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“Overpriced! Over promised by price & under delivered”

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Blue Heron Waterfront Holiday Park
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed February 1, 2014

This camp site is for sale which I think has a massive impact on how it is run. We tried booking over the phone but were told we needed to book through the AA website and it was a minimum 5 night stay. We have a large canvas tent, a trailer and car and were told 11B would be suitable so we requested that. We had to pay up front on the AA website and there were no refunds under any circumstances. I will never make that mistake again. It cost just over $100 per night for a camp site for 2 adults and 3 children (5, 7 & 10) - the most we have ever paid.

Once booked we received an email from the managers (Bill and Pam) confirming our booking saying we were not allowed to check in before 3pm and if we arrived earlier we should consider paying for an extra night (the AA site states check in time is 2pm). They also emailed us 18 rules that we needed to abide by.

Upon check in we were told the camp site we had requested was no longer available and they'd show us other sites. This camp site is really small and in my opinion is not suitable for tenting. The sites are all hard, muddy (little grass) and has lots of stones (which tenters know, this damages the underside of your tent). Some sites would only be suitable for a small 4 man tent and I doubt whether you'd get your car on it aswell (you have to have your car on the site - 1 of the rules). We didn't complain and chose the only real option of camp site 1. This is right next to the front gate (next to the public boat ramp) so I was concerned for the entire stay that we were vulnerable in terms of theft as there was no gate, cameras or security.

We arrived on Sunday 26th January (and stayed for the required 5 nights), and the toilets/showers were not cleaned until I complained on the Wednesday. I complained to Pam and told her I thought the standards were low and we'd paid too much. I showed her the pooh mark on the button for the toilet, the grime around the taps, the shower foot area that hadn't been cleaned and gave her the hand towels that hadn't been changed. She told me that her job was to manage the park and that the cleaning of the toilet blocks was the cleaner's job (he lives on site). She said she had told the owner he was useless but they didn't want to do anything about it. She told me the cleaner had 1 eye and couldn't see properly! I asked her who I should complain to and she said she'd pass a written email onto the owner. I haven't bothered and I get the feeling it would be a total waste of time!

Other things that irritated me: If 2 people used the shower at the same time, there was no pressure; the kitchen only had 2 sinks (only 1 had a plug); the fridge was broken and froze all our food, so we had to throw away some previously cooked meat and eggs; the wifi was only available in th kitchen (and there were strict regulations about its use); there were some permanent people living on the site (about 4 plus 2 managers) and on a small site that is virtually empty (I wonder why!) you feel out numbered; the camp site is really exposed to the wind; you are not allowed to string up your own washing lines for drying clothes and the 1 shared one has rusty string parts; cleanliness was disgusting for the price and the washing machines had drime on the underside.

In summary my opinion is that it would be fine to stay there for 1 night in a camper van. It is not suitable for kids. It is small and all the rules do not fit with family life.

Its a shame, it was obviously a well run park in it's day (looking at past reviews) but Pam and Bill are dreadful managers, I can only assume the owners are waiting for someone to buy the land to develop it so longer care. If that is the case, my advice would be for them to drop their prices to reflect the service on offer.

My advice? Go somewhere else.

  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled with family
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3  Thank mrsbeenz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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70 - 76 of 89 reviews

Reviewed January 31, 2014

Spent last weekend up here to camp with our dogs. The ground was very hard with lots of roots and stones making it hard to get pegs in and prevent damaged to our tent. It was also very hard to fit our tent and our car in the tiny marked out tent site. We were asked to move the car onto the site because they were going to get full over the weekend. It never filled up at all, so was a bit of a waste of effort trying to squeeze onto the site while keeping room for our neighbouring campers to get their cars out..

The site allowed dogs however they were not allowed on the beach between 9am-5pm as well as communal areas of the camp. There was a good walking track along the beach where it was good to take the dogs for a walk and to do their business (don't forget to clean up!). Although we had to pay $10 a night for each dog, nothing additional was provided to cater for the dogs (i.e. bins, place to tie them up while you use the bathroom) and they were very strict on not leaving dogs unattended at all times. You can imagine how hard this makes it to put up a tent, cook dinner and use the bathrooms.

The toilets and kitchen facilities were clean and adequate. We had to pay 50c for a shower, so make sure you take some spare coins.

All in all we did enjoy our stay here with the dogs but feel it was too expensive ($80 for two people and two dogs per night for an unpowered tent site).

Room Tip: If camping bring a mallet to get the pegs in and possibly a ground mat to prevent damage to the tent...
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  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank H0llyay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 22, 2014

A lovely place to stay and very clean and tidy.The owners were lovely and very helpful.Will be back.There are many beautiful walks close by and only ten minutes from Whangarei..Although the camp ground is small there was never a rush for showers toilets etc.Cooking facilities very good.The views very nice.A very peaceful spot.

  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank LindaAnn2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 20, 2014

Extremely disappointed by the lack of competence displayed by the so called 'managers' of the Blue Heron. A year a go we made several bookings for guests travelling nationally and internationally who were coming to our wedding. We put a good amount of business through them and they managed to mess up every single one of our bookings. My guests were left without the accommodation that I had specifically chosen for them after they had double booked our cabins. Other guests who had made their own bookings were downgraded and left out of pocket. When I tried to resolve the issues with the managers they passed the buck, blaming the previous managers and saying that they could not help as it was out of their hands - they were after all "only the managers". A little bit of good will and help goes a long way in my book... as does word of mouth and so far I have nothing good to day about them. It's sad when you can not put faith in and support your local businesses but I am left feeling extremely frustrated and disappointed with our experience. Would certainly not recommend to anyone, drive the extra few km and stay in Frog Town would be my suggestion.

Stayed: January 2014, traveled with family
2  Thank Miriam B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 11, 2014

This was the second time we have stayed here. Last year was so easy, very relaxed and helpful managers, and the owner, Elaine?? was really good.
This year was a different story, the new managers Bill and Pamela, seemed stressed and were constantly running around telling people what they couldn't do. The favourite was where people could and more to the point, couldn't, park their cars, any car parked outside the very small pitches were pounced on.
We have a dog and this year it seemed like we weren't allowed to take the dog anywhere on the site. We paid for the camping in advance but weren't charged for the dog (an oversight on their part) during our stay we were constantly hassled to pay for the dog, it was really beyond a joke. We told them that we would pay before we left but it seemed that this was not good enough and we were repeatedly asked to pay for the dog several times a day - always when we were coming or going and just didn't have money or cards on us. It sounds stupid but it did have a big negative effect on our stay.
I don't think that we will go back here next year, it was all a bit too hard.

  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled with family
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Thank Steve M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 10, 2014

At first read on review this looks like a perfect campnig, but somehow I've been a bit disappointing.
Talking about the positive points:
small human size camping, the owners are really lovely and happy to help whenever they can, sanitaries looks brand new,
location is really nice! nice view, atypic!
10 min from Whangarei

talking about the negative point:
you have to pay 50c per shower (for a non powered tent site at $60 for a couple /night I found it a bit rought! why is it always the more expensive camp ground which ask you to pay for shower, BBQ, etc..???)
the shower looks great but doesn't work really well (no pressure at all, and really difficult to get warm water, i mean not boiling and not cold. This searching time is precious when you have shampoing in your head and the timer running!!)
no intimacy in the shower/toilet: you'll hear about every thing people are doing, not always pleasant...
only 2 shower and 2 toilets in a small unit for the whole camping, which means it was crowded the morning in the ladies room
And last: our tente site as so much rocks in the ground that we had a really hard time to set up the small tent we have. don't know about the others but if you can avoid tent site number 6. tent site are quite small by the way and really tight one with others, don't expect to settle a nice big tent or a caravan with an outside area, won't fit.

At the end I would say, that it is a nice one night camping, but a bit expensive for what you get at the end of the day, if think new owner should re-think the lay out to make more workable and confortable, make up is not enough for such a price.

Room Tip: one night no more
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  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank danlemile
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 3, 2014

What a great place to stay. New owners Bill and Pamela are wonderful, so calm and helpful and lovely to chat with. We stayed from 26 December to 1st January. Although it was full on the 31st you wouldn't have known, it is well spread out and being not too big it was never too noisy. No waits for showers which were always clean as were the toilets. The kitchen blocks were always spotless and well resourced. There are two blocks, one up the top with electric/gas oven, microwave, 2 sinks, fridge, tables and and a TV and down by the water is a BBQ house which has 1 bbq, microwave, sink, 2 fridges and freezer and tables and chairs. This one overlooks the harbour so nice place to cook and eat. The cabin was perfect, comfy bed, small fridge, jug, glasses and mugs, tea towels, table for two and our cabin had 1 double bed and a set of 2 single bunks.
Location is perfect, easy drive to the point to lots of bays and Mt Manaia and also in to Whangarei and back out to Tutukaka etc.
So much to do in the area, one day we drove to Paihia and ferried to Russell, another day Abbey Caves, Matapouri Bay and Tutukaka, a day on 'Pefect Day' snorkelling trip out from Tutukaka was amazing. Another day Mt Manaia and kayaking at Reotahi.
Fully recommend Blue Heron Holiday Park, would stay there again if up that way!

Room Tip: We had cabin 101 which was on the end and across from the kitchen which was super handy. The toilet...
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  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank chrissymike
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Blue Heron Waterfront Holiday Park

Address: Blue Heron Waterfront Holiday Park 85 Scott Road RD 4 | Tamaterau, Whangarei Heads 0174, New Zealand
Location: New Zealand > North Island > Northland Region > Whangarei Heads
Amenities:
Beach Free Parking Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly )
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 5 Specialty Lodging in Whangarei Heads

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