The country’s recent run of sunshine is being replaced by rain and gales but it appears that won’t dampen the determination of campers ready to have a good time.
A subtropical low to the north of New Zealand is forecast to move slowly southwards to lie west of the country on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, bringing strong northeasterly winds and rain.
According to MetService, this likely means “rainfall amounts will exceed warning thresholds” in Northland, Coromandel Peninsula and the western Bay of Plenty, along with “severe gales” in Taupo, Taihape, Taranaki and Whanganui.
But campgrounds say they’ve had little to no cancellations, though a few people asked about getting a room instead of a tent site.
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At the Raglan Holiday Park people who had been camping over the post-Christmas/New Year’s break were ending their tenure and being replaced by a steady stream of slightly more family-oriented campers, arriving under steadily-darkening skies.
One of these was the brood of North Shore man Nick Hill, who was part of a group of eight families from that region setting up at the camping ground on Tuesday morning, just as the wind was beginning to pick up.
“It’s definitely affecting the way we are setting up, we are having to peg everything down first thing,” he said, as he set to work with a hammer on the fringes of a gazebo.
“We are going to be staying here for 10 days, there will be 26 of us, all together. We have been camping every year since our kids were babies – this is our second year at Raglan.”
There had been no talk among the group about “piking out”, he said.
“There’s hot pools to go to and the movies in Hamilton if we get bored. And the test between Australia and South Africa starts tomorrow in Sydney. There’s plenty of things to keep us occupied.”
Nearby, Sam NcNaught, his wife Kate, and his sister Lana McNaught were pragmatically planning to reduce a three-day stay to two days.
“It is going to save having to dry everything out,” said Sam, who hails from Queensland, Australia.
Adds Kate: “We have been in denial up until now. We are only leaving one day early, so it doesn’t feel too bad.”
Two doors down, Janice and Alex McPherson had their own plan for when the weather turned bad: “I expect we will find where the pub is,” Janice laughed.
Raglan Holiday Park manager Leanne Nielsen said they had been getting inquiries about cancellations, but no actual cancellations.
“The people don’t seem to be pulling out. We have a lot of regulars with good set-ups, people who invest a lot in coming to stay here at this time of year. They will all be determined to stay and ride out any bad weather we get.”
The summer camping season had so far been fantastic, she said.
“We had a really good run of golden weather from Christmas onwards, so for this to be the first bit of rain we have had is not too bad.
“New Year’s Eve was good with a great fireworks display over the harbour. Everyone who was staying here had pretty much quietened down by 1.30am, so the security staff tell me. Other than that, there have been no dramas that I have been made aware of.”
Meanwhile, at the Taupō Top 10 Holiday Park, manager Kris Blank said there had hardly been any cancellations.
“People are pretty happy to just hunker down and see it through … Most of the people staying here at the moment are Kiwis, and they don’t tend to let things like a bit of rain worry them. They are content to give it a good crack and just carry on with their holidays.”
The location of the holiday park was more sheltered than many similar camping grounds in coastal areas. There had only been a few people asking if they could get a room as an alternative to a tent-pitching spot, Blank said.
“We have got a lot of people here at the moment and everyone is just hearty and happy to carry on … after all, it’s an adventure.”
Cooks Beach Resort manager Luton Gleeson said there had likewise only been a few cancellations.
“It’s only a really small percentage … There’s about 800-plus people staying here at the moment, which is near to capacity. On the bookings side, it looks like it will be going steady here all the way until Waitangi weekend.
“We have not really experienced any issues at all this season. Of course, the one thing we can’t control is the weather, but it looks like most people are not too worried about that.”