Charm of summer getaways keeps families coming back

The Camp, formerly called The Lake Hawea Holiday Park, on the shores of Lake Hawea. PHOTO:...
The Camp, formerly called The Lake Hawea Holiday Park, on the shores of Lake Hawea. PHOTO: STEPHEN JAQUIERY
As in years past, New Zealanders flocked to camping grounds these summer holidays to make the most of the summer sun and laid-back atmosphere. In the final instalment of the Otago Daily Times series looking at those who make Southern camping grounds their homes for a couple of weeks every year, we visit The Camp at Lake Hawea and the Lakeview Holiday Park in Wanaka.

Half a century ago, Invercargill resident Frank Goodall and his cobber were camping at Lowburn over Christmas when they decided to head to Lake Hawea for a spot of fishing.

Dick Cotter had just started what was then the Lake Hawea Holiday Park and Mr Goodall thought it would be a good place to stay.

The Camp owner Sarah Burdon shows the luxury overnight accommodation that is offered in addition...
The Camp owner Sarah Burdon shows the luxury overnight accommodation that is offered in addition to traditional camping. PHOTO: TRACIE BARRETT
That was in 1971, and Mr Goodall has returned to the area each holiday season since, staying at the park, now called The Camp, since 1973.

This summer he was accompanied by children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and said there were 18 to 20 people to feed each night, with all the vegetables brought up from his garden in Invercargill.

"I think it’s probably one of the best camps in New Zealand," he said.

Grandson of Frank Goodall, Taz O’Connell, travelled with Bridget Ross from Cambridge for the...
Grandson of Frank Goodall, Taz O’Connell, travelled with Bridget Ross from Cambridge for the family gathering at The Camp, Lake Hawea. PHOTO: TRACIE BARRETT
"There’s not too many restrictions and you’re free to go where you want."

Mr Goodall’s family were scattered throughout the camp, some staying in tents, others in a range of cabins, and one daughter was treating herself to four nights of "glamping" in one of The Camp’s luxury Bell tents.

The Camp owner Sarah Burdon, who bought the park with her husband, Richard, 11 years ago, said the park had been booked out over Christmas and was always busy with New Zealand travellers.

There were no permanent campsites at the park, although guests could store caravans and campers, and were given the right to rebook the same site every year.

Invercargill resident Frank Goodall (seated, centre) celebrated a half century of visiting Lake...
Invercargill resident Frank Goodall (seated, centre) celebrated a half century of visiting Lake Hawea with family members on Wednesday evening. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
That suited Mr Goodall, who stayed in a tent himself until about 10 years ago, when mobility issues saw him relocate to a cabin.

He celebrated 50 years of visiting the lake with his family last month.

This summer included "the best days I’ve ever had here", he said.

tracie.barrett@odt.co.nz

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