Taking the family away on holiday can be expensive. It’s something most of us have to plan and save for—which means giving it priority amongst the many other things that threaten to eat up our time and money.
For my family—as much as we wanted to get away this summer—our holiday never made it to the place on our priority list where we started committing the time, or funds, to make it happen.
Life rolled on. Doctor’s bills were paid. The car was registered. Christmas was ticked off. Tax bills were saved for.
Yes. It seems I am that boring!!!
It was back at work, after a perfectly lovely Christmas/New Year break away (at home) when it hit—the irresistible urge to break routine and get away.
I couldn’t let this incredible summer (hasn’t the weather been amazing?!) slip by without a real holiday. But I hadn’t planned anything and, more importantly, I hadn’t saved anything! What to do? What to do?
I started trolling Expedia for deals, but there was nothing in my budget. Nothing.
Of course, chances of finding accommodation for a family of five for under $40 a night were remote—but miracles happen, right?
And my miracle came in the, obvious now that I think about it, form of a Department of Conservation campsite.
It’s only 15 minutes from Rotorua city. $10 a night for adults. $5 a night for kids. Boo-yaa!
I have to admit, I was a little anxious about the ‘first come, first served basis’ of the campsite.
I am a planner. I like to be in control. I have a family to look after. What if? What if? What if?
I know—I am so boring!
It was time to start thinking glass half full. Whatever will be, will be. Seize the day. Rah de rah….
So, taking a few extra days each side of Wellington Anniversary, we went.
And the glass was half full (a bit like the campsite).
We pitched our tent, between the juvenile pohutukawa trees, on a ribbon of grass with nothing much else between us and the lake.
It was idyllic.
I was worried about family camping with so few facilities (wow, it seems I’m boring and I worry too much), but I needn’t have been concerned.
Water: We purchased a plastic ‘bladder’ from the Warehouse and filled it with water from town. This gave us drinking water on tap and, together with lake water for cooking/cleaning/hot drinks, met our needs perfectly.
Toilet: The ‘closed vault’ toilets were clean and, despite the heat, weren’t at all smelly. I was impressed. A conscientious group of Okareka community volunteers look after this site for DOC and do an amazing job.
Shower: You don’t need one. You will live in the lake. It is warm. It is clear. It is wonderful.
Internet: You are thoroughly disconnected.
Yes, that’s a good thing…
It’s time to break the addiction. Anyways, your methadone (i.e. town and connectivity) is only 15 minutes away, should you reach breaking point.
Here we spent four nights. Swimming, snorkelling, star gazing, walking, reading, playing with the ducklings, burying ourselves in the hot sand, watching the fishermen, water skiers, wakeboarders and kayakers…
I’ll say it again—it was idyllic—a completely fabulous holiday. I don’t think I would’ve come home happier, or more relaxed, had I spent the time in a fancy resort.
I’m now back at work refreshed, tanned (I know that’s not a good thing—it just happened), connected with my family, full of magic memories, and ready to take on the year.
So, let this be a story for all the time poor, financially strapped families of Aotearoa. Expedia’s not the only place to get a holiday deal.
Consider camping and head to the DOC website to find a miracle.
Note: I’ve got dibs on Lake Okareka—go find your own 😉