‘The Tokerau Beach Ramp Road DoC-managed campsite was closed over the New Year period due to unruly behaviour at the site. Photo / Supplied
A disgruntled freedom camper was asked to leave a popular Far North campsite late last year after attempting to park there overnight.
The man, who contacted the Age in late December, said he had been camping at the Department of Conservation-managed campsite at Tokerau Beach when he was advised by local kaitiaki he could not stay there overnight.
“We were told the gates were being put up and locked so no one could access the site at night,” he said.
“We were also told this access would only be allowed during the day.
“As this is a DoC site I fail to see why this is being allowed. This is public land until it isn’t. And currently, it is.”
The man said he would be visiting the DoC offices to discuss further and to let them know he was not impressed.
“My vehicle is freedom camping certified and DoC needs to front up themselves and explain why this is occurring.”
According to DoC, in the interest of public safety, a decision was made to close the Ramp Rd freedom camping site in late December until after the New Year thanks to continuous bad behaviour.
A DoC spokesperson said Ramp Rd had been notorious in previous years as a hotspot for party revellers leading up to New Year’s Eve.
As in previous years, DoC said there had once again been poor behaviour by large gatherings of people at Ramp Rd where Police had been called in to deal with unruly behaviour.
“Ramp Rd is unmanned and is designated for ‘Self-contained vehicles only’. But, DoC staff and kaitiaki, made up of local hapū representatives, have been called out on a daily basis to deal with campers in tents and no toilet facilities,” the spokesperson said.
“There have been repeated complaints including partying till the early hours of the morning and the lighting of fires and fireworks during the prohibited fire season.
“There is a Fenz fire ban in place covering the Karikari Peninsula as part of efforts to reduce the risk of wildfire.”
The Ramp Road Freedom Camping Area was reopened on January 4, however, kaitiaki continue to patrol the Karikari peninsula promoting positive responsible camping behaviours including the protection of cultural, historical and biodiversity values in the area.
“We ask visitors and campers to please respect the Karikari Peninsula by not driving in the dunes, keep the noise down after 10pm and take your rubbish with you,” the DoC spokesperson said.
DoC confirmed that Maitai Bay Campsite remained closed, with the Maitai Bay Headland Track open but with no access to the campground for parking.
For more information about Northland region campsites, visit the DoC website at doc.govt.nz or email DoC at: [email protected]
NZ Police were contacted for comment, however did not respond in time for the edition.