Department of Conservation campgrounds around Northland are packed as holidaymakers count down to the New Year in some of the region’s most scenic spots.
DOC manager Bronwyn Bauer-Hunt said all Bay of Islands campsites were already at full capacity, especially the three boat-access-only campgrounds on Urupukapuka Island.
Campsites in the Kaipara District were also full to the brim, and in the Whangārei District only Uretiti, south of Ruakākā, had a few spots left.
Bauer-Hunt said the ever-popular Maitai Bay campground, on Karikari Peninsula, was likewise full, but space could open up as some campers headed home early due to a forecast wet end to 2023.
Further north, campgrounds operated by Ngāti Kuri were also busy, but the iwi was ready to open overflow campings if required.
Ngāti Kuri facilities manager Abbey Brown said campings at Spirits Bay, Rarawa Beach and Taputapotu, near Cape Rēinga, were “pretty full”.
The iwi was also operating the campground and cabins at Waitiki Landing, 20km south of Cape Rēinga, for the first time this summer.
Waitiki Camp, and one other campsite in the Te Paki area, could be used as overflow areas, he said.
The iwi preferred campers to book beforehand online or by phone but walks-ins were still welcome and would be referred to other campsites if their first choice was booked out.
Meanwhile, two campgrounds at Kai Iwi Lakes – a series of pristine dune lakes north of Dargaville – are fully booked from December 29 until January 5, though some spots may yet become available.
The Kai Iwi Lakes campgrounds are operated by Kaipara District Council.
Meanwhile, privately-owned campgrounds around Northland were also busy.
Paihia Top Ten Holiday Park manager Rachel Andrews said the campground was always full during the Christmas-New Year break, but this year the rush started two weeks earlier than usual.
“It’s been awesome,” she said.
The early influx was dominated by overseas visitors but the current campers were a mix of Kiwis and international tourists.
The campground was fully booked until January 20 but there were always cancellations and spots opening up for new arrivals, Andrews said.