Friday, January 09, 2009

Under Canvas

Camping grounds- you probably know them well.

Camping sites that measure exactly one meter more than your tent or caravan.
Toilet and shower blocks of bare concrete that are about as clean as the average milking shed.
Surly caretakers.
Route marches to the nearest water/toilet/shower.
Living two meters away from the Addams Family (and cousins)
Bins overflowing with Lion Red bottles.
Flies for Africa.
A kitchen full of fat German tourists cooking lard.
Drunken Bacradi Breezer-belching teenagers talking (and screaming) at 105 decibels at 2am.
Did I mention the toilets- almost as filthy as those found in France?

Well, I found none of this at the Carterton Holiday Park - believe it-or not!

The grounds were like- well- a park. Plenty of shelter from sun and wind and well-groomed grass. We picked a site under one of those spiny fir trees for our tent (hint: birds can't roost in the outer branches of such trees!) We had room for a station wagon and a ute, plus had a large wooden picnic table out front of the tent. The grounds are next to large sports fields and a chilrdens playground (with a REALLY big slide)

Pete and Di, who run this example of what a camping ground SHOULD be and seldom is- were always helpful and friendly.

The toilets, showers and kitchen were always spotless. I have never seen such clean communal facilities outside of an Army barracks on inspection day! The showers required a $1 token for five minute- which gets around the problem of shower-hogging girlies (so says the wife) You can have a cold shower for free and at this time of year that is what I want-34 degrees C yesterday!

The office had a few basics for sale- washing powder and packets of cereal and tokens for the showers ($1 token for five minutes) but just outside the gate was a well-stocked dairy and there was a supermarket about 1km away.

The town is about 800 meters away and full of great restaurants, cafes and takeaways. Tasti Takaways do huge feeds of Fish & Chips and Chinese food for very reasonable prices and there is something for all budgets.

About 500 meters away is the local swimming pool and a swim may be had for the sum of $2.00 The pool is a outdoor one and much nicer than the run-down holding ponds that pass for pools in the South Wairarapa.

With small children, this camping ground worked well for us, as it was small, well-fenced and we could easily keep track of straying kids. For me, I could travel to work each day and leave the family to it and return each night with fresh supplies of food, drink and ice.

If the weather obliges I shall return in a couple of weeks!

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