Sun hiding but few camper complaints

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Central Otago’s reputation for having long hot summers has taken a holiday, but there are still plenty of happy campers across the region.
The area’s typically hot temperatures, which often reach the high 20s at this time of year, have taken a dip this summer, leaving many regular holiday-makers calling it one of the worst in 20 years.
But for many feeling the chill in Alexandra, the weather is worse at home.
Bill Shaw, of Invercargill, who has set up camp at the Alexandra Holiday Park, said although the weather had not been kind during his stay, it was ‘‘10 times worse at home’’.
He said on average Invercargill had been getting two fine days and then rain for three days.
‘‘If it’s not raining during the day, it’s raining during the night down there.’’
Mr Shaw, who plans to stay at the camp for a month, said his holiday had been windy.
‘‘It would be the worst year I’ve had up here in 20 years, wind-wise. We’ve had a lack of sun, too, but it was quite warm earlier on this morning,’’ he said on Monday.
Alexandra Holiday Park co­owner and manager Janice Graham said despite the weather, holiday-makers were in good spirits and making the most of their time in the area.
‘‘A lot of people have come from a lot worse weather and they think it’s great [here].’’
She said February and March were generally more settled.
Invercargill residents Brian and Betty Wilson are also regulars at the Alexandra Holiday Park over the festive period, a tradition they have enjoyed for the past 56 years, give or take.
When asked what attracted them in the earlier years, Mrs Wilson was quick to respond with ‘‘the weather’’.
‘‘Basically, we’ve always thought if there’s any fine weather it’s always up here, consistently.’’
However, this year would be one of the worst weather-wise, but that did not phase them.
‘‘You can still get around in your shorts and things. You don’t down home,’’ Mr Wilson said.
Their three daughters, Anne Withington, of Queenstown, Gay Findlay, of Christchurch, and Rowana McNaught, of Invercargill, and their families also often join them, and this year was no exception.
They agreed the weather this festive period had not been the best, ‘‘but it hasn’t been the worst’’.
‘‘We were here when they got flooded out,’’ Mrs McNaught said of the floods about 20 years ago.
Mrs Findlay said another positive was the lowered risk of sunburn.
‘‘It’s been a much more healthy holiday, otherwise we’d be out baking in the sun.’’
Glendhu Bay Motor Camp manager Phil Hunt said despite the unsettled weather in the Wanaka area, everyone appeared to be having a great time.
He said a large percentage of the camp’s customers visited year after year, so were well aware the weather could be changeable.
And because many of the visitors were part of large family groups, they always came prepared with plenty to do.