We went camping for the first time this summer. Never too late I guess, good prep for next year!
There is a thing called freedom camping here on the east coast of New Zealand, I'm not sure whether it exists in many other places. Over a set period during the warm summer months, some beaches fill up with "long term" campers. They basically set camp for a week or two (or more) during the holiday after getting a permit from council. The permit is pretty cheap, but you have to have your own chemical toilet. Other than that, no obligation but to leave the place as you found it. There are no other facilities either, so you have to take everything you will need with you: shower, water, food. It 's great way to have a holiday away from it all and live a pretty basic lifestyle for a short while (although I have spotted a few TV aerial sticking out of some of the more modern camper-vans this summer).
You'd be surprised at how packed those freedom camping spots can get over the holidays!
We chose to go to one of those spots, a beautiful beach called Loisel's, just half an hour from Gisborne. At this time of the year most holidayers have left, so we pretty much had the whole beach to ourselves. As soon as we parked, Tahi jumped out of the car into the sand and only jumped back in when it was time to leave.
We met up with a bunch of our friends which made the week end even nicer. Our camp was pretty eclectic and a good sample of camping styles: from the simple yet efficient tent, to the caravan ( including one redesigned by our talented friend Katy Wallace ), the home made camping trailer/DJ space (made from reclaimed material by my evenly talented partner Josh) and even a big camper-van (no TV aerial).
The surf was good, it felt nice to be in the water and away for the city, no mater how small it is. Being surrounded by friends and little else was all we asked for.