as Nelson, Wanaka and Queenstown in the cooler South Island.
Premium Real Estate's offerings include a spectacular seafront landmark property on Kitchener Road on Auckland's North Shore coast in Milford.
This 750-square-metre residence on 1,234 square metres of prime land commands panoramic views of the Hauraki Gulf.
On Clifton Road in Takapuna on North Shore, another home has stunning sea views.
These properties are being marketed in the NZ$6 million (HK$41 million) range.