Half-century of summer holiday fun for Richardson family

Isabella Richardson (89) with son Steve and extended family at the Albert Town camping ground....
Isabella Richardson (89) with son Steve and extended family at the Albert Town camping ground. Mrs Richardson has been holidaying there for 50 years. PHOTO: STEPHEN JAQUIERY
It is called Albert Town, but for a month or so each year the township near Wanaka might as well be renamed Richardsonville.

Isabella Richardson and her family first holidayed at the Albert Town camping ground in 1971.

Now a village of Richardsons spanning four generations, plus friends, like to settle in for several weeks to enjoy their annual family reunion.

"Mum is the matriarch of all of this," Steve Richardson, of Dunedin, said.

"She and Dad started coming here all those years ago and now it’s a tradition."

Wet weather in the region had an effect on numbers this year.

The group of campers normally numbered about 60, but there were a few less this time. Plus the conditions persuaded some to shorten their stay, Mr Richardson said yesterday.

He was on his way home.

The camping ground is a true home away from home, the family this year having invested in a horse float which has been converted into a shower, with a full kitchen alongside.

Water is pumped up from the neighbouring Clutha River, allowing more than 50 people, plus pets, to set up shop for the duration of the holidays.

"There’s probably 10-12 dogs here this year — we have a lot of dogs," Mr Richardson said before the weather turned.

"It’s a very nice family holiday, and we’re set up so the younger ones can carry on the tradition," Mr Richardson said.

Mr Richardson was on that first family camp, aged 7, and his enthusiasm for Albert Town has not dimmed.

"It’s different this year because it’s all Kiwis — in the past five years we have seen an influx of campervans and a whole lot of different languages being spoken and it would be chocker with them at night," Mr Richardson said.

"But it’s always a great family holiday."

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