When Sarah Meadows and Matt Young decided to restore a heritage building, they had no idea what 2020 had in store for them.
The building, located on the waterfront in downtown Tauranga, needed earthquake strengthening and a full restoration. The pair started the process in January 2020—meaning renovations were in full swing when the borders closed and the country went into lockdown.
Despite the unexpected setback, the pair pushed through and managed to complete the work in time to open their doors to their first guests in October.
Thanks to the hard work and loving restoration, Sarah says bookings are now pouring in. "We are so excited to not only preserve an amazing old building, but to show off the beautiful Bay of Plenty to New Zealanders and international guests!"
Sarah and Matt have owned the business since 2004 and purchased the building in 2019, rebranding to Wanderlust NZ this year.
Keeping its characteristic features and having historical images of the building on display gives guests an insight to the history and story of the place.
"We have incredible artwork throughout the hostel, restored many of the unique building features and have tried to tell a story,” says Sarah. “We aim not just to be a place to stay, but an experience."
This story is part of TIA's #TourismChampions campaign. View more inspirational stories here.