Rain no problem for jolly campers

Holidaymakers in North Otago for Christmas and New Year are having a blast, despite a wet start to the holiday.

Since Christmas Eve, Otago Regional Council rainfall sites at The Dasher, east of Maheno, and at Danseys Pass have recorded 40mm and 60mm of rain respectively, but holiday park owners said the rain had not put a dampener on festivities.

Waitaki Waters Holiday Park owner Derek Chapple said there had been cancellations, but the Oamaru park was still ''flat out''.

''It's not scaring off many - we have still got a lot of people putting up their tents in the rain, and having a very good attitude about it.

''The weather seriously does not seem to be affecting their plans - they're still having fun. When we get that drizzle, they are taking shelter, but at the same time people are still getting out doing their things and everyone seems to have a smile on their face.''

Despite the cancellation of the Kurow Races yesterday, due to wet weather, Kurow Holiday Park owner Chum Chamberlain said people were still arriving.

''We have quite a few more coming in today, but it's quite warm and muggy. It's West Coast weather - wet and warm.

''It's all good at this stage.''

However, the weather had been much better further inland Otematata Holiday Park co-owner Kirsty MacLeod said the township missed the worst of the wet weather plaguing more easterly parts of North Otago.

''We had some rain overnight on Sunday, but that has been it for us.

''We are absolutely jam-packed - it's cranking.''

Environment Canterbury spokesman Phil Lees said because heavy northwest rain along the Main Divide was a common occurrence over December and January, it could result in water having to be spilled from the Tekapo and Pukaki hydro lakes, which could mean rising river and lake levels.

Mr Lees reminded campers to take care when selecting campsites at the Waitaki lakes over the summer.

''It can be a beautiful day along the Waitaki lakes, or even in the Mackenzie Basin, but pouring with rain along the main divide. All that rain has to go somewhere and that leads to rising lake levels and the need for energy companies to spill water from the lakes.

''Water levels downstream can rise very rapidly as a result.

''Choose your sites carefully, keep an eye on the water levels while you are there and if in any doubt listen for flood warnings in local print media, broadcast over Port FM and posted on our website at www.ecan.govt.nz.''


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