With Murray Peat – Orere Point Top 10 Holiday Park 

murray-peat0001Is this the only campsite you’ve managed?

This is my first management of a holiday park but after working and travelling overseas (42 countries to date) it’s a joy to finally be involved in tourism on the ground. When I was a boy we regularly camped at Coopers Beach in the far north.

What is the significance of the ‘Top 10’ in the holiday park name?

For 30 years, TOP 10 Holiday Parks have set the standard for NZ Holiday Parks with 52 TOP 10 Parks across New Zealand. We help guests create lasting memories together regardless of whether they are seeking a Kiwi camping experience or fully equipped, self-catering units.

What is the site makeup at Orere Point regarding tent sites, cabins, powered sites, vans etc?

We have almost the whole range: tents, powered sites for camper-vans, four grades of cabins (ie: cosy, standard kitchen, self-contained and deluxe) and a conference hall/dining area accommodating 100. We also have a number of caravan sites for sale for use on weekends throughout the year.

How many patrons do you expect over the school holiday period and do numbers decrease in February?

Our busiest period is late December and early January. Over the Christmas school holiday period we expect to have up to 250 people staying on any one day. Personally, I always prefer to holiday in February.

Do you host regulars who come every year? If so what attracts them time and again?

Some have come every year for a generation and the next generation are now coming too. It has a mix of everything – quiet tree-filled surroundings, river swimming, fishing, boating, plenty of park activities (TV, table tennis, outdoor chess, mini golf, several playgrounds, spa/sauna). Catering to different needs means we attract a diverse range of people.

In general, what is it about camping that appeals to people?

Many factors determine taste in camping styles – price, age, length of stay, being close to nature vs being away from bugs, breathing the outdoors vs controlling the temperature, meeting others vs privacy.

Does camping offer a more ‘comfortable’ holiday these days?

Tents have become much easier to construct and better structured and stocked than when I was camping 40 years ago.

Are mobile camper-vans and caravans on the increase?

Upmarket camper-vans are more popular than 30 years ago so we have seen increasing numbers, often driven by overseas guests passing through.

What amenities do people expect of your campground?

The TOP 10 franchise has three types of parks. Ours is a Classic so guests expect a good range of activities, a high standard of cleanliness in all facilities (kitchens, toilets, laundry) and cabins, 250mb free WiFi, barbecue area, free showers, recreational gear hire. All of these we provide and more.

What has been your worst and your best moments as a park manager? 

Two best moments: watching a glorious red sunset with a whole group of campers, and watching a video of our site manager catching a 16kg snapper last week in a boat offshore. Difficult camp moment: racing to the river pump shed to turn off the river water when a flood came through was a trying time. As a result, we invested in a bore and now have pure, clean, fresh spring water.

What do you like about the lifestyle a holiday park operator leads?

I love meeting people from every walk of life. Giving guests a positive, memorable and enjoyable experience is our goal and in our peaceful tree-filled campsite this is something our site manager, Sunny, particularly enjoys.

If you could be Minister of Tourism for a day what would be the first thing you would do and why

Invest in more ferries so people could travel by boat from place to place instead of by road. Ferries round the Firth of Thames from Auckland to Orere to Waiheke to the Coromandel would be great.

If you could ask any three people (living or dead) to dinner who and why?

1) Terry Thomas, a British comedian. I read recently he was born in a house in Finchley near where I lived. I’d ask him to tell me about acting in It’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad World.
2) Jesus. I’d thank him for coming and ask him what his kingdom looks like.
3) Prester John, 1122AD. I’d ask him where he lived as I wrote a historical adventure sci-fi novel, Finding Prester John, guessing the answer to that question.

Click here to learn more about Orere Point Top 10 Holiday Park.