Campers are a-comin’
‘‘Bring it on’’ is the message from Kaikoura Coastal campground management as they prepare for the peak Christmas holiday season.
An estimated 2000 people will camp, boat, fish and, with any luck, soak up the sun at Kaikoura’s coastal campgrounds during the 10 days surrounding Christmas and New Year’s Eve.
Kaikoura’s many camping spots offer a slice of coastal life over the summer which is not easy to find elsewhere in the South Island.
And the family camping holiday is alive and well, and affordable, Kaikoura Coastal Campgrounds manager Liz Mahoney said.
Mahoney, overseer of Goose Bay, Boat Harbour, Paia Point and Omihi campgrounds, said there has been an increase in the number of families spending their Christmas holidays here in recent years. ‘‘Our season really begins December 24th,’’ she said.
‘‘I would say there has been an increase in families spending that holiday period with us. It’s a busy time of year and many people have been coming here for years.
Peketa Beach Holiday Park – Kaikoura’s only beachfront holiday park – is also preparing for the peak season, and manager Digby Parkin is welcoming the seasonal influx.
Parkin said the capacity of the four main camping grounds would compete with the motels for the sheer amount of business brought into the area.
‘‘Camps don’t get a lot of credit for their benefit to the area.
‘‘They (campers) bring a lot but they can’t bring everything.
‘‘We have a licence for almost 1500 people here. I haven’t counted but I’d say we have heaps more capacity than motels,’’ he said.
He believes the benefit to the community from camping grounds is huge, especially considering the fees collected for using boat ramps along the coast.
‘‘The amount of boats that go out – they’re paying $5 or $10 a day to use the ramps, that’s all council revenue.’’
But he takes exception to freedom campers who are encouraged to use their camping fees on other tourism activities.
‘‘We’re not anti-freedom camping. But they come in here using our facilities, sneaking in here and abusing us,’’ he said.
‘‘If they use my toilet I’m paying, and then my rates are used again when they camp at Jimmy Armers.’’
The council say they don’t encourage freedom camping but they don’t discourage it either. There is no bylaw.
‘‘ They [ the council] seem to want to promote cruise ships but I don’t see a lot of promotion of camping grounds.’’
Parkin was happy that the kids were swiming in the Kahutara river lagoon, and that it was clean and flowing at this time of year too.
‘‘Some kids came in the other day and they’d been swimming in the river and I asked if they were supposed to be swimming there. There’s an awful lot of locals and visitors use it, so I’m pleased it’s OK,’’ he said.
‘‘Let’s hope the sun shines and the people come. Bring it on.’’
Freedom camping: Travellers can park overnight at a few picturesque spots on the coast north of Kaikoura, including here at Maungamanu, which most residents find perfectly acceptable.