Holidaymakers caught short in Eketahuna want loos before beds or showers, the Tararua District Council has been told.

Council provided for $52,000 in the 2017/18 year to build two additional cabins at the Eketahuna Camping Ground, but the custodians have asked for toilets first.

The Eketahuna Community Board said it also saw the logic in this request, but the challenge for councillors will be managing an allocation, which had been made for two unserviced cabins. Councillors were left debating whether holiday-makers should have to keep their legs crossed in long queues or have showers and beds.

"I believe loos are more important than showers," Tararua District Mayor Roly Ellis said.

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Councillor David Roberts could see the problems which would arise if more cabins were provided. "If we put two new cabins in it's just more people putting pressure on the loos," he said.

Council chief executive Blair King agreed: "We need infrastructure in first."

Eketahuna-based councillor Tracey Collis said the camp ground owners were adamant, "toilets were the predominant use".

In February the Eketahuna camping ground saw a 78 per cent increase in visitor numbers, up from 404 at the same time last year to 720.

Although some councillors suggested putting in composting toilets, Kathy Dever-Tod, council's asset team manager sounded a word of caution.

"Composting toilets still have to be cleaned out," she said.

Based on the budget for the recent new toilets at the Dannevirke Domain, the allocation for Eketahuna wouldn't be enough for more toilets, particularly when it's unclear if the septic tank system can handle extra volumes.

There is also a shortage of loos at Ferry Reserve, alongside the Manawatu River at Ballance district councillors have been told.

"There's one toilet and no water and if we're encouraging people to go there [Ferry Reserve] ..." councillor David Roberts said.

Camping grounds busy:

* In February the Dannevirke Camping Ground had 736 visitors, 84 per cent up on the 400 in February last year.

* Woodville had a six per cent increase, up from 85 to 90.

* There was a 20 per cent decrease in visitors at the Pahiatua ground, from 454 February last year to 363 this year. That was largely because last year cabins were occupied by contractors working on Fonterra's new powder plant at Mangamutu.