'Shiny new diamond' on NSW's Mid North Coast has prospective buyers digging deep into their pockets
About 200 hectares of the property remains native bushland.

'Shiny new diamond' on NSW's Mid North Coast has prospective buyers digging deep into their pockets

A rare 243-hectare property listed for sale on the NSW coast is shaping up as a battleground between resort operators and wealthy families.

Eco resort Mansfield Estate is 25 kilometres south of Port Macquarie, a seaside city that has become “the shiny new diamond” on the state’s Mid North Coast.

The sheer size of the property, in addition to its location about halfway between Sydney and Brisbane, has prospective buyers digging deep into their pockets.

“I don’t think you will ever find it again that close to a major regional centre – especially on the coast,” says listing agent Martin Newell of Percival Property.

The property is owned by Helen and Paul Mansfield, who bought 743 Ocean Drive in Grants Beach in 2012. The couple were looking for new holiday accommodation after the Uniting Church conference centre, where the Mansfield family had holidayed for 50 years, was sold.

Mansfield Estate
The estate is a popular wedding destination.

Paul found a 243-hectare block of land, with about 40 hectares cleared for pastural land, while the rest was native bushland running from Queens Lake to the ocean.

“I nearly had a heart attack,” recalls Helen. “I thought ‘how are we going to mow this lawn and look after it?’ We’re city people.”

The property was used as a family holiday destination for years, with a suite of double room accommodation built.

“In 2019, we both quit our jobs to have a sabbatical year in 2020,” says Helen. “The whole idea of commercialising the site … was not something we were going to do – maybe in 10 or 15 years.”

But when the pandemic scuttled their travel plans, the pair stayed at their Grants Beach property and got to work, expanding it into an eco resort and function space. “As we started bringing the venue up to commercial standard, we realised weddings were a big thing,” Helen says.

Most of the buildings are upcycled shipping containers, powered by a 50-kilowatt solar system. “I wanted it completely off the grid and self-sufficient. I didn’t want to rely on electricity or water.”

Helen, who sits on the board of the Greater Port Macquarie Tourism Association, says holidaymakers are increasingly looking for environmentally-conscious options.

“People want to travel without the guilt of a carbon footprint,” she says. “People don’t have to feel guilty about staying here.”

Mansfield Estate
The estate includes guest accommodation and function space.

Like many regional destinations, Port Macquarie has benefited from a surge in tourist numbers since the pandemic – helped along by the revamped airport and the M1 freeway slashing travel times from Sydney and Queensland.

“Tourism has gone through the roof,” says Helen. “The Byron, Newcastle and Hunter areas are all very expensive now. They’re difficult places to holiday in. Even Coffs Harbour has become very tired. Port Macquarie has become the shiny new diamond on the Mid North Coast.”

While weddings have been very successful – with most weekends booked out for next year – the property also lends itself to wellness retreats, corporate and community events, as well as large family getaways.

“The value is its location – fully private yet not isolated,” says Helen. “It really has the potential to be anything anyone wants it to be.”

The couple had previously planned to diversify income streams by offering camping, and activities like golf or horse-riding.

The selling agent would not disclose a price guide for the property, but was “very confident” it would sell.

Much smaller 40-hectare rural properties fetch a minimum of $2 million – without any resort infrastructure, accommodation or ocean views.

Newell has received strong interest from resort companies looking to develop the site further, and high-net-worth individuals “who may buy it for themselves”. 

“I’m surprised by how many people out there are shopping with that kind of money,” he adds.

Expressions of interest are set to close on October 17, unless the property is sold prior.