Thursday, 26 November 2020

WHITIANGA WEATHER

Locals advised to book early to enjoy their big backyard this summer

The swarm of Coromandel residents who decamp to their local big backyard at Puketui Valley may need to plan ahead this summer with bookings for sites at the Broken Hills campground moving online for the first time.

The Department of Conservation has added the site, which has long been popular with locals, to its online reservations system as it looks to manage the heightened demand for camping spots this season as more Kiwis holiday at home. Broken Hills, which sits alongside the Tairua River, is among 42 sites and eight huts across New Zealand recently added to system which also aims to address problems with some campers failing to pay fees.

Currently the cost to stay at Broken Hills is $15 per night for an adult and $7.50 per child. Those aged four and under are free. The campground is also a popular destination for day visitors who come to swim or picnic there. The location is dotted with remnants of the area’s once thriving mining industry, with historic tracks now serving as scenic walking trails.

According to the DOC website, as and from 2 November this year advance bookings are required all year round with stays restricted to three weeks. Previously, campers were required to register on arrival and deposit their payment in a secure collection box. A site manager is employed over the peak period to carry out daily checks. It is expected that, as in other DOC-run campgrounds across the Coromandel, walk-in bookings will still be possible, but only if sites are available, with online reservations given priority. Visitors to what had previously been somewhat of a hidden gem are expected to increase with the site now showing up as an available option to those wanting to book online.

“Providing individuals, groups and families confidence their accommodation is sorted and secured before arrival will enable more Kiwis to take advantage of their conservation accommodation facilities, and provide a fairer system for all,” said Tim Bamford, DOC’s Insight and Strategy Manager.

“Another advantage of the booking service is, in advance of their trip we can provide customers with safety information, track updates and if their reservation is affected by bad weather, other natural events or any cancelations due to potential COVID-19 alert level changes.”

“Our bookings and track counter data shows New Zealanders’ desire to get out into our great outdoors has been, and continues to be, strong, with significant peaks over weekends and holidays in many places. We’d encourage people to plan ahead and book early, particularly for the Christmas period and long weekends.”

The popular DOC campgrounds in the upper Coromandel have been part of the online system for some time and several, including Waikawau Bay and Port Jackson, are already showing limited availability for the Christmas and New Year peak.

Pictured: The Tairua River runs adjacent to the Broken Hills campground in the Puketui Valley. Photo courtesy of the Department of Conservation

LATEST WEEKLY ISSUE

Latest business rest of site

Mercury Bay Holiday Park

If you are looking for a quiet, relaxed atmosphere with a full range of accommodation options and great facilities, then we are the perfect place for you and your family.

ONLINE POLL

Are you in favour of the installation of water meters at private residences in the Thames-Coromandel District?

The Mercury Bay Informer is a highly popular community newspaper, based in Whitianga. The paper is distributed throughout the Coromandel Peninsula, coast to coast from Thames to north of Colville.