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Camp camping in the summer sun

Posted in: Events
By Matt Akersten - 13th December 2007

Over 1,500 campers are expected at Manawatu's LGBT campsite Vinegar Hill for New Years Eve 2007-8, and a huge number of gays and lesbians will head to Uretiti Beach in Northland for some beachside fun in the sun.

There's also lots on offer at Autumn Farm retreat in the South Island's Takaka Valley… and what's the latest on the Kiriwai lesbian summercamp?

We found out all the info - so get packing, and don't forget your sunscreen, sensible shoes and condoms!

Vinegar Hill mural

Located 5kms North of Hunterville in the lower North Island, Vinegar Hill camping ground is located within the stunning Putai Ngahere Reserve and on the banks of the Rangitikei River.

Since the early 1980's, Vinegar Hill has been a popular camping spot of LGBT people and their families over Christmas and New Years. This year will be no exception, with a full schedule of events planned right through Christmas Eve to New Years Day 2008.

Hunterville's Christmas Parade makes its way through the town on Christmas Eve, and 2008's 'Queen of Vinegar Hill' Dion Leslie tells us that's when a lot of campers will start arriving.

Thursday 27 December is Vinegar Hill's annual Fashion in the Field dress-up event at the ultra-classy Vinegar Hilton Grand Palace. The following evening, top up your glasses at the Queens Cocktail Party. A selection of movies will be featured on Sunday 30 December Movie Night, then a variety of shows - including live music, drag queens and drag kings - begin at 10pm on New Years Eve, with the huge bonfire and DJ all night long.

Catch up with friends, enjoy the annual Raft Race down the river, enjoy a game of Gay v Lesbian softball, drink and sing around the many camp fires and of course enjoy the entertainment on stage at New Years - Vinegar Hill has it all. For more details, check the official Vinegar Hill website on the link below this article.

Uretiti Beach

Sun, sand, surf and sisters! Uretiti Beach - about 34km south of Whangarei on State Highway One - will get busy with LGBT campers from Thursday 27 December until Sunday 6 January.

As far as gay camp sites go, Uretiti is second in numbers only to Vinegar Hill, with around 400 people coming to camp out each year by the beach.

There's a massive party for New Years' Eve, a beautiful sandy surf beach to enjoy, and even a stunning coastal track nearby at Mangawhai Heads, plus the Waipu Caves to explore.

So what are you waiting for? Jetski's and boats are supplied - just bring your own food, tents and drinks. More info on the campground can be found on the Department of Conservation website, linked below.


We're sorry to report that this January's lesbian summer camp in Kiriwai in the lower North Island has been cancelled.

The Kiriwai lesbian camp was re-established in January 2007 after a break of a few years, but now its organisers are involved in an ongoing legal drama which make it impossible to run the camp this Summer. We're hoping it'll all be resolved for the 2008-9 season - fingers crossed!

Autumn Farm fun

Nestled in the South Island's Takaka Valley, between Kahurangi and Abel Tasman National Parks, you'll find Autumn Farm. Their summer camp retreats started in 1994, with more and more people arriving each year to enjoy the various events, plentiful private grounds, and relaxed friendly atmosphere.

Autumn Farm's Summer Camp is a clothing-optional all-gay/bisexual male event, taking place from Thursday 27 December until Sunday 6 January. The packed programme includes a New Year Dance Party, Cabaret Night, games and competitions, along with beach, river and wild nature excursions.

Later in summer, Autumn Farm hosts a Queer Family Week, an all-male Naked Week, and even a Bear Week - check their website below from all the dates and details. wishes you a happy and safe summer break.

Matt Akersten - 13th December 2007

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