Disgusting! WARNING: Do not stay there!
Was shocked at how filthy. The windows hadn't been cleaned for 5 years, at least. The bedding was worse than what I imagine a prison bed, about a two inch mattress, with a plastic cover, covered with blood stains. Luckily the weatherwas fine, as we couldn't even eat inside the room it was so disgusting. Complained to management as we left, and she went on to tell me about adults wetting the beds, and it wasn't her fault, YUCK! [more ]
Punakaiki Beach Camp
All I wanted was a tent site, but what I got was a complete history of the owner's life. From his dusty beginnings, through his school days, his marriage, right up to the minute I walked in the gate was relayed to me in intricate detail. And you know what? I didn't mind at all. In fact, I enjoyed having someone to talk to, and before long I really felt we were best mates. But that is part of what makes this corner of the world great.
I was at the Punakaiki Beach Camp, a large camping and holiday park situated on the West Coast of the South Island of New Zealand. This would have to be one of my favourite campgrounds in the country, for the simple fact that the owners are super friendly. But then, most of the people you meet up and down this coastline are friendly, and will stop and talk to you. Going into a shop may take longer than you anticipated because the shopkeeper will get carried away telling you about the region, and asking you about where you are from and what you have seen and what the weather is like there. And you can always recognise a local, because they will wave to you as you drive past.
The Punakaiki Beach Camp is situated just of the Main Highway that runs up the West Coast. The Punakaiki Pub stands on the corner, within 30 metres of the camp ground, and serves wonderful meals and is a pleasent and homely tavern, suitable for families.
The reception for the camp site is in the house opposite the main gate to the campground. The site itself is large, and is totally surrounded by trees, sheltering it from the wicked westerly wind that sometimes whips in from the sea. The ocean is right next door, and several walkways lead from the campsite to the wide and rugged beach. The sea isn't suitable for swimming, but walking along the beach can be a romantic and pleasent experience. Campfires can be lit on the beach, and the wildlife is exceptional. I have seen a multitude of seabirds, and even dolphins.
Another walk leads along the river and across the road, taking in the native bush along the way. A company hiring out kayaks operates within 50 metres of the campsite.
The shower blocks and toilets at the campground are clean and well maintained, and the hot water is free and unlimited. A decent size kitchen is available for all campers, and includes some rudimentary pots and pans. But, as with all camp kitchens, please make sure you clean up after yourself. I hate trying to cook around other people's messes.
There are several private cabins available, some for 2 people ($40 per person) and some with 6 bunk beds ($30 per person). Then there are kitchen cabins which sleep 2 people ($50). Tent sites cost $12, and powered campervan sites cost $13.
There is a drying room available for wet gear, and a laundry too.
The camp site is within easy walking distance to the Pancake Rocks, which is the biggest attraction in the region, and also to day walks in the hills. There are a few cafes near the Pancake Rocks, as well as a general store and information office. Other attractions in the area include horse riding and bone carving. [more ]