The humble summer camping trip.
It’s the start of many fond memories. Watching dad struggle to put up the family tent, hitting the beach for backyard cricket, relaxing under the trees with a good book, getting the kayaks out on the river, mountain biking through the hills, BBQ’s in the sun, fishing for fresh seafood.
But with glamping a growing trend, it doesn’t have to be so humble anymore, and you need look no further than the Hurunui District to find the best of all kiwi camping worlds.
For those seeking the balance between escapism, and still keeping a few of the comforts of home, Mt Lyford’s ‘Pod’s are the perfect getaway.
Set in the middle of the Alpine Pacific Touring Route, the Harakeke Huts are quirky dome shaped wooden homes, nestled privately in a unique alpine environment.
The Pods offer breath-taking views and unparalleled access to nature, while still providing lighting and heating, and a central pod which contains a kitchen, TV lounge, bathroom and shower. The ultimate glamping experience.
The biggest attraction for anyone staying here is the uninterrupted views of Mt Lyford and native New Zealand bush. The night skies are amazing, with almost no light pollution, it’s a dazzling experience worth sitting out for.
If you’re after a more traditional experience of the kiwi camping trip, you can take your pick from a number of unique and special environments.
From green pastures and farm style camping in Culverden, recreational river reserves along the Hurunui River, and of course the miles of untamed beaches along New Zealand’s east coast.
Beach camping is synonymous with the kiwi summer, and there’s numerous options to enjoy golden sands, an abundance of sun, ocean swimming, surfing, and the relaxed vibe of the beach.
Amberley Beach is a short drive from Christchurch, and boasts golden sands and quiet spaces for those looking for a relaxed summer environment, while Leithfield Beach Holiday Park, a family orientated seaside camp, is a short walk from the beach with plenty of activities on offer, including fishing, tennis, bush walks, popular cafés and other attractions of the Hurunui District nearby.
Motunau Beach in the Greta Valley is a quiet farming community where you can really escape from the everyday hustle.
The small settlement beckons seafood lovers, and is a popular fishing spot for the famous blue cod, while those with diving experience can also enjoy the abundance of crayfish in the area.
Or enjoy a unique kiwi family friendly camping experience in the bush clad environment of Gore Bay as a break in your travels. Gore Bay offers a safe swimming and surf beach, several walks and the stunning Cathedral Cliffs which are a must-see for anyone traveling through.
If river retreats are more to your liking, the Hurunui delivers there as well.
The Hurunui River Reserve is one of the best salmon rivers in the South Island, with most of the salmon caught in the surf just off the river mouth. While walking a short distance into the hills rewards you with spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean.
Further up the Hurunui River, the Balmoral Recreation Reserve Camping Ground provides abundant space and seclusion for relaxed recreation and fishing.
If you’re after a camping experience while still being able to enjoy the amenities of a village, there’s no better spot than the Pines Motorcamp in Hanmer Springs alpine spa village.
Surrounded by native gardens, it’s a great place to listen to the bellbirds and take in the spectacular views of the mountains. The beauty of camping in Hanmer Springs is you’re never far away from the ultimate in relaxation and adventure. Whether you’re looking to spend the day soaking in natural thermal waters, jumping on one of dozens of superb mountain bike trails, taking a quadbike tour, or pampering yourself at any one of the word class spa offerings in the village.
However you choose to embrace the great kiwi camping trip this summer, the Hurunui provides plenty of variety to suit your particular style.
So load up the car, hit the road, and create some new memories!