Ugliness from tourists literally caused a stink in godzone recently thanks to a few unwanted donations deposited by freedom campers at Lake Hawea.
The bolshie response by the Hawea Community Association blocking off a popular lakeside parking spot highlights a serious problem that we need to get a handle on.
These guys literally crapped within view of a perfectly good licensed campground with real toilet facilities where they could stay for $30 a night.
Are these the same people who badger our info centre staff for free activities, arrogantly ignore warnings about the weather and being ill equipped, ignore requests to fill out intentions books so they can avoid paying hut fees and then suck up our Search and Rescue budgets with their stupid behaviour?
It’s an easy fix to put people in boxes but there are a number of visitors who need to be put in one – preferably a full portaloo which then gets turned upside down.
Cheap tourists with a welfare mentality to our taxpayer funded resources should stay in cheap countries because we – and the environment – simply can’t afford them.
We’re very lucky New Zealand is still a relatively easy and safe place to travel around.
The majority of our outdoorsy types, students and lifestylers could collectively write volumes on how to enjoy adventure in the great outdoors on a miserly budget.
And generally, as taxpayers, we’re happy to support national parks, the huge network of huts, camping areas and managed waterways that we can use for no extra cost.
As an investment we get it back in spades: generations of kiwis are brought up with a healthy regard for natural adventure and we produce outstanding outdoors people – guides, climbers, rafters and kayakers, outdoor instructors and the like who contribute to our thriving adventure tourism economy as well as our identity as kiwis.
But the floodgates for backpackers travelling on the cheap have been open for too long and now they’re being commercially targeted by the campervan companies who benefit from our relatively uncrowded landscapes.
So why not raise the entry fee?
Travellers to Bhutan are committed to US$250 in daily spending – what’s a day in godzone worth?