Central Otago camping grounds are expecting a "full house" during the next week, with an influx of holidaymakers today and again on Monday.
All Central Otago camping ground owners and caretakers contacted by the Otago Daily Times yesterday said Boxing Day through to early January was the peak time, with only a few with tent sites or caravan spaces still available.
Larchview Holiday Park in Naseby was expecting about 500 people, co-owner Matthew de Woeps said.
"It's looking like being full up, which is great news because the three or four months leading up to Christmas, through the Rugby World Cup time, was very quiet for us." The economic downturn might be why people were leaving it later to book, and not staying as long, he said.
"They're doing their Christmas shopping and waiting to see what's left over before booking. I think employers are being a bit tougher this year too, and asking people to return back to work earlier- we've had quite a few instances where campers have said that."
The Cromwell Top 10 Holiday Park expects the "rush" to begin today and will host between 1500 and 1800 people.
Alexandra Holiday Park owner Janice Graham said New Year would be the busiest time, with about 2500 people staying in caravans, holiday homes, cabins or tents.
"Demand has been steady. We get the same people coming back year after year - some people have been coming here for 50 to 60 years and now there's several generations of their families staying here."
New caretaker at the Omakau Domain Camping Ground Sally McCauley said people would start to flow in on Boxing Day, and by January 1 it would be "chocker".
Many of the holidaymakers were intending to go to the trots and gallops at the Omakau racecourse on January 2 and 3 respectively.
The camping ground also provided accommodation for people using the Otago Central Rail Trail, so that business was constant, year-round, she said.
The manager at the Clyde Holiday and Sporting Complex, Lauren Direen, said about 500 people would be staying at the camping ground "and three-quarters of them will arrive on Boxing Day".