Holiday bookings high
Marlborough's accommodation providers are feeling positive about the high number of holiday season bookings after heavy rain dampened spirits last year.
Hotels, lodges and camping grounds throughout the Sounds were reporting high visitor numbers, with many fully booked during the New Year period and further into summer.
Havelock Motor Camp manager Neville Pickering said powered sites at the camp were popular and bookings were strong but tent sites were harder to fill.
People with tents had been "rained off" during the Christmas season in the past two years.
This may have put people off using them this year, he said.
"It's steady on the whole. People in caravans and campervans, it's very busy with them and we've had as many bookings as ever. Most people know that you need to book a powered site to get one."
Endeavour Inlet-based Furneaux Lodge owner Geoff Faulkner said Christmas and Boxing Day bookings were "really good" and he was hoping for sunny weather in the outer Queen Charlotte Sound for the lodge's annual New Year's Eve party, which could draw up to 500 people.
"We're seeing a lot of Kiwis coming to stay, normally we get more overseas people this time of year, but this year it's mostly New Zealanders."
Bookings in December, January and February were looking as busy as last year and there was a definite increase in visitors after a slow November, he said.
Linkwater-based Smiths Farm Holiday Park owner Chris Faulls said the park was "as busy as ever" over Christmas and would be full until January 10.
"It's shaping up to be a very good season for us, we've had good luck with the weather so far."
Staff at On the Track Lodge in Nydia Bay said the lodge had "plenty of bookings" and a good summer weather forecast would ensure it stayed that way until Easter.
Picton Campervan Park owner Tyas Hawkins said the park's four cabins were fully booked over Christmas and New Year's Day.
They would stay busy for at least the next month, on a par with last year.
Blenheim Top 10 Holiday Park operator Arnold Kremer said the park didn't get busy until shortly before New Year's Eve, and booking records showed visitor numbers were the same as last year. The park's busy periods were during the Marlborough Wine and Food Festival and the Omaka Classic Fighters airshow at the end of March, he said.
The Marlborough Express