'Bullring' a place for teen spirit

St Hilda's College and Otago Boys' High School pupils at the Queenstown Lakeview Holiday Park ''Youth Park'' yesterday afternoon, on land earmarked for the proposed Queenstown Convention Centre. The youth zone, widely referred to as the ''bullring'', was opened yesterday and will remain in operation until January 4. Photo by Tracey Roxburgh.
St Hilda's College and Otago Boys' High School pupils at the Queenstown Lakeview Holiday Park ''Youth Park'' yesterday afternoon, on land earmarked for the proposed Queenstown Convention Centre. The youth zone, widely referred to as the ''bullring'', was opened yesterday and will remain in operation until January 4. Photo by Tracey Roxburgh.
The ''bullring'' is back.

Yesterday the gates opened to what is now referred to by Queenstown Lakeview Holiday Park general manager Pete Coppens as the ''youth park'' at the former Queenstown Camping Ground site.

By yesterday afternoon hundreds of people, primarily in their late teens and early 20s, had set up campsites and started their New Year's Eve build-up celebrations.

Mr Coppens said the Queenstown Lakes District Council had asked the camping ground to resurrect the youth park in November as there was nothing else available for the youth market.

For several years in Queenstown, all campers booked at the Lakeview Holiday Park and when it was full campers were redirected to the Queenstown Rec Ground.

However, last year the Rec Ground was made unavailable because of the final sevens tournament scheduled in early January.

The youth park, on the preferred site for the proposed Queenstown Convention centre, had 24-hour security and a ''quiet zone'', close to security officers, for young women and those who chose not to be in the thick of it.

Bookings had been ''very strong'' despite little advertising, Mr Coppens said.

Cougar Security manager Ricky Campbell said staff would do regular ''two and three-man foot patrols'' to keep an eye on the young revellers.

''You can't stop alcohol coming in ... It's all about control and contain.''

There was a total ban on vehicles inside the park, which provided another layer of safety and also kept noise levels down by eliminating loud car stereos.

Campers were required to carry their tents and provisions to their site from the main entrance and while there had been a few grumbles yesterday, most were happy to oblige, Mr Campbell said.

Among the campers was a group of pupils from St Hilda's College and Otago Boys' High School who arrived yesterday.

Cody McMullan (18) said the group of about 20 had booked for four days.

Sites cost $20 per night per person and every camper in the youth park was required to pay a $50 bond, refundable on checking out.

Campers were required to keep their sites clean, Mr Campbell said.

''When they're walking around holding their heads in the morning, we'll give them big, black rubbish bags and tell them to clean up.

''If they don't clean it up, they're gone.''

-tracey.roxburgh@odt.co.nz