Electricity option attracts campers

ESTHER ASHBY-COVENTRY
Last updated 05:00 21/12/2013
timaru glenmark holiday park ian clifford
JOHN BISSET/Fairfax NZ

ROUGHING IT:Glenmark Holiday Park co-owner Ian Clifford prepares the grounds for an expected influx of campers.

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Tenting without electricity is considered roughing it these days, so it is ironic that the most common item left behind at camps in Timaru is a charger.

Timaru Top 10 Holiday Park owner Gordon Colister said he had boxes of cellphone chargers which campers and motel unit guests had not returned for.

"[Guests] who have forgotten to bring their chargers think it's Christmas when they get one out of our box to use."

Other items people often forgot were pillows, but what was most unusual were the people who came back to get a tomato they had left in the communal fridge, a mostly empty bottle of wine or a sock.

Mr Colister said in the last two decades the number of tenting campers wanting electricity had increased to more than 50 per cent. It costs an extra $4 a night for electricity.

"People want the tenting experience but are not willing to go without [electricity]," he said.

At about $60 a night - with electricity - for two adults and two children in a tent, it was a reasonably priced option for families. At Glenmark Holiday Park an entire paddock is devoted to campers without electricity.

Co-owner Ian Clifford said the area appealed to large family groups as there was room for playing sport and they could be noisy without disturbing other guests.

Of the powered sites at the camp, 90 per cent were used by people with caravans and 10 per cent by those in tents, said Mr Clifford.

"Campers in tents who use electricity need a residual current device lead or they could get electrocuted if it rains," he said.

Like Mr Colister, he also has a box of unclaimed digital chargers left behind by campers.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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