Sandspit: Park one big happy family

By Imogen Crispe

Sandspit Holiday Park has a wonderful beach and plenty of activities to enjoy. Photo / Supplied
Sandspit Holiday Park has a wonderful beach and plenty of activities to enjoy. Photo / Supplied

Sandspit Holiday Park is a family-oriented getaway 45 minutes north of Auckland that is steeped in history, having been a campsite since 1935.

Owners Jared and Zena Morrison have been running it for six years and are determined to make it better every year.

The park may be unique in New Zealand, with its own replica pioneer village and shops. Four original buildings date from the 1900s, two of which were part of a school.

The Morrisons live in the site's original homestead.

The park's cabins and baches for hire also have history. One cabin used to be the Sandspit Post Office, and the baches date back to the 1960s and 1970s.

Jared said it became a commercial campsite in the 1960s. The park was family-focused with a strict quiet policy after 10.30pm.

"We don't have partyers coming here."

Guests have the option of camping or staying in a cabin or bach.

Among the activities offered for parents and children are free kayak and paddleboats, tramping, a golf course, bush walks and donkeys and sheep to visit.

If it rains there's a games room, a TV room and a library.

Since they bought the park, the Morrisons have built a barbecue area which doubles as an outdoor kitchen, and plan to build a new ablutions block next year.

Jared said Sandspit was a very popular park and people had to book well in advance.

"It's hard to get in here over the Christmas-New Year period. I've had people on waiting-lists for two years."

He said the busiest night was usually New Year's Eve when they often had 500 to 600 people staying. What Jared liked best about the park was the feel of it. "I think the atmosphere that's here, especially when it's busy. The numbers of kids running around, you can just tell they're not bored. There's always something to do here."

Sandspit Holiday Park is close to other attractions such as Kawau Island, Goat Island, SheepWorld, Waiwera Thermal Resort, horseriding and a number of wineries.

CAMPER'S INFO

* From Auckland via the toll road, take SH1 to Warkworth then take Sandspit Rd turnoff to the end of the road.

* Adults $16, children $8 per night.

* Cabins - $60-$120 per night for 2 people.

* No pets.

* Showers, toilets, kitchen, laundry, dump station.

* Booking details at sandspitholidaypark.co.nz.

- Herald on Sunday

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