Motorhome tourists Murray and Elaine Lawson are lured to Hastings almost every summer by its peaceful, seaside freedom camping spots which they say are among the best in the country.
The Dannevirke couple were at the Clifton Rd Reserve near Haumoana on Thursday, one of the largest of eight reserves provided by the Hastings District Council for overnight freedom camping.
Only certified self-contained vehicles were permitted to stay overnight at the sites for a maximum of two nights.
"I think we like this spot because it's next to the sea and it's peaceful. It's a safe area where we know there's always going to be people around," Mr Lawson said.
"This is our second night so we are moving on to the site at Clive, to meet up with friends who are also here [motorhome touring] and relatives from Napier."
The Lawsons have been touring motorhomes for more than eight years and taking longer trips away since they retired a few years ago and moved from Upper Hutt to Dannevirke to live. They have visited many towns in the South Island and as far as Auckland in the North Island.
"Hastings is a popular place for Motor Caravan Association members to visit, everyone knows it is considered a motorhome-friendly town by the association," Mr Lawson said.
"In Napier, you used to be able to park there but they stopped that. I think it's a matter of the council being more active and policing those areas better to make sure only self-contained motorhomes can stay there."
The Lawsons planned a tour of the East Coast next, taking in Gisborne, through to the Bay of Plenty before heading back to Dannevirke in late January.