Camper numbers good despite dodgy weather
Fiordland sites popularMARY WITSEY
Significant numbers of local and international visitors have been using Department of Conservation campsites in Fiordland this summer, despite the patchy weather.
So far this season, from November to January, about 11,500 campers have stayed at DOC-run campsites, just 1000 short of the record numbers that enjoyed the same campsites last year.
DOC ranger Ren Leppens said while final numbers for the entire season were some time away he was positive about these initial results.
''They're not too bad, at this stage. Considering the weather, I'm quite surprised really.''
Getting people to come to the area and enjoy what Fiordland had to offer was what it was all about, he said.
''It's all positive. People are getting out there and becoming aware of the environment and conservation and it's a win-win situation.
''We've got a lot to offer in this region and we want people to take their time and enjoy it.''
The recently developed Henry Creek campsite, DOC's closest camp to Te Anau, had proved extremely popular so far.
''It's been really good. We've seen a marked increase in use - it would have to be one of the busiest camp sites in the park.''
DOC ranger Rose Seyb, who has been organising the running of DOC's camps this year, said the season had been positive so far.
''We see overseas people mostly at the camps - Kiwis make up quite a small group.''
The 2012-13 season had a total of 30,500 individual campers and 15,200 campervans stay at campsites managed by DOC Te Anau.
About 24,000 people stayed at campsites along the Milford Rd and about 6500 people stayed at Mavora.
- The Southland Times