Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Coromandel campsites pitched for summer

Bookings have opened for several Department of Conservation (DOC) northern Coromandel campsites, with visitors being urged to get in early.

DOC says the campsites at Fletcher Bay, Port Jackson, Stony Bay, Fantail Bay and Waikawau Bay offer idyllic seaside camping on a “pack in, pack out” basis.

Although several of the campsites sustained damage after Cyclone Gabrielle, and were closed for several months while repaired, they will be available from staggered opening dates in October, the Department confirmed today.

Post-cyclone work included inspecting vaults below toilets, fixing water take infrastructure, rebuilding internal roads within the campsites, repairing bridges and culverts and removing strewn vegetation and some trees.

DOC’s Coromandel Operations Manager, Nick Kelly says his team has made some changes to the campsites’ management this year to support the area’s recovery from Cyclone Gabrielle.

“Although we’re really pleased to be able to offer these camping experiences for this summer, we have opted to reduce visitor capacity at several locations,” he says.

The capacity reductions for this summer mean Port Jackson will host 185 people (previously 250), there’ll be a 200-person limit at Fletcher Bay (previously 300), and 60 people at Fantail Bay (previously 80).

“Reducing capacity at these campsites allows DOC to work with Thames-Coromandel District Council to lower traffic volumes on the gravel roads accessing these locations,” Mr Kelly says.

“There are still some challenges with these roads and it’s a safe and sensible option to limit the vehicles using them to get to our campsites.”

The other changes at Port Jackson and Fletcher Bay are an adjustment to the service standard – from what DOC terms a ‘standard camp’ to ‘backcountry standard’. The differences are explained here, on DOC’s website, and relate to the facilities and assets DOC provides for visitors to use.

At Fantail Bay, the service will be reduced – meaning DOC’s staff will visit less often than previous summers.

Mr Kelly said it’s vital visitors planning to stay at the northern Coromandel campsites go fully prepared and understand their isolation.

“Reducing capacity at these campsites allows DOC to work with Thames Coromandel District Council to lower traffic volumes on the gravel roads accessing these locations,” he said.

“Coromandel’s road network – including some of those routes in the most northern part of the peninsula leading to the DOC campsites — remains compromised in places.

“Our advice to any visitors planning to go camping at our more remote northern Coromandel spots is to ensure they use a reliable and well-maintained 4WD vehicle and drive carefully.

“If you’re heading up there, we recommend you ensure you cover the motoring essentials like having a good spare wheel – and knowing how to change it – and a set of tools, ropes and towing gear.

“The beauty of these places is their isolation but that means if you get into trouble, emergency services will take some time to get to you.”

DOC is urging people to pay close attention to weather forecasts and road network alerts if planning to stay in northern Coromandel.

Thames-Coromandel District Council is also urging people to be sensible and conservative with water use in the district through summer, and both agencies ask people to be cautious and aware of fire risks and bans.

Visitors planning to enjoy any of the northern Coromandel campsites should go prepared, with all the supplies they need, including water, food, toilet paper, cooking equipment, emergency provisions and potentially spare fuel for vehicles.

PRICES AND OPENING DATES

Waikawau Bay

Bookings: Open now for dates through to 30 June 2024.

Service standard: Standard campsite.

Nightly fees: 9 February to 25 December – Adult $18 / Child $9 powered (26 sites), Adult $15 / Child $7.50 unpowered. 26 December to 8 February — Adult $21 / Child $11.50 powered, Adult $18 / Child $9 unpowered.

Stony Bay

Bookings: Open now for dates through to 30 June 2024.

Service standard: Standard campsite.

Nightly fees: Adult $15 / Child $7.50 unpowered site.

Port Jackson

Bookings: Open on 13 October, for dates from 20 October 2023 to 30 June 2024.

Service standard: Backcountry.

Nightly fees: Adult $10 / Child $5 unpowered site.

Fletcher Bay

Bookings: Open on 13 October for dates from 20 October 2023 to 30 June 2024.

Service standard: Backcountry.

Nightly fees: Adult $10 / Child $5 unpowered site.

Fantail Bay

Bookings: Open on 20 October, for dates from 27 October to 30 June 2024.

Service standard: Backcountry.

Nightly fees: Adult $10 / Child $5 unpowered site.

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