Jumping in a campervan, grabbing a tent or choosing a cabin is a fabulous way to see NZ. This year you just might find yourself staying in one of the hundreds of awesome family friendly holiday parks in the country.
When we talk to our guests one of the main comments we get is "we wish we...." Staying in a holiday park is great, but it is a little different to staying in a motel or hotel. We think the differences are what makes us a great choice but it definately helps to know what to expect. So here are my tips for having a Holiday Park vacation worth remembering for all the right reasons! Some are general and some are a little more specific but I hope they help.
Some parks a great for families, some for couples. Some allow pets while others definately do not. Some parks are quiet and some do have a lot of activity - you get the picture. A great way of getting more information is to go to the Holiday Parks Association of New Zealand website for an impartial directory.
Like all park hosts, we really want you to have a great time and we are just as disaapointed as you are if you arrive and are disappointed. When you book, send a quick email asking any questions you have and we'll get back to you as soon as possible. We can recommend companies to provide food deliveries and drop off baby gear and anything in between.
Many parks will have a full kitchen setting in their basic cabins for you to take to the camp kitchen, some ask you to hire them from reception. Campervans might have all the basics but you might want to bring an extra blanket or specialty kitchen item like a blender. Make sure you find out if linen is included. While we make up every bed, some parks still ask you to bring your own bedding. This can get you off to a bad start if you arrive late and find you need to hire a linen pack and make your own beds.
Communal kitchens are a fantastic place to really get into the camp vibe. There is usually a friendly gathering of people chatting away and cooking a delicious smelling meal. Everything gets kept in the camp fridge or freezer and mistakes can happen. It's easy to grab someone elses eggs instead of your own especially if you aren't the family member who put it away. Pop your name and departure date on everything and this goes a long way to preventing misunderstandings.
As with the above tip on misunderstandings, parks sometimes do have people staying who are tempted by the 6 pack of craft beer you picked up along the way, or that casserole you have in the crock pot. Park hosts do everything we can to reduce theft however it can and does happen, even naughty people take holidays! If something goes missing let us know asap, we'll do what we can to help. Make sure you familiarise yourself with what security measures are in place and what your hosts recommend. Here, we have a very secure bike lock up and we are happy to charge your mobile phone/laptop in reception. We do offer to store a reasonable amount of baggage and valuables so they aren't left unattended in your tent or van.
Time and time again people tell us the best part of staying at a holiday park is the ability to chat with other holiday makers and for the kids to join an instant group of friends. Parks do encourage close quarters and it's much nicer to break the ice early especially if you have to politely request the radio gets turned down a little later
Remember that nice family you just met? Make sure you abide by the park rules about quietness. No one likes to call the onsite manager to ask someone to get a group to pipe down. Most parks have a guideline for everyones comfort. We ask for complete quiet between 11pm and 7am. If you do need to be up and about early, be mindful of the noise you are making as some do want that extra sleep in. Likewise if you are having a few drinks just be aware that noise does seem to carry further at night. Choosing to meet in one of the camp kitchens for a drink rather than on your balcony or between two campervans sometimes works much better.
As a host, the absolute worst situaton for us is to read a review of your stay that didn't go so well when we had no idea. The best time to let us know something has gone wrong is straight away, the second best time is at check out. Our reception team is here from 8am to 10pm everyday. We can't fix everything, but sometimes it really is a simple issue for us to remedy. We do have an onsite manager for overnight emergencies or sleep preventing problems (ie: noise or a broken lock) and we ask that you use it.
We aim to make sure our park has something to keep all kids happy, from toddlers to teens. Our only request is that you keep an eye on the kids, especially when they are riding bikes around cars. We also have a strict rule about kids under 15 being supervised in the pool. Please know this is not because we think 14 year olds can't swim! We have a great hydroslide which does tempt older kids to be dare devils, a bit of supervision goes a long way to preventing Evil Knievel moves off the top. Unattended children are asked to leave the pool until they can return with an adult.
Our reception team, along with most others around the country are super passionate about our local area and have spent considerable time discovering the best restaurants and things to do. We can help you plan your time in Christchurch with any budget and know the best tours for your needs. If you grab a loyalty card (like our TOP10 Club card) you will get lots of discounts all around the country.
With a little bit of planning you can create amazing memories this holiday season, we can't wait to meet you!