Playing cards at the Trotters Gorge Doc camp site are the
Newton family (clockwise, from front left) Joseph, Caleb,
father Kingi, mother Leani, Robin, grandmother Anne-marie
Hore, Thomas, Spencer and Sarah. Uncle Graeme Hore does
some laundry while Emily Newton reads a book. Photo by Jane
Spare dollars may be few and far between amid the global
financial crisis, but it has not stopped the Newton family from
going on a holiday during the summer break.
Kingi Newton, of Dunedin, his wife, Leani, and their seven
children, Emily (14), Caleb (13), Thomas (11), Spencer (8),
Sarah (6), Joseph (4) and Robin (2) are camping at the
Department of Conservation camp site at Trotters Gorge, and
are one of a growing number of families in New Zealand who
are holidaying at Doc camp sites and huts.
"We've got seven kids, so for us, the reason we stay here,
first and foremost, is because of cost," Mrs Newton said.
"Secondly, it's more back to nature compared with
[commercial] camping grounds.
"You have to shower in the creek and there's a spooky toilet
with spiders and cobwebs.
"There's no electricity or cellphone coverage. It's a proper
wilderness camp - the kids love it."
Mr Newton said it was the third year in a row the family had
camped at Trotters Gorge, and when it cost about $6 per
night, it was hard to go wrong.
"It's an escape from the stresses of life," he said.
A Doc spokeswoman said department figures showed the number
of children younger than 4 staying in Doc huts and camping
grounds had quadrupled in the past two years as New Zealand
families chose "value" destinations for their holidays.
And the number of 5- to 15-year-olds staying at Doc sites had
more than doubled, she said.
A survey commissioned by budgeting information service Sorted
found New Zealanders were planning to keep a lid on their
spending this year.
Almost 70% of respondents said they intended to spend the
same as, or less than, they did last Christmas on presents,
holidays, travel, food and alcohol.
Only a quarter of the respondents intended to increase their
House of Travel retail director Brent Thomas said domestic
travel had always been the most common holiday for Kiwis
during the summer, but international travel was picking up
again after a low in 2009.
More families were choosing destinations with better value,
such as Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and Bali, rather than
Australia, he said.
"Your money just goes a lot further.
"They're looking at different destinations and it comes back
to that value," he said.
Department of Conservation camp sites.
• Pleasant Flat and Cameron Flat, near Makarora.
• Boundary Creek and Kidds Bush, near Lake Hawea.
• Lindis Pass Historic Hotel.
• St Bathans Domain and Homestead, near St Bathans.
• Sylvan, Kinloch, Twelve Mile Delta, Moke Lake, Skippers
Township and Macetown, near Queenstown-Arrowtown.
• Dansey Pass Recreation Reserve.
• Glencoe and Trotters Gorge, in East Otago.
• Tawanui, Purakaunui Bay and Papatowai, in the Catlins.