We have used motor camps in New Zealand for over 40 years and I can quite honestly say we have never stayed at a motor camp with so many rules. This is a gorgeous spot and we were so looking forward to staying here over the Easter break. We had booked well in advance, quite a large group of us. It was great to be all together, however the beautiful sites with views of the water were left vacant while we were all sited behind a fence, so disappointing. No one used these sea view sites while we were there, how nice it would have been to have been given the option of using these.
Some of our party arrived before their official check in time on Good Friday hoping to make the most of the public holiday and were told if they wanted to go in early they would have to pay for an extra night; really?? We have never ever struck this before when the park is almost empty! When others asked if they could stay an extra couple of hours on check out day they were told yes but had to pay for an extra night! Or pack up, park outside and come back in as a visitor. Of course they didn't stay! And won't be back!
You must set up your caravan with the tow bar facing forward, not allowed to go sideways on your site and no way are your tent or awning ropes allowed over the painted lines - yes they do check!
The showers are nice but you need a 60 cent token for five minutes. When the time is up the shower stops, not even cold water to finish washing off. You have no idea that the water is about to finish, so make sure you have a couple of spare tokens if you are also showering the kids. Tokens are also needed for the microwave in the kitchen and there is no toaster. There are no water taps near the cabins so make sure you pack water containers.
Lighting is poor In the camp, (there were lights but they appeared to be mostly turned off) you will need a torch if you want to find a toilet after dark, especially as they are not all open, and steps need to be negotiated. The toilet block nearest us was closed, the next one along was old and the toilet doors could not be locked. So quite a long walk to the newer block for after dark visits.
No bike riding in the camp is allowed, and it's a very big camp. You have to wheel your bike all the way through the camp to the street. Can understand if the camp was full but at quiet times surely this rule could be relaxed a little. We left the bikes on the car, and told our friends not to bring the kid's bikes, they were disappointed, they had hoped to be able to ride their bikes on the grass - too young to take to the streets on their own!
The camp was nice and quiet at night and we loved the water and the beach and the playground was great. Lots of friendly campers (and many had their own stories of camp management rules).
The camp deserves a higher rating, because it is in such a gorgeous place and it does look nice. We do understand about rules that are in place to keep us safe, however with all these rigid management rules I can honestly say we will not be returning. We just did not feel welcome.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Waterfront sites with beach view, powered sites suitable for campervans and caravans, tent sites and backpacker cabins. Family orientated camp ground, open all year. 2 minutes off State Highway 1 travelling North, 1.5 hours North of Auckland, 30 minutes south of Whangarei. Hot showers, kitchens, washing machines, dryers, internet, tennis court, playground. Safe swimming both in estuary and beach. ... more less