Another holiday season has been and gone in the Waitaki district.
Over the holiday period, visitors and locals alike enjoyed what the district had to offer, from its restaurants and tourism attractions to its scenery and camping grounds.
For local retailers, the lead-up to Christmas was generally a busy one, Oamaru Retailers’ Committee chairman Rod McTague said.
That included many stores being open late on December 15 and 22 to cater for those on the hunt for festive bargains.
“I’d say that both the nights the retailers were open it was a bit of a mixed bag – the clothing stores and bigger stores had good nights and other stores that opened did well too.
“Others found it quite quiet. Some had opened to support others because they had opened.”
Mr McTague planned to talk to businesses to get feedback on how the post-Christmas period had gone for them and until then, said he was unable to give an “informed comment” on how 2017 had started for retailers.
However, he said businesses could have been more proactive in taking advantage of the large number of visitors in Oamaru during early January.
“There were quite a number who were closed that could have been open. There were a lot of tourists around .. it’s something we need to address over the next 12 months as a committee.”
Meanwhile, many enjoyed their holidays by camping at one of the several grounds around the district.
Simon Fox, who is contracted by the Waitaki District Council to manage the Parsons Rock, Boat Harbour, Wildlife Reserve, Loch Laird, Sailors Cutting and Falstone Creek camping grounds, believed this summer season was one of the busiest he had seen in recent years.
“Camping-wise, it’s been very, very busy,” Mr Fox said.
“There’s lots of happy families and that’s what we want .. we’ve had minimal disruptions from rowdy campers so I’m really happy with it.”
He said the only aspect that had disappointed some was high winds, which hampered efforts to get on the lakes for various water-based activities.
Mr Fox was impressed with the behaviour of several groups of young people, which had not always been the case.
In the past, groups of young people had abused other campers, smashed glass bottles and vandalised property.
However, no issues had been reported so far.
“To be fair, the few groups of young people from South Canterbury, Palmerston and Oamaru all cleaned up their sites and were well-behaved – they got the message and were very good.”
For many, the biggest disappointment was a lack of hot summer days.
According to the MetService, between December 8 and January 8 the mercury only topped 20degC 13 times. The high during that time was 28degC on December 27.
As of January 8, 21mm of rain had been recorded in Oamaru, to go with the 41.2mm that fell in December.
Rain is forecast for Saturday and Sunday, showers on Monday and Tuesday and rain on Wednesday, according to the MetService’s 10-day forecast for Oamaru.