My parents lived on a farm at Gropers Bush, which is between Riverton and Otautau in Southland. My father bought their caravan and had a large awning made to measure. He gave my mother lovely picnic sets for Christmas presents so she could leave these in the caravan to save her unpacking when they arrived back home. My younger sister loved the little cubbyhole cupboards she stored her clothing in.
Finally, after Christmas Day they would set off after my father had checked and made sure everything was packed, with the weight evenly distributed in the van so it would travel well behind the car. They would stay a few nights in Central Otago and then travel inland, stopping at different camps on the way, and then on to Geraldine and along the east coast. On most occasions to Nelson they journeyed via Springs Junction.
My parents had very special caravaning holidays at Tahuna Beach Holiday Park from the year 1963 onwards. They had many happy times and while there they made life long friends. Although I was older and working and couldn’t go with them over those years, I always loved to hear the stories about their activities they had with my younger siblings.
Although Tahunanui, as it was named in those days, was always very warm and sunny, one year at Christmas time the rain came down by the bucket loads. A few campers took off, but not my dad. He got out with his spade and dug a neat channel so the water wouldn’t enter the living quarters. In the meantime others who weren’t prepared for the rain called on his skills to help out, which he very willingly did for them. Later on, carefully the earth was replaced and the sun was out as usual after an hour or two and the campers were back camping.
When I married we owned a holiday house in Queenstown and our three girls and my husband always had all our holidays there. Many a time I tried to convince my husband we should have a change and go elsewhere and fulfill my dreams and head for Sunny Nelson. He always felt that we should use what we had, but then too he had had many happy holidays at Tahuna in his youth! Now the tables have turned since the sale of our holiday house and now we can’t wait to head to our unit at Tahuna Beach Holiday Park. It is so close to the beach and I’m able to have a swim and feel the sand between my toes while my husband can have a snooze and relax at the unit with all the home comforts and watch those beautiful sunsets go down. Or we both can have a game of mini golf now that the years are starting to take their toll.