Campers flock to Ashhurst
Curly though the Manawatu summer has been, it hasn’t deterred committed campers.
And there was no way the weather was going to keep Karen and Peter Timperley from celebrating their 30th anniversary at Ashhurst Domain.
That’s 30 years the Johnsonville couple have been pitching their caravan and tents on the piece of ground adjacent to the Ashhurst cemetery.
‘‘At least the neighbours are quiet,’’ Karen joked.
Also referred to as ‘ Camp Mother’, Karen admitted it may have become a little noisy as some 20 people joined them for the 30th.
‘‘They used to bring their babies here, and now those babies are bringing their babies.’’
The Timperleys still bring their ‘babies’ along, Mitch a 16-year-old spaniel and Max an 8-year-old bijon poodle.
‘‘We’ve always had dogs, and we came here because you could bring your dogs... It wasn’t expensive then, and it’s not expensive now.’’
The camping ground relies on an honesty box, just $7.50 a night per person for an unpowered site, and $10 for powered.
‘‘We’ve had a lot of fun here over the years, and people get to know you,’’ Karen said.
The couple always turned up on Christmas Day and stayed until they’d had enough. They liked the casual relaxed ‘old style’ campground atmosphere.
A former wharfie, Peter used to commute to work in Wellington, leaving his family camping.
‘‘You’re close to everything here. Palmy is a short distance away - Napier... When we get here, we don’t want to leave.’’
The domain has been overseen by groundsman Ken Pratt for more than 30 years, assisted for the last decade by Kev Smith.
‘‘We don’t operate like a conventional camping ground,’’ Smith said. ’’It’s quite a casual sort of setup, well used by locals and visitors, and gets quite busy.’’
Several of the regular campers are from Palmerston North.
The city council’s Brian Way backs up busy. There has been a 143 per cent increase in Ashhurst Domain camper numbers over the last six years, which includes a 25 per cent increase in 2016 over the 2015 numbers.
‘‘And we don’t even do a very good job of promoting it,’’ Way said.
‘‘It’s another one of our Palmerston North secrets.’’
30 years holidaying at Ashhurst Domain, Peter and Karen Temperley from Johnsonville with Mitch the spaniel and Max the performing bijon poodle.