Liz Gregory’s family enjoying lots of jamming and free entertainment at Tahuna Beach Holiday Park

How to waste time productively at Tahuna

How do we fill three weeks of camping? We love the days at the camp where we just laze around and go nowhere at all! We swim surprisingly infrequently but there are plenty of other reasons to head to the beach. Graham tries to catch a fish sometimes (reasonably unsuccessfully), and we often take an evening walk with cameras to catch a great sunset.

On the whole, we just like the vibe of the Tahuna camp. We bring our comfy chairs and bean bags and we’re sure to snag a picnic table or two for the crew. We look out on the rec area and watch the ducks and seagulls play. We wander to the camp store, detouring past the permanent residents areas, dreaming of retirement! We check out other people’s tents and camping set-ups for good ideas. We do our dishes and sing three-part harmonies in the kitchen block (this year we got asked for an encore!). We even enjoy making our bed, sweeping the floor and keeping our little house tidy.

When it’s sunny, we sit outside and challenge the neighbours to a game of Kubb, or try our hand at Petanque. Perhaps we’ll head to the mini-golf, or try some hydroslide and bumper boat madness. We frolic with the monkeys at Natureland and frolic with the young children. We’re also always happy just to sit and lounge about on our bean bags, and laze and chatter idly. It’s amazing how much there is to talk about!

Other days we wander to the Tahuna playground, or head to the Nelson markets. On a really hot day we’ll head to Lee or Maitai Valleys to jump in the fresh river water, or go to Nayland Pool and teach someone how to dive off the board. And in between we just laze around the campsite (have I mentioned that before!?).

We always check the tides and do a trip or two to Kaiteriteri to catch the running of the tide (from the estuary to the ocean) and we all take tubes to be swept under the bridge on the current. On our way we stop at Jester House, feed the eels and enjoy the chocolate brownie. And on the odd occasion we treat ourselves to some salmon fishing.

On rainy days, you might find us card-making or scrap-booking, watching movies on make-shift screens, reading books, playing board games, or we’ll pop out to the movies to catch a blockbuster. Sometimes we even indulge in an afternoon nana nap. And it’s not uncommon for the men to venture out for a boy’s trip to Mitre 10.

We make good use of the ampitheatre with slip ‘n slides, or our own spontaneous variety concerts. This area is the hub of the camp for the New Year celebrations and we all end up on the dance floor. In fact we do a bit of dancing and music making at our site. Guitars are a must-have, as is the annual hymn sing-a-long.

But when we’ve run out of our own ideas, there’s always the in-house entertainment offered by the camp – from the daily Funride Tractor to kids programmes, bands to outdoor movies, housie to fire-eaters. And we all love the Carnival nights, where we use up all our coins to win a block of chocolate or two. I have great childhood memories of hiring bikes, go-carts and jumping on the trampolines – so sometimes the adults behave like kids and hire a cart.

You’ll always find us with a team at the quiz nights. We LOVE the quizzes. Not because we’re particularly good, but there’s always the chance that we might win the random prize for participating. The BBQ packs are outstanding and keep us fed for days! And of course, there’s always a laugh or two to be had with the quiz-master.

And finally, what would a holiday be without some thought to our stomachs! The campers opposite us are culinary chefs and they kindly offer us morsels of delight, but our crew eats simply, eats often and most of all we enjoy the experience of eating together.

And these are just some of the things that fill up our days at Tahuna.