Doc sites thriving in hard times

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 Dawber.
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 Dawber.
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 festive spending.

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.


Happy campers

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.


 

john.lewis@odt.co.nz

 

ODT/directory - Local Businesses

CompanyLocationBusiness Type
Otago Continuous Spouting LtdDunedinRoofers
SouthKill Abattoir Milton
Southern Spas and PoolsDunedinHome Furnishings
Web PresenzQueenstownMarketing Services