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Cash parks at holiday camp

By Geoff Vause
[email protected]

Carterton is proving an unlikely winter holiday destination with a big jump in visitors to the holiday park at Belvedere Rd.

New managers Phil and Sharrie Gibbons “are showing a lot of initiative” according to Carterton District Council boss Jane Davis.

Mrs Davis said in her chief executive’s report to the council on Wednesday that “the Gibbons have managed to keep income relatively high” through the usually quiet winter months.

It is something of an understatement, with the turnover at the camp leaping a whopping 76 per cent since the Gibbons took over.

The Gibbons arrived in May this year.

Income from week three in June 2015 to week three in September 2015 was $20,417.

The same period in 2016 showed turnover of $35,997.

Mrs Gibbons said luck had played a part since they took over from previous managers Pete Evan and Di Rongonui, and the online booking system they had put in place about three months ago was also paying dividends.

“It’s trial and error to some extent,” Mrs Gibbons said.

“We have had lots of inquiries through the online booking, and the Facebook page as well.

“Bookings for the summer are starting to flow through now.”

The Gibbons’ deal with the Carterton District Council is for two years with renewal rights, and gives them a piece of whatever they take at the camp, so promotional initiatives pay off for them.

These include handing out fliers at the railway station to the recent Daffodil Day crowds, and revamping units with essential repairs, painting and bedding.

Mrs Gibbons said the park had benefited from the attractive garden-like setting established by council parks boss Brian McWilliams and nurtured by Mr Evans and Ms Rongonui.

“The sites are generous and the gardens and trees are well-established,” Mrs Gibbons said.

She said they had two lambs to help keep the lawns down and to amuse kids, and had added a trampoline at their own cost, with a push go-cart also planned.

“We may lose a few who like the quiet, but kiddies need something to do. We’ll also get a few chooks so visitors can have fresh eggs.”

The park includes 24 powered caravan sites, four basic cabins with two of these taking up to seven people, six self-contained units, one with facilities for guests with disabilities, a family unit and two with two rooms and an ensuite each.

There is one permanent resident at the camp, and there is secure storage for caravans at two dollars per day, which Mrs Gibbons said they would promote more on the Facebook page as it was a popular option for people not wanting to tow caravans a long distance.

“It helps that Phil is a painter and decorator,” Mrs Gibbons said.

“There’s not much he can’t do and it saves the council money. I’m allowed to strip wallpaper off, maybe.”

The couple have four older children available to help when the busy season arrives, and a local student has asked for holiday work to help fund a study trip.


  1. we know phil and sharrie well there the rite people and if anyone is going to give it go and do the rite stuff its these two wounderful people aroha nui you two.

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