Thursday, January 5, 2012

Watch out for freedom campers!

We met up with some Deutche friends from Wellington yesterday in Punakaiki, and we are both clean today and using toilets. Honesty. Martin plays with an orchestra and is on vacation with his wife and three kids. We met him and his son at Mt. Tongariro a couple months ago.

For a 29 billion dollar tourist industry, you would think that communities here would make it a bit cheaper for tourists to visit their localities and complain less about the "freedom campers", but I guess some of them are really BAD campers. I think too that it's forgotten that a lot of the citizens of New Zealand "freedom camp" and have been doing so for ALL their lives and to have camping restrictions imposed on them must be very difficult. It's not like most people living here are rolling around in the dough, from what I can tell the economic situation is challenging for a lot of people and their families. Everyone works so hard, and some people work several jobs. They can't afford the pricey campgrounds either.

Most districts have free toilets but I've seen some that cost money... And for those tourists who camp, without a DOC site, it's quite expensive - usually $20 a person to camp in holiday parks. No wonder people want to "freedom camp", especially if they are renting a van as well for 60$-100$ per day. Seems most want to spend their money on bungy jumping, diving out of airplanes, taking tours of wildlife or spending the next year on the road travelling.

It is true that one of the things that we are grateful in New Zealand is that there is not much to report on except for the problems with freedom camping... no mass murders, no wars, no more recent environmental catastrophes and other serious news stories. But Mark and I do kinda wish that we came to New Zealand earlier in time when there wasn't as many tourists mucking it up for everyone else...

This is what the headline was in yesterdays paper published in Greymouth!
Big news headline in the Greymouth newspaper yesterday...

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