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World interest in New Zealand mountain village sale

By Phil Mercer
BBC News, Sydney

image captionChristine Hennah and her husband have owned the village for years

Offers have been flooding in for an isolated village in New Zealand that is on sale for just over US$700,000 (£465,400).

Up for sale in Otira are a pub, a fire station, a village hall and 18 houses that lie in the Arthur's Pass National Park in New Zealand's Southern Alps.

Otira has been put on the market by its owners, who plan to retire.

Interest has come from as far afield as Asia and Scandinavia.

The remote spot, which is overlooked by spectacular snowcapped mountains, is on a major highway and a historic railway line.

World interest

The TranzAlpine train that ferries holiday-makers from Christchurch to Greymouth rumbles through twice a day.

Christine Hennah has owned the village for more than a decade with her husband but now wants to retire.

She says interest has come in from around the world.

"We have kind of been inundated with emails and phone calls and whatever and I'm just handing them on to a land agent now because I couldn't handle them all.

"I've had a person from China ring me about buying the place. I had several from Australia ring, lots from New Zealand.

There was somebody else - I'm not sure where he was from - Norway or Sweden, somewhere like that.

"And it is just a beautiful place to live."

Stunning it may well be, but winters in Otira, which is 1,000 metres above sea level, can be very cold and windy.

Still, the 44 people who live in the former railway hub say its rugged beauty is hard to beat and would be an ideal retreat for anyone looking to escape the stresses of life in the city.

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