Popular summer camping destinations in the Nelson region are already filling up for summer.
Department of Conservation Golden Bay area manager John Mason said Totaranui was fully booked for the summer months.
He said DOC had received 876 applications from individuals and groups hoping to get a spot at the sought-after site.
"We have 650 people for Christmas Day, and then reach capacity of 850 around [December] 27th."
Applications are received between August 1 and August 10. They must be posted, and early applications are returned to the sender unopened.
The posted applications are systematically drawn from a ballot box and allocated a number in the order they are drawn. The number is then recorded, and the campsites are allocated.
Unsuccessful applicants are placed on a waiting list and advised of their status around mid-October.
Mr Mason said the ballot system was "the fairest way of deciding. It gives everybody a fair chance".
Those who missed out could still be in with a chance in January, he said. "People's plans do change. The message to the people who have missed out would be to call the Totaranui office in December."
Kaiteriteri Beach Motor Camp has been fully booked for the peak summer holiday since July.
Camp office manager Jenny Guild said it had received around 3000 applications for the 400 sites available. Families hoping to return to the camp could re-book when they left, one year at a time.
"We help out people that have been here before, and have them on a wait list in case of any cancellations."
Karen Morden, at the Golden Bay Holiday Park at Tukurua, said that while it was fully booked over New Year, there was some availability from January 6 onwards.
People wanting to stay there could send an email, and "if we can fit them, we fit them in", she said. Return customers made up 80 per cent of bookings.
- The Nelson Mail