Happy Campers: Get best of two beaches

Philip Duncan. Photo / Richard Robinson
Philip Duncan. Photo / Richard Robinson

The Maori Battalion once trained on its beach for World War II - and it must have been hard for them to leave.

Matauri Bay, north of the Bay of Islands, is home to Matauri Bay Holiday Park, which is so popular that families book years in advance to secure their favourite spot.

Park owner and operator Maggie Grimwood said there were many words to describe the park.

"Beautiful, stunning, gorgeous are just a few."

The park is nestled between two beaches - Matauri Bay and Putataua Beach - so guests have a choice of where to spend their days.

"Matauri Bay beach is a white sandy, gently sloping beach, ideal for family swimming, easy boat launching or just for hanging out and sun-bathing and building sand castles," Grimwood said.

"Putataua Beach is great for rock fishing."

She said peak season was a great time of year.

"It is a fantastic atmosphere. The campground is bursting at the seams with campers. Sun, fun, laughter."

People can swim, fish, boat and explore. Matauri Bay is also a great place for diving as the Rainbow Warrior sunken wreck is nearby and the Cavalli Islands are good for fishing.

Grimwood said people could also walk to the Rainbow Warrior Memorial, 10 minutes from the campground.

She thought people liked the park because of the safe beach, good fishing and diving.

"Overall, it just has a great, fun, family-orientated feel to it."

She said in peak season the park hosted mainly families who had been coming for years, and at other times there were a lot of tourists. For the Christmas and New Year period, people booked at least six months or years in advance to secure a favourite spot.

"From December 26 until the end of January, the park is operating at full capacity," Grimwood said.

It can host up to 1500 campers.

- NZ Herald

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