The former home of Scouts at Whanganui's Lake Wiritoa is now the Lakelands Holiday Park.

Jackie and Darryl Dowman have bought the property, previously called Scoutlands, after Scouts New Zealand put it up for sale. They officially took over on November 28 after being in a managerial role for a month.

For the Dowmans, well-known for their motorcycle business of about 30 years, the new venture is something of a dream come true.

"Jackie always wanted to do something like this and I was interested," Darryl said.


"We had looked at things like this before we went into the motorbike shop. A lot of people don't realise it's a public campground. We plan to run it as a holiday park.

"Not a lot is going to change. It needs a spruce-up, so we'll do a bit of upgrading.

"The location is key. The majority of people who come to stay are from overseas and they say it's a hidden gem, which is our opinion as well. A number of overseas people come to stay for one night and love the location and decide to stay another night. They love the lake and bush."

Jackie says a lot of groups use the facilities, which include six cabins, 30 powered sites and 30 tent sites as well as an A-frame building, huge commercial kitchen and dining area. They plan to turn the bottom of the A-frame into a recreation room.

"We've had school camps, waka ama, team building, birthday parties and we've got a wedding booked," Jackie said.

"The Scouts are still coming out to the camp and we want to keep them involved.

"It's very interesting talking to all the people who come through."

As well as activities on Lake Wiritoa, the surrounding mountain biking tracks and horse riding are popular. There is also a water slide and a confidence course at the holiday park.


The Dowmans plan to subdivide part of the property into sections while retaining the majority of land and amenities at the rear.

The bottom of the A-frame building will become a recreation room. Photo / Stuart Munro
The bottom of the A-frame building will become a recreation room. Photo / Stuart Munro