Camping, caravan holidays becoming more popular with Kiwis
Camping and caravan holidays prove popularKELSEY FLETCHER
Holiday parks and campgrounds are filling fast in the wider Manawatu region with a packed New Year ahead for most.
A growing number of people are opting for the less-expensive family getaway, holiday park owners say.
And more families are organising their Christmas family get-togethers under canvas or in caravans.
The Crellin and Younger families, from Masterton, are spending two weeks together at the Himatangi Beach Holiday Park.
Cath Crellin said it was a family tradition to take the kids camping for Christmas.
"We enjoy going with our best mates, it's just relaxing after you get set up," she said.
"It's also affordable; if we did something else, like go to a hotel, it would only be for a couple of days."
Lisa Younger said the friendly atmosphere made camping at Christmas time "like a home away from home".
"It's like an extended family, you get to know the other campers at the site and you can just leave the kids to it," she said.
Himatangi Beach Holiday Park co-owner Margaret Penney said this was the busiest Christmas in the 11 years she had been at the park.
"Lots of families have got together and come in for Christmas, it's the busiest we've seen. And we're full for New Year, but that's not a change," she said. "It's great to see, and a lovely place to be with children in the camp on Christmas Day."
Levin Holiday Park co-owner Repi Wright said although Christmas Day wasn't booked out at his grounds, from January 4 "it is about 80 per cent full".
"What happens here is a lot of people tend to stay away for Christmas but after that they start flooding in, so we have a few bookings going forward," he said.
"Especially in the New Year and into January when people have got over the Christmas stuff.
"We've got a lot of international people from Australia and Kiwis, we've got one woman coming from the UK to see her son, so [from] all over really."
Mr Wright said there was a noticeable increase in people using the park this year.
"This is our second Christmas here and whilst we don't have a lot of people in over the next couple of days, it took off just over the New Year," he said.
"We are probably tracking higher than this time last year, about 10 to 20 per cent higher.
"Perhaps there is a little bit more money around, maybe the economy has recovered a bit to the point where people think they can get out a bit more."
Herbertville Campground manager Jan Billington said the park was proving popular for patrons, who were interested in fishing and looking at the seal colony.
"We are fully booked up until the 5th of January so that's all good," she said.
"The grounds get pretty booked over the Christmas period but this year we've got people coming and going all the time.
"We've only been here four months and we're really pleased, and we've still got people ringing up looking for a site."
Mrs Billington said the grounds would be busy right up until children went back to school.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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