Domestic travellers keep camps full

Domestic tourists continued to fill the 2000 spots at the Glendhu Bay Motor Camp during the...
Domestic tourists continued to fill the 2000 spots at the Glendhu Bay Motor Camp during the summer period. PHOTO: STEPHEN JAQUIERY
Domestic tourists have kept campgrounds across Otago and Southland booming during the holiday period.

And those across the industry say a lack of international tourists has not dampened trade.

Queenstown Top 10 Holiday Park duty manager Florence Toulin said 90% of the campervan sites were occupied.

"I would say kiwis [have] travelled in campervans more," Ms Toulin said.

"We’ve had lots of campervans and lots of people coming from Christchurch and Auckland."

It was a positive outcome for a season that could have been vastly different.

"It was still a strong season for the situation that we are in — we’re doing pretty good."

Domestic tourists tended to book accommodation a couple of days in advance, compared to international tourists.

"The only real difference was there is not as many people pre-booking. It’s been a bit more vague."

Glendhu Bay Motor Camp manager Phil Hunt said the camp reached nearly 2000 visitors, with groups coming from Wanaka and Queenstown.

"It’s been good — we’ve had a great run of weather and everyone’s been pretty happy and well behaved," Mr Hunt said.

Bad weather had forced a few campers to pack up and head home early this week.

The camping ground was primarily a domestic site, but he predicted February and March would be quieter without international tourists.

"We have people that come year after year, so should be the same next year as long as we don’t get a Covid outbreak."

Otematata Holiday Park and Lodge owner Brent Cowles said the lodge’s 70 sites were full for the Christmas and New Year period.

"We were sold out over the peak holiday period and we’re busier than usual at the moment. I think people are taking a longer holiday," Mr Cowles said.

"For us it’s been a normal year, nothing’s changed — it’s been a solid season for us."

Waitaki District Council had sold out Falstone Creek, Sailors Cutting and Boat Harbour camping grounds a month before Christmas, and casual camping was not allowed from December 20 to January 10 due to the high demand.

The Curio Bay Camping Ground’s 300 sites were fully booked from Boxing Day to January 3, manager Kelly McGregor said.

"It was pretty full on — we all survived," Mrs McGregor said.

It had also been "relatively steady" before Christmas.

The majority of visitors were families as they travelled through the Catlins, but some had flown from elsewhere and were on campervan tours.

The bad weather in other parts of the South had not affected the camping ground, but visitors were slowly packing up now.

"We missed the bad weather everywhere else had, it’s just turned now, started to go bad.

"This week was the quietest week we’ve had, but there’s still a lot floating around."

She was pleased with the response the campground received during the summer holidays.

"We are in uncertain times at the moment, so it’s hard to gauge what’s normal and what’s not."


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