It's almost summer, the weather is starting to improve, the holiday season is fast-approaching and it's time to think about checking out the camping gear and deciding where to pitch your tent next.
There's been a lot of publicity in recent years about the closure of campgrounds - usually because the owners found they could make more money subdividing the land - but there are still plenty of fantastic camping spots around the country.
And camping gear gets better all the time. It's certainly advanced a long way from the leaky ex-army tent and the straw-filled palliasse I had to rely on the first time I went camping. These days you can live in the wilderness in comfort.
What could be better than sitting in a reclining chair under the shade of an aged pohutukawa, supping on a cool ale or glass of wine, while the kids play peacefully on the beach and the family angler strides into the breakers to surfcast for a fine fat snapper for tea? Bliss.
To make a camping holiday even more attractive this summer, Herald Travel and outdoor company Kathmandu are offering readers the chance to win a $3000 package of camping equipment, and we're also offering some great suggestions on the best places around the country to camp.
The prize package consists of a Retreat 270 tent ($1099), Roamer double airbed ($119), Maison moon chair ($139), Cabana recliner deluxe chair ($159), Maison camp kitchen ($259), Camp lantern LED 300 with remote ($139), four-person Cooler box and picnic set ($159), Cabana resin table ($139), Cadec Safari Chef barbecue ($199), Camp Kitchen set deluxe ($179) and two Globe sleeping bags ($249 each), all from Kathmandu.
But to be in to win you need to tell us - and our readers - about your secret favourite camping spot.
Just write your name and address on the back of an envelope, give a daytime phone number and name the camping place that's so good you don't want others to know about. Sorry, but if you want to win the prize, that's the price you'll have to pay. If you like, you can add a few words in support of your choice on a note inside the envelope.
Entries should be posted to: Camping Competition, Herald Travel, PO Box 3290, Auckland, by noon on Tuesday, November 15. The winner will be named in Travel on Tuesday, November 22.By Jim Eagles Email Jim