Where Kiwi memories are made
It’s a place where kids bounce, run, fish, swim and then fall asleep to the sound of waves. Those iconic Kiwiana memories are what Mike Crosby loves about owning Bowentown Beach Holiday Park.
“My parents had a holiday park for around 30 years and before that, my grandparents owned it, so the industry is kind of in my blood. I met Bec in Australia, we got married, and the opportunity to buy the holiday park came up at the perfect time. It was too good to pass up. I knew it could provide a great lifestyle.”
The park sits absolute beachfront with nine kilometres of white sand stretching down to Waihī Beach and in the three years since Mike and Bec took over, it’s undergone a major overhaul.
“Everything from the teaspoons to the pillows, the bed bases and bedspreads, carpets, painting. You name it, just about every aspect of the business has had a facelift.”
It’s a continuous process. Paving stones have arrived to widen the driveway and garden beds are being tidied.
“I grew up as a kid in a holiday park so those are my family memories, too,” says Mike. “You’d see the same families coming back year after year. I had great friendships. We want people from all walks of life to feel welcome and comfortable in our little piece of paradise.”
Bowentown Beach Holiday Park has 183 sites spread over 3.49 hectares ranging from the traditional tent or caravan sites, park motels, self-contained units to cabins (some are specifically pet friendly) and even two quirky ‘kombi’ cabins.
“The kombis are becoming really popular. They’re purpose built – so slightly taller and wider than an actual kombi van. They have a double bed, coffee and tea making facilities with a small fridge and their own deck.”
At the top end of the accommodation scale, the two-bedroom ocean view cabins that are beautifully furnished and complete with their own BBQ, televisions, full kitchen facilities and even a hair dryer.
“We spend time thinking carefully about how we would use each space,” says Mike. “We just want our guests to walk in and feel as though they can just relax on holiday.”
WHAT TO DO
Hire a bike or go-kart to ride around the holiday park or walk over to Anzac Bay for some gentle waves. Bowentown is an easy five-minute drive from the Waihī Beach township. Keep an eye out for alleyways that are home to hidden gems like the Chez Moi. Swiss chocolatier, Ines, creates her treats on the premises from cacao beans imported from Belgium. For an evening cocktail, head to the Lounge Bar at Waihī Beach Hotel. Barman, Ben, shakes up a great Cosmopolitan. The Flatwhite Café sits right on the beach and is a local favourite so book dinner in advance. The menu has a nostalgic Kiwiana vibe including classics like lamb’s fry and fish and chips as well as beef wellington (look for “Beach Wellington” on the menu). Your choice for dessert is impossible to get wrong. The award-winning Surf Shack Café is home to what the Lonely Planet claims are “quite possibly the best burgers in New Zealand”. Milkshakes are served in cool retro milk bottles and their French toast is dreamily decadent.
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