Family holiday inside a tent

By Imran Ali

Three years of planning for a wonderful holiday on Northland's sunny beaches has been turned upside down for Paul Clausen's family, with bad weather keeping them inside their tent.

The Lower Hutt residents' story is the same for hundreds of holidaymakers around Northland who have had their festive celebrations ruined by intermittent rain since Christmas Day.

Despite the soggy weather, holiday parks are nearly full, with campers opting for a movie in town, ten pin bowling, pools, or simply walking in the bush.

MetSevice has predicted periods of rain, with heavy falls and thunderstorms for Northland, Auckland and the Coromandel Peninsula over the weekend.

Mr Clausen, wife Lynette, children Hamish and Kristen set up tent at the Whangarei Top 10 Holiday Park with his brother in law Steve Allan and family on Tuesday.

Since then, they had been to Ocean Beach, Marsden Pt and the aquatic pools in town rather than snorkelling and swimming.

"The worst thing is the kids can't roam around and play impromptu games with other kids. That's what you look forward to when you come to a motor camp," Mr Clausen said.

"But everywhere around where our friends are camping in Tauranga, Waihi, the East Coast, the story is the same. It seems there's nowhere to escape this weather apart from Central Otago but that's a long way to drive."

Park manager Kevin Lloyd said the weather has somewhat helped holiday park operators in the sense those that set up tents at beaches had moved to motor camps after enduring rain for one or two days.

Whangarei Falls' Holiday Park registered about half a dozen cancellations since Christmas day but manager Graham Kenrick said holidaymakers braved the elements and were in high spirits.

"It's unusual to have poor or wet weather at this time. Some people who intended to use tents have cancelled their stay whereas some that are in tents have inquired about cabin accommodation," he said.

"We're also finding that people are shortening their stay.

"Those that would have usually stayed for 10 to 14 days are making it only three to five days due to the weather."

Mr Kenrick said cancellations this year were significantly more than in previous years.

The Twin Pines' Tourist Park in Paihia has had eight cancellations since Christmas Day, with mostly short-stayers not turning up because of the rain. Manager Dick Harries said four visitors did not turn up on Wednesday and another four on Thursday but bookings picked up from yesterday. He had about 150 guests at noon yesterday.

"Those staying longer are happily pulling tents but those intending to stay three days over New Year are not turning up," he said.

- Northern Advocate

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