JONATHAN CARSON BRUCE MERCER
IN-TENTS HOLIDAYING: Warren O’Connor and son Liam, 14, use their Hamilton campsite as a base for Waikato sightseeing.
BRUCE MERCERCAMPERVAN MAN: Alan Cripps, 79, from Maungaturoto, Northland, stopped in Hamilton on his way to see family in Wairarapa.
in the middle of suburban Hamilton Warren O’Connor and his family are setting up camp for their annual summer holiday.
“You want to know why I’m here,” he said yesterday afternoon when the Waikato Times visited his site at the Hamilton City Holiday Park.
He was in the middle of setting up his three-room tent as the rain gave way to a rare sunny spell.
The IT manager from Wellington said he had only ever passed through Hamilton, but yesterday arrived for a 10-day stay with wife Alison and children Liam, 14, and Logan, 12.
“This is our yearly holiday. we only get the chance once a year to go camping with the family while everyone’s off school and I can take the time off work,” he said. “So this is our thing – we go and camp in an area and visit all the surrounding areas, and then next year we’ll camp somewhere else.”
they plan to base themselves at the holiday park and visit popular Waikato tourist sites such as Waitomo Caves, Raglan and Tirau, but were also looking forward to exploring the city.
“We’ll do the shopping and go to the zoo and the gardens,” he said.
He had been given a bit of a hard time from friends and colleagues in Wellington for choosing Hamilton as a summer holiday destination. “Why Hamilton?” they asked. “That’s what we’re here to find out,” Mr O’Connor reasoned, and he was certain the dicey weather would not put a damper on the trip.
The holiday park, on Ruakura Rd in Hamilton East, is minutes from the city. But surrounding trees provided a sense of isolation – something Mr O’Connor said was similar to Napier where the family went camping last year.
Meanwhile, Alan Cripps, 79, from Maungaturoto, Northland, also pulled up at the holiday park in his campervan yesterday afternoon.
He was on the way to Carterton to visit his cousin and said he always stopped in Hamilton twice a year – once on the way down, and again on the way back. “It’s on the way to everywhere,” he said.
“It’s a great place. I really like Hamilton. The people are nice and friendly and there’s lots to do.
“There’s the zoo and the river and lots of walks along the river, and a nice town, lots of nice shops.”
Holiday park manager Janet Dombroski said it was quiet yesterday and blamed the rain for deterring holidaymakers.
But she estimated up to 2000 visitors would flock to the park over summer. firstname.lastname@example.org
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