With Christmas looming, temperatures rising and days
lengthening, attention is turning to summer holidays.
Otago Daily Times reporters have been surveying
camping grounds and holiday parks in traditional Otago
holiday spots and find that camping remains popular among
• Central Otago
Larchview Holiday Park co-owner Tracy de Woeps enjoys the
peace before the holiday rush at the Naseby camping ground.
Photo by Lynda van Kempen.
With Christmas looming, temperatures rising and days
lengthening, attention is turning to summer holidays. Otago
Daily Times reporters have been surveying camping grounds and
holiday parks in traditional Otago holiday spots and find that
camping remains popular among families.
Camping ground owners in Central Otago are expecting the
traditional ''full house'' during the Christmas and New Year
break, although some said it had been quieter than usual for
the rest of the year. Clyde Holiday Park manager Lauren
Direen said 2012 had been the quietest in the seven years she
had been at the camp.
''It's just a sign of the times, I guess.''
However, bookings were good for the main summer break, with
the camp expecting to host an influx of up to 500 people.''
They're mostly all regulars - all Kiwis- three-quarters from
Southland and one-quarter from Otago,'' she said. Early
bookings were better than at the corresponding time last
year, Ranfurly Holiday Park owner-operator Rona East said.
The Ranfurly camp can accommodate about 200 people and it
attracts mostly family groups.
A spokeswoman for the Omakau Domain Camping Ground said the
place was ''chocker'' for the two race meetings in Omakau in
early January and bookings were good from December 22 through
until the second week in January. Last year at the peak
holiday time, the domain accommodated 800 people over 10
days, she said.
Cromwell Top 10 Holiday Park co-owner John Searle said the
camp attracted family groups and would host a maximum of 1600
people over Christmas and New Year. One of the ''regulars''
had holidayed in the camp for about 40 years.
The market had changed over the past few years.
''Tourism is picking back up again, but we used to have a lot
more European visitors coming through who aren't visiting
now. Over Christmas, though, it's mostly family groups, all
Kiwis, and the lake is one of the attractions. School groups
are among those we cater for the rest of the year,'' Mr
The Larchview Holiday Park in Naseby also had business from
school groups, especially at the end of the year, co-owner
Tracy de Woeps said.
With the recession biting, people holidaying over Christmas
had cut down the length of their usual stay from 10 days to a
week, she said. Bookings were good for the first week of
January in particular, when a host of events had been planned
to mark the 150th anniversary of Naseby and the surrounding
goldfields. Larchview could accommodate up to 700 people.
Christmas bookings at the Alexandra Holiday Park were on par
with other years, owner Janice Graham said. Most of the
holidaymakers would arrive on Boxing Day and the camping
ground was usually at full capacity - about 2500 people -
from then until early in the New Year. Visitors were mostly
''regulars'', sometimes several generations of the same
family, she said.
By Lynda van Kempen
Wanaka Lakeview Holiday Park head receptionist Aya Umebayashi
said the park was already 80% booked during its busiest
period from December 28 to January 3, on par with previous
years. Only tent sites remained, which were usually snapped
up by tourists. About 300 young people had booked at the park
during the New Year period, which was slightly up on last
year, Miss Umebayashi said.
A more family-orientatedatmosphere was expected at Wanaka Top
10 Holiday Park over New Year as, for the first time, people
under 20 would not be permitted to stay, co-manager Patrick
''We've just had numerous times with lots of trouble with the
Mr Perkins said 200 to 300 young people had already been
turned away, and while that meant tent site bookings were
slightly down, it would be better for the park in the long
''We might take a hit from it, but I think further down the
track we may gain more families with less trouble.''
At the Lake Outlet Holiday Park, New Year bookings were
''significantly higher'' than last year, co-manager Glenn
''We're basically down to non-powered camping. Everything
else is pretty much booked solid.''
An area was set aside for up to 70 young people each New Year
at the outlet camping ground and a ''reasonably stringent
vetting process'' was in place, Mr Tattersall said.
Glendhu Bay Lakeside Holiday Park has increased its capacity
this holiday season by about 5% under its new managers Keith
and Chris Waddell.
Already the park had bookings for more than 3000 people
between Christmas and the second week of January, but
management would accept up to 4000 campers.
''There'll be no 'camp full' sign out here this year,'' Mrs
By Lucy Ibbotson
Bookings across South Otago camping grounds are looking good
Balclutha Motor Camp manager Mick Corden said reservations
for the Christmas/New Year period and January/February were
going well, matching last year's bookings.
''It should be one of the best Christmases yet.
''We've got a lot of bookings from Christchurch, people
coming to spend the holidays with family.''
Elsewhere in South Otago, camping grounds in Lawrence, Kaka
Point, and the Catlins were also positive about summer
Denise Anderson, of Kaka Point Camping Ground, said bookings
were going well but people were staying for shorter periods -
three days at a time instead of a week.
Other campgrounds were expecting reservations closer to the
By Helena de Reus
A traditional Otematata family holiday spot reopened for
business ahead of schedule last month with the aid of the
Otematata Volunteer Fire Brigade and nostalgic locals.
The Otematata Holiday Park and Lodge had been closed for the
past three and a-half months, but new lessees Brent Cowles
and Kirsty MacLeod said they had been overwhelmed by the
support they had received from the local community to get the
park back up and running.
Mr Cowles said a mountain of work was needed to get the
holiday park back up to standard, but locals had rallied to
''We spent four days up there trying to knock the grounds
into shape. We have taken out 13 trailerloads of rubbish and
''The swimming pool was full of slime and the local volunteer
fire brigade went in there on Wednesday night for us and
pumped it all out and cleaned it with their high-pressure
''The support has just been tremendous. The community up
there have just got behind us. We have had 722 'likes' on our
Facebook page, and there are some really great stories coming
on there of how people remember camping here when they were
kids and how they intend to bring their own children back for
He said the holiday park reopened two weeks earlier than
planned, and in November was already 50% booked for the
''I have already got quite a number of bookings. A lot of the
regulars that used to come here before they shut it down have
come back and rebooked with us.''
The shop and takeaway would also reopen this summer and work
would start on redecorating the lodge.
''We are going to be very family-orientated - just lots of
activity-type stuff to try and make it a real community
feeling within the camp.''
Elsewhere in North Otago, Danseys Pass Holiday Park, the
Herbert Forest Camping Ground and the Kakanui Camping Ground
have reported capacity or near capacity bookings for the
By Andrew Ashton
Reservations for accommodation during the Christmas and New
Year period in camping grounds around the region have
improved following sluggish demand in November. Queenstown,
Wanaka, Te Anau, Kingston and Glenorchy are all but booked
out from December 28 until January 3, traditionally the
parks' busiest period.
Queenstown Lakes District Holiday Parks manager Greg
Hartshorne said bookings are building and he expected all
three of the council-owned grounds in Wanaka, Queenstown and
Arrowtown to book out as per usual.
This comes after a slower than usual November, he said, which
was certainly down on last year's Rugby World Cup visitor
Queenstown's Top 10 Holiday Park Creeksyde was also fully
booked from December 28 after a quiet November.
Glenorchy Camping Ground manager Sue Roney said cabin
bookings were increasing and the camping ground would
probably be full from Christmas until January 5 and 6 when
the Glenorchy Races would be held.
''People are starting to think about that weekend now - it
will be the biggest day ever.''
She had noticed more families from around the country were
booking with them than in previous years, which indicated ''a
change in the Kiwi family holiday'' from overseas to domestic
travel, Mrs Roney said.
In Kingston, another traditional family holiday spot,
bookings from December 28 were looking similar to last year,
Hector's Holiday Park manager J.
P. Cunliffe said.
The park was already booked out for New Year's Eve. Te Anau's
Lakeview Holiday Park manager Roger Hyde said they were
already slightly ahead of last year's bookings for December
and January, with many people booking earlier than usual.
While there had been a steady increase in reservations since
Labour Weekend, he had noticed New Zealand families were
staying for a shorter time and international visitors were
However, neighbouring camping ground Te Anau Kiwi Holiday
park still had plenty of space. Owner Bradley Malloy expected
this would change within the next few weeks.
Both Kingston and Te Anau had a strong return visitor rate
due mainly to their southern family client base.
''It's pretty domestic based. We get the same families coming
back year after year.''
Mr Malloy said.
By Olivia Caldwell