We had planned to head to the Mackenzie Basin after New Year’s Eve 2017; however, the weather wasn’t looking good, so #ShredderJr (nearly 3 years old) #SuperDad and I started looking at Mid-Canterbury. A fellow adventure family had recommended Mt Somers Domain and I nearly dropped the phone when I heard they had a four-night home for ‘Big Morange’ (vintage poo brown and orange leisure tent circa 1975).
What made me nearly join the phone on the floor, was the cost: $20 per night for a non-powered tent site, $1 per 4 min shower, $2 per load of washing and $20 for week-long family access to the community pool. Furthermore, the adventure playground made it hard to get #ShredderJr of adventuring elsewhere was free and we would be within an easy drive of Methven, Rakia Gorge, Mt Hutt, Mt Somers and Mt Peel.
Yes, the camp kitchen, although well-equipped was tiny and the cinder block toilets had all the ambience of Cell Block H. To be fair, all toilet blocks from that post-war error are exactly the same, and the bonus was the facilities were kept immaculately clean by Wendy Cullen, the camp mother/co-ordinator/guardian.
Max Smith, the publican at Mt Somers Tavern, and Cullen gave me a glimpse into how the Domain campground had survived when I picked up a key to get into the pool. A staunch group of dedicated locals had been fighting hard to keep their Community pool open and campground up to Code, according to Council regulations.
All I can do is express my huge gratitude to this small community and their hard work spent keeping the kiwi camping dream alive and affordable. We had a ball and, of course, I’d encourage other families to go check it out the Mt Somers Domain Campground.