Keeping the Campers Happy

NUMBERS have dropped as the school holidays have come to a close but Ohope Beach Top 10 Holiday Park has been humming with almost 2500 campers over the festive period, along with many extra authorised visitors too.

That makes the park home to what is currently the highest concentration of people in any one place in the Eastern Bay.

Planning for the summer season is a big job, and one that falls to park manager, Mark Inman. While a small staff of around 12 is required during the winter, staff numbers quadruple in preparation for the busy summer season.

The Kids Club kicks into action, the cafe opens, security staff are employed, events are organised, the pool is in full swing, and five or six people are needed to run the busy reception area alone.

“It’s a challenge to keep everything running smoothly,” says Mark who took over management of the park 18 months ago, and who clearly thrives on creating the best experience he can for the park visitors.

“It’s a very busy few weeks,” he says, “and even dealing with the rubbish and recycling takes some planning”. Three trips per day are required to deal with more than a ton of rubbish generated each day at the park, along with around a ton of bottles, and 800kgs of cardboard that head out for recycling.

Parking also needs to be carefully managed as “there is never enough,” says Mark, with upwards of 200 cars parked along the road outside the camp by New Year’s Day.

Dealing with unwanted visitors after dark remains an issue that can keep security staff busy, but Mark says the issue has been brought well under control over recent years.

Keeping the campers and caravaners happy and providing a “great holiday experience” for them, is his priority.

“We try to stay ahead of the game,” he says, and introduce “new and innovative” things that will add value and improve the holiday experience for everyone. These innovations can come in a small form, “but make a big difference,” he says.

This year the camp unveiled its bike repair and maintenance station which has proven to be a big hit. “Bikes are a big part of many people’s camping experience here,” he says. “Particularly the city kids who really don’t get to ride all that much at home”.

While the park also provides bikes, they arrive on-site on trailers, on car roofs, and on the back of vehicles in multitudes.

“The bike station has everything they could want, Allen keys, spanners and screwdrivers, air, a pressure gauge and everything else. There’s always a cluster of people around it,” says Mark, who brought the station in from Australia, and is pleased it’s been so popular.

A Glaravan also made its debut appearance at the park this year. The Retro Catalina has been a hit, taking up residence near the three existing “glamping” tents.

Food sellers are doing a bustling trade. The park’s own café does a non-stop trade in coffees and hot food, with American style donuts the top seller.POPULAR: The bike repair and maintenance station was a big hit with campers this year. Photos Louis Klaassen D4757-19

The Village Bakery is also on site each day from 9.30am till 3pm, as it has been for the past 15 summers. Owner Kim and her husband are up at 3am to bake for both their shop, and the camp, and Kim says her days at the camp are always busy. Top seller? “Cream donuts,” she says, with “pizza bread close behind”.

And for those attempting to stick to their cooking regimes, fresh fruit and vegetables are brought to the park for sale each morning by the

Fresh Market, and are quickly bought up by hungry punters.

“It really is like a small town at this time of the year,” says Mark. A very happy small town, at that.

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