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“Ruakaka Beach Motor Camp - too many rules”

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Ruakaka Beach Holiday Park
Reviewed April 29, 2014

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.

Room Tip: When booking ask for a site with water view, or near an open facilities block.
  • Stayed: April 2014, traveled with friends
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6  Thank auckwood
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ruakakacamp, Manager at Ruakaka Beach Holiday Park, responded to this reviewResponded May 7, 2014

Thank you for your feedback, sorry that the sites on the other side of the fence were still available over your stay period, they had actually been booked but the customers didn't show, presume due to terrible storm that happened just before Easter, otherwise we would have been happy to move you here instead if you had inquired as it is a beautiful spot in the right weather conditions. Our arrival and departure times are on all our booking confirmations, this is to help customers. As we are regulated by the Fire Safety Act to have a 3 metre gap between sites, our sites are designed to be large enough to accommodate a large caravan with awning (or family tent), gazebo and one vehicle. On arrival we explain that our water is Town Supply and safe to drink, this is on our Camp map also, taps are behind the cabins or at the Power boxes at the sites. Our camp has night lights (street lights) which come on at dusk and turn off at 11 pm - standard times at most Holiday Parks, but there are outside lights on the amenity blocks that are on all night and inside lights that can be switched on/off like any home.
Glad you enjoyed our beautiful location and sorry you felt this way.

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Reviews (45)
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35 - 41 of 45 reviews

Reviewed April 24, 2014

Beautiful spot to stay with lovely views over the water (if you happen to get a good site). These stunning sites were empty all week and we got the ones behind the fence blocking the view. We stayed a week with a group using seven sites. Be careful if you arrive too early or you will be charged an extra night, likewise if you leave after 11am the next day. The people who run the camp are very unwelcoming and try their best to make sure you don't return. Over the week they locked the shower facilities and the only toilet with a lockable door.... and left us with one awful shower with a curtain separating us from the toilet. They locked the laundry room. Didn't turn on the outside lights at night and took away the rubbish and recycling bins in our area. We left a day earlier than planned as it was getting ridiculous, we hardly had anything left to use!. There is no toaster or kettle and you have to pay for EVERYTHING! Will not return here unless there is a change of ownership.
PS Don't put your tent over the 'lines' or they will charge you for an extra site....

Room Tip: Ask for a site with a view of the water.
  • Stayed: April 2014, traveled with family
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5  Thank TorbayFive
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ruakakacamp, Manager at Ruakaka Beach Holiday Park, responded to this reviewResponded May 7, 2014

Thank you for your feedback, sorry you weren't happy with the water view sites your group had. When you booked these were the only water-view sites available together for your large group, these sites were lucky enough to be in a sheltered area but still next to the water edge at the time due to the terrible storm at the start of Easter weekend that we experienced. As most of your group left at the end of Easter weekend, this leaving only a couple of sites occupied in this area, we try to keep our prices affordable by running the Park as economically and cost efficient as possible, hence the reason for closing the large amenity block and only keeping the small one open. The evening lights (street lights) are automatically set to come on on dusk and turn off at 11 pm and most campgrounds run to this same procedure. But there is outside lights on the amenity buildings themselves that go all night. Some of your group were booked in from the Thursday but arrived Friday morning from 9 am, this is the reason for the night before charge. Our arrival time is 1 pm and departure by 11 am - standard times. Sorry there was no toaster in the kitchen, it must of had a walk before your arrival, but there are hot-water zips on the walls available 24 hours. Our site sizes are standard and are able to accommodate a large caravan with awning (or family tent), gazebo and one vehicle. We are required by the Fire Safety Act to have a 3 metre gap between sites, hence the reason we have regulated large sites.

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Reviewed April 16, 2014

This is a large campground set back from the beach accessed via a path through sand dunes with a small river to one side. White sand open gently sloping beach. The campground is a long established site with the usual powered sites and cabins. We have visited three times in our motor caravan and been near the facilities closest to the dunes. We generally use campgrounds off peak and there is always plenty of space then. The facilities block has improved and is clean. Showers are by prepaid token and in off season, can take a while for the hot water to arrive so your five minutes can mean a shortened shower. Unusual in my experience but the stoves/microwaves in the kitchen also required tokens.

Charges are reasonable and overall, I am quite happy to go there again. Surf Club, shop and cafe nearby.

Good playground for children

  • Stayed: April 2014, traveled with family
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Thank Adrian M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ruakakacamp, Manager at Ruakaka Beach Holiday Park, responded to this reviewResponded May 6, 2014

Thank you for your honest feedback, much appreciated. Glad you enjoy our small slice of paradise. Sorry about your shortened shower, in the off-peak season it is best to run the hot tap at the hand basin first to allow the hot-water to run through the pipework from the boiler, this allows a complete five minute hot shower. We are looking into ways to improve this issue for the future.

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Reviewed February 6, 2014


This is a fantastic park in regards to the location and facilities. If the rating was on this alone I would have given this park an excellent rating. Unfortunately, the attitude of management has brought my review right down to terrible. Very rude and unhelpful which is such a shame when you have saved all year and looking forward to your family holiday. Every time the camp management came near our camp I felt as though I should run and hide. Extremely tight and unnecessary rules. I understand the need for rules, but there are so many rules (these were not pointed out) here that I really didn't feel like I was enjoying myself, unless i ventured offsite. Suh a shame, wont be coming back under this management.

  • Stayed: December 2013
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4  Thank Melissa K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ruakakacamp, Manager at Ruakaka Beach Holiday Park, responded to this reviewResponded May 6, 2014

Thank you for your feedback, we do have a lovely location beside a beautiful estuary. Sorry you found the rules so terrible, unfortunately these have had to be put in place to help make everyone's stay safe and enjoyable. Our rules and regulations are on our website and on arrival the site holder is given the Camp map with their site allocation which has information on it about our Park. With a camping area this large, such Polices are necessary to help ensure safety and well-being of everyone.

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Reviewed January 27, 2014

Really enjoyed our week here and will be back in the future. Camp was in great location, loads to do, ie estuary, swings into water, Slides, Surf beach, playground for kids etc etc... Facilities we used were always clean and tidy and all for a good price too....

Room Tip: Loads of different tent sites to choose from, depends what you are after, make sure you talk to pers...
  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled with family
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2  Thank Jacqui P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ruakakacamp, Manager at Ruakaka Beach Holiday Park, responded to this reviewResponded May 6, 2014

Thank you for your lovely comments, glad you enjoyed your stay and were able to experience the lovely location we have.

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Reviewed January 26, 2014

While the camp facilities are well maintained a stay here is often spoilt by an overzealous camp manager who has no idea about how to talk to people. While it is necessary to have rules to ensure that the campers do not interfere with other peoples' use of the camp facilities, the rigid application of these rules, whatever the situation, and the manner in which people are censured for breaking the rules leaves a bad taste in many campers' mouths. The camp may be half full but park your vehicle on a vacant site and wait for all hell to break loose. Fail to have your vehicle out of the camp grounds a few minutes after checkout time on your departure day and get threatened with being charged an extra days' fees. Understandable perhaps if new campers are fighting to get in the place but when the camp is less than half full, you have vacated your site, and are just saying goodbye to relatives staying on, it seems a little over the top and unnecessary.

  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled with family
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4  Thank grandad49
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ruakakacamp, Manager at Ruakaka Beach Holiday Park, responded to this reviewResponded May 6, 2014

Thanks for your comments, sorry you have had a bad experience, but unfortunately our Park Rules are to help make everyone's stay safe and enjoyable. The simple rule of having your vehicle parked on your own site not the one next door is to enable the next customer to be able to set up on their site they have chosen and not have to unnecessarily ask for vehicles to be moved. The sites are big enough to accommodate a caravan & awning (or family tent) as well as a gazebo and one vehicle. Check out Policy is 11 am, you are most welcome to check out and then visit your friends for the rest of the day as a visitor.

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Reviewed January 3, 2014

Very rude people running this camp, wouldn't let us sign in 5 mins early and then it took 30 mins to sign in because of all the people she had told to wait.. Massive amount of road noise, Park rules were overboard, Nice Beach. Won't be going back.

  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled with family
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5  Thank Vincent B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ruakakacamp, Manager at Ruakaka Beach Holiday Park, responded to this reviewResponded May 6, 2014

Thank you for your feedback. Sorry that you had to wait to check in. Unfortunately this is a busy time of the season for departures and arrivals where it is important for customers to check out by the time of 11am enabling us to have sites tidied up and office procedures prepared for the new arrivals from 1pm onwards. Although you felt our Park rules were overboard, these simple rules are in place to help make everyones stay safe and enjoyable.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Ruakaka Beach Holiday Park

Address: 21 Ruakaka Beach Road, Ruakaka 0116, New Zealand
Location: New Zealand > North Island > Northland Region > Ruakaka
Amenities:
Beach Free Parking Kitchenette Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 2 Specialty Lodging in Ruakaka
Price Range: $22 - $66 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Ruakaka Beach Holiday Park 3*
Number of rooms: 335
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 

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