Cosy Corner Holiday Park has lost none of its appeal after 40 years of camping for Wellington couple Tommy and Linda Malcolmson.
The Oceanbeach Rd camping ground began as a pitstop on their way north when the Malcolmsons' children were young, and ended up the base for each summer holiday.
Mr Malcolmson said it stopped being a pitstop when the kids grew tired of travelling around in the caravan.
''We asked them which camping ground they enjoyed the most in New Zealand, and they chose this one.''
The Northern Ireland-born, newly retired relief tug captain said they had come up every year since that decision, making lifelong friends and seeing each other's children grow up and go on to have children of their own.
Asked what else drew them back year after year, he said it was the friendliness and smaller size of Cosy Corner, the excellent facilities, proximity to Omanu Beach and the swimming pool.
''Everyone keeps an eye on each other.''
Mr Malcolmson, 70, said he had not met anyone at Cosy Corner that he did not get along with: ''They are all pretty good.''
Mrs Malcolmson said they travelled quite a lot during other times of the year and were on the go "but here you can just relax''.
She said they had been coming for so long that they had seen the oldies pass on until now they were the oldies. They had made friends from around the North Island - all ages and occupations, rich and poor.
''It is like a big family reunion.''
Happy hour took place at 5pm every night at one of the campsites of friends or family, with newcomers joining in so that sometimes the get-togethers had an international flavour.
The Malcolmsons gave overseas campers advice on the best things to see and do.
''They call us their tour guides,'' she said.
Mrs Malcolmson summed up their month every summer at Cosy Corner as ''our home away from home, without the crystal''.
Cosy Corner Holiday Park
• Established 1968.
• 18 powered sites.
• Retro caravans, self-contained units and standard cabins.
• Wellness area includes hot tub.