December was a good month for the nation's holiday parks but proved to be a mixed bag for local owners.
Figures released by the Holiday Accommodation Parks Association of New Zealand show camping grounds across the country experienced a 4.7 per cent increase in guest nights for the month, compared to December 2010.
At Omokoroa Thermal Holiday Park, things were even better.
Owner Bruce Addison said they experienced a 5.7 per cent jump on their December the year before.
"Considering the weather our December was very good, brilliant in fact."
Mr Addison said he believed his park's thermal hot pools were a big drawcard for guests.
"I think because the weather was unsettled and we had a few overseas campervans... we had more campervans than we normally do," he said.
The figures showed holiday park guest nights for December were at their highest point since records began in 1996.
The data also showed an increasing demand for fixed accommodation like cabins.
Mr Addison said people were trying to save money these days and it showed at camping grounds, particularly with bookings for built accommodation.
"People are trying to get more for their buck so rather than spending money on three nights in a hotel, they can spend five nights at a holiday park."
At Mount Maunganui's Cosy Corner Holiday Park things were less busy.
Manager Greg Davidson said December had been "okay".
"I actually haven't compared numbers to numbers but it appears to be down a fraction, but not too much," he said.
"We were pretty similar to the year before."
Mr Davidson said they were normally filled with campervans at this time of year but now there were only two or three, which were on their last week.
"I just wonder if they [overseas guests] came out for the Rugby World Cup instead."
Mr Davidson said the Rena disaster had caused nearly every guest to ask about the state of the beaches but there was only one cancellation.
He was confident the guests nights would average out over the year as they had bookings already lined up for several sporting events.
Max Sullivan, who owns Golden Grove Holiday Park at Mount Maunganui with his wife Debs, said they hadn't experienced the same increase in visitor nights as their national counterparts.
"I'd say the weather was the biggest thing and the boat [Rena] didn't help," Mr Sullivan said.
"I think a lot of people put off their holiday or decided to go to beaches without oil on them."
However February was proving to be a good month so far, he said.
Fergus Brown, chief executive of HAPANZ said the increase could be down to more sites adapting to meet needs of visitors and offering more facilities and choices.
Parks were becoming more sophisticated in their use of online booking agencies and other online systems, enabling visitors to find accommodation options and book them easily, Mr Brown said.
"Increased built accommodation is also helping parks to achieve better occupancy rates during the off season."
Nationally, holiday parks accounted for 28 per cent of all guest nights in December.
They also recorded a 2.7 per cent increase in guest nights for the 2011 year.
No one was available to comment at Mount Maunganui Beachside Holiday Park or Papamoa Beach Top 10 Holiday Resort.