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Campers fill up new Masterton park

Masterton’s new motor park, is finding success as campers enjoy the site each night this summer, reports KATE JUDSON.

New Zealand Motor Caravan Association [NZMCA] bought the Colombo Rd site from Trustees of the Masterton Red Star Rugby Club last year.

Since then, over 100 volunteers have helped at a working bee to finish weeding and landscaping, and held an opening ceremony in November.

NZMCA’s overall investment for the project was about $700,000, and since opening, the site has averaged – 18-19 motor caravans per night, peaking at 50 motor caravans during the Christmas holidays.

NZMCA Wairarapa committee member Kent Murrell said they’ve received stellar feedback about the campsite from visitors.

“One person said they had been to every NZMCA camp in the country, and Masterton is right up there.”

The park is parallel to the river, close to the cycle track and a three-minute walk to Masterton township.

It has minimal facilities that include water and a dump station.

Murrell said he started travelling about three years ago, after his retirement, when his wife joined him on a 10-month South Island tour in their camper.

“People were buying those and touring New Zealand rather than going overseas.”

Before his purchase, he was put on an 18-month waiting list due to the covid-19 period, as motorhomes were in high demand, causing a supply shortage and delays.

“You just couldn’t buy them.”

Murrrell said a self-contained vehicle provides flexibility, is an affordable accommodation option and a chance to get
back to basics.

“You can set off in a direction, and when you decide you want to stop, you can stop,” Murrell said.

“There has been a huge increase in NZMCA membership over the last three years.”

NZMCA has grown significantly over the past few years, with 93,000 members in 2020, increasing to 111,000 this year.

Murrell said the age demographic is generally 50s and retirees, but lifestyle appeals to a younger audience.

Wairarapa NZMCA chair Toni Workman said the new park is in a great location with vineyards, cafes, shopping centres, cycleways, parks, and a lake nearby.

She said it took about three years of negotiation and development, including the council planning process.

Wairarapa NZMCA has a monthly rally, which about 50 motorhomes and caravans attend.

NZMCA also runs a smaller park at Riversdale Beach in partnership with the Riversdale Beach Community Association.

    An NZMCA membership – $240, including a $150 joining fee and $90 annual subscription – is a requirement to stay at the park in Masterton, which costs $5.00 per person per night.

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