Updating my Far North and Northland camping blogs from Summer 2017.
We recently returned from a road trip to northland which included a night in both Ahipara and Matakohe. See: northland road trip travel guide
I’m happy to say that both places are awesome as always. in two years the changes have been minimal while the pricing remains the same.
AHIPARA HOLIDAY PARK (previous blog)
The road to the upper terrace where we usually camp has been cemented. This makes it accessible for campervans and caravans and some of the sites up there now are powered. Our bamboo grove is one of these and although we were disappointed by it’s 'upgrade' and spruce, we found another fab unpowered site on the other side shaded by pines with a peep of the sea.
The new paddock area is now a fully functioning addition to the park, although the trees are small and the campers (on the night we stayed there) partied up a storm. It has no appeal at all.
What hasn’t changed: They haven't relocated the ping pong table.
New discovery: The 24/7 piped music in the ablutions is streamed from the internet, see: TuneIn
The meet ’n greet at reception says it all. This Holiday Park seems to employ young international backpackers, perhaps offering an exchange of board and lodging for a couple of hours work? The result is that you are attended to by young, fresh faced travellers with strongly accented English, huge enthusiasm for where they are and first-hand experience of dune surfing at Cape Reinga. It makes you feel like you’re on an OE in your own country.
Until you ask a question they can’t answer. Such as: what is that music in the loos at 3.00 am? Then you’re introduced to the owner, a not-so-young but equally helpful Kiwi, who takes you back of house to show you the link on his computer.
Finding yourself camped next to a group of young travellers and a bunch of tiny tents sounds warning bells (see our night with the Nomads tour group). What we seek out is a single tiny tent with one or two bicycles. The owner/s invariably are too exhausted from peddling all day even to talk, let alone party. When it comes to packing down, their set up is lightweight and quiet, and there’s no way to rev a bicycle. Snoring is the biggest risk here.
MATAKOHE HOLIDAY PARK (previous blog)
Wifi is available at the park, free, in the vicinity of the main house.
What hasn’t changed:
The welcoming, down-home country feel.
New discovery: For the first time we camped on a different site (the one behind our favourite Number 30) because it offered more shelter from the strong westerly wind. Still a good an experience, and as there were no cows or sheep in the paddock, we didn't feel as though we were missing out on our farmyard fix.
Again, the meet ’n greet instantly conveys the feel of the place. It's as though you're arriving at a homestay. The office is small and personal, fronted by the owner or her rellies. Their house overlooks the park, and the cottagey style of it is echoed in the motel units and camp kitchen. There's this blend of things being clean and tidy, at the same time they're relaxed and friendly. Love it.