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Campers playing by the rules

People flock to Wairarapa’s many popular campsites each summer, including Greytown Campground (pictured). PHOTO/FILE

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Campsites around Wairarapa have been flat out, with revellers reportedly on their best behaviour.

The up-and-down weather has not dampened the spirits of holiday makers, many of whom welcomed in 2018 along the coast or at campgrounds in the towns.

On Sunday police said so far residents and people visiting Wairarapa had stayed out of trouble.

And campground operators agreed, saying no dramas had occurred.

Lake Ferry Holiday Park had seen a good turn out this summer, despite the intrusion of freedom camping.

Owner Mary Tipoki said the campground was packed with “lots of children” and a “real holiday making atmosphere”.

“The lake mouth is closed, it looks glamorous and everyone is enjoying the beauty of the area,” she said on Sunday.

Mrs Tipoki said freedom camping had changed the camping culture, making the industry “almost unrecognisable”.

These days there were a lot less, “if any”, motorhomes and caravans visiting the campsite.

“Now there’s a much higher turnover rate of campers . . . there’s no demand for powered sites.”

Campground operators had been forced to adapt.

Mrs Tipoki said the positive upshot was now there were more families enjoying the campground in tents.

Masterton’s Mawley Holiday Park has been busier than in previous years, which owner Rodney Algie attributes to “better weather”.

He agreed it was hard to compete with the freedom camping opportunities available around Wairarapa.

“But you’ll find if you go to any freedom camping spot, you don’t get that same comradery.

“It doesn’t have the same atmosphere as a holiday park.”

Out at Ngawi, guests at Waimeha Camping Village saw in the new year with a pot luck barbecue.

John Priest, who opened the campground in mid-2017, said the feast would be accompanied with guitars and a singalong.

He said the site had been fully booked since before Christmas, with some guests already booked in for next summer.

Martinborough Top 10 Holiday Park owner Lisa Cornelissen said visitors were up 10 per cent on figures from the same time the previous year.

This was impressive as the weather had been grey on the days following Christmas, she said.

“[Saturday] night was busier than Toast Martinborough, and [Sunday night was] shaping up to be the same.”

She said those wanting to party on New Year’s eve had been encouraged to do so in the town centre, as there were lots of families staying on site.

No issues had arisen over the holiday period, Mrs Cornelissen said.

Castlepoint Holiday Park was fully booked on New Year’s eve, as was the Eketahuna Motor Camp, which Loreen Cunningham has been running for five years.

This year had been the busiest by as mile, she said.

“We’re flat out.”

A bonfire and fireworks had been arranged for guests to see out 2017.

Carterton Holiday Park catered for the summer influx with additional powered sites, owner Sharrie Gibbons said.

“We didn’t have to turn people away like we have done in the past.”

Along with the 100 guests, Mrs Gibbons saw in 2018 with live entertainment and karaoke.

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