New Zealand Summer Camping in the 1950s
Back in the 1950s camping was a popular way of taking annual summer holidays here in New Zealand. Not the comfort of cabins, motels or campervans of today, but setting up home in a tent at the beach for a week or two. For my family it was an economical holiday without travelling too far from home. We loaded up the trailer on the back of the car and set off every Boxing Day, not returning until about the third week of January. My father would return home during the week to work for the last couple of weeks, joining us at the weekend.
Our destination was the river mouth of a nearby beach, with safe swimming in the river for us kids, but at the same time within easy walking distance of the ocean beach. We pitched the tent on the same site most years, as did the other families around us. Our tent was a large one, my father having added two side extensions that were aet up as bedrooms, one for the parents and one for the kids. We slept in camping stretchers and I don't remember anyone moaning about any discomfort at all. You can see my family above, before my sister was born.
As well as swimming and sunshine, I loved the freedom of those camping holidays. From a very young age I was left to my own devices and spent a lot of time exploring the immediate area at first, gradually gaining the confidence to roam further afield. As long as I told someone where I was going, no one minded, I just needed to make sure I was back at the tent for meals. Life was a lot safer back then.
Image Credit » Personal photo of Val Mills, writer of this post.