Kaitoke king amid camping boom
The long hot summer was a boomer one for Wellington’s campers, with record numbers flocking to the region’s parks for a slice of sun.
Kaitoke Regional Park was the canvas capital with 14,000 campers over the summer season. On some weekends up to 400 sites were filled.
Many campers also took to Battle Hill Farm Forest Park and those who truly wanted to get back to nature flocked to Wellington’s other regional parks, including Belmont
and the Rimutaka Rail Trail near Ladle Bend and the Summit.
While the summer may have been a one off, the trend toward camping isn’t – three years of continued growth have seen revenues taken in by GWRC grow nearly 80% to $79,000 this summer.
This camping boom is driven by cheaper and better equipment, a desire to get back to nature and better campsite management.
Campers have also been attracted to Kaitoke to visit Rivendell, the Middle Earth refuge for Elves as depicted in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
The Rivendell Archway replica was unveiled in March as a tribute to the film, turning the park into an essential destination for Lord of the Rings fans.
GWRC reinvests its growing revenues back into the parks to meet demand for better services.
For example, Kaitoke already has free barbeques, rubbish collection and events and tours between January and March.
“From next summer there will be an increased ranger presence to manage and patrol the campsite, more convenient access to EFTPOS facilities, better toilets and a new recycling facility. We are also considering powered sites for motor caravans,” says Principal Ranger (Eastern) Jimmy Young.