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Campsites buzzing for NYE

An Upper Hutt family making the most of their holiday at Mawley Holiday Park in Masterton. PHOTO/SOUMYA BHAMIDIPATI

TOM TAYLOR
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Campground managers around Wairarapa are expecting a busy New Year.

Most cabins and units at holiday parks were fully booked in the two days leading up to the New Year, with limited powered sites remaining.

Eketahuna Camping Ground manager Loreen Cunningham said that her 16 powered sites were booked through to early January, as the Palmerston North Caravan Club was rolling through.

Cabins were also fully booked until the end of January.

However, she said there were still plenty of tent sites available, with room for about 125 people.

Cunningham said the camping ground had not experienced a downturn in visitors, despite the loss of international tourists.

“We’re getting more New Zealanders. They can’t go anywhere, so we’re finding that we’re doing quite well all year.”

The kitchen facilities at Mawley Holiday Park. PHOTOS/TOM TAYLOR

Masterton’s Mawley Holiday Park manager Les Duncan said that cabins at the park were fully booked for the next week and a half.

“A lot of people are getting out and about – it’s good to see.”

The park’s website showed that all accommodation except for tent sites were sold out on December 30.

“That doesn’t even allow for people for people who drop in at the last minute. I anticipate I’ll be turning some people away,” Duncan said.

The park had room for about 100 tent sites, as well as its 16 cabins and 50 powered sites.

Duncan said that while this summer was looking busy, the only time he had seen the park fully booked was during the Wings Over Wairarapa festival. During that weekend, another staff member would be on a walkie-talkie directing people where to set up their tents.

All cabins and units at Carterton Holiday Park were booked for December 30-31, though some powered and unpowered sites were still available.

South Wairarapa’s Gateway Motel Holiday Park was fully booked – including non-powered sites – until January 3.

Units at Mawley Holiday Park.

Manager Renee Bougen had seen a slight uptake in domestic tourism throughout the year.

“Wellingtonians are realising how close we are. They’re realising it’s good diving down our way.”

However, while weekends could attract a fair number of visitors, weekdays had been very quiet.

“We’re okay at the moment, thanks to the kiwis,” Bougen said.

“We are surviving on the weekends, but through the week it’s quiet … in the future, who knows?”

Masterton was not as reliant on international tourism as areas such as South Wairarapa, Duncan said.

However, this summer would be the first time the loss of international backpackers was truly felt.

Cunningham agreed that the period after January was uncertain, as most people would be returning to work

“We’ll wait and see. It will be interesting.”

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