3 Things You Need To Know Before You Book A Camping Holiday For Your Children


Looking for a different holiday experience in New Zealand? Need a change from staying at a five-star resort or a city hotel? Have you thought about camping? Child-friendly campsites keep your little ones entertained while you can explore the local amenities. But that’s not all.

Your children can attend camps where they can immerse themselves in the great outdoors and discover nature – providing them with a parent-free experience that they’ll remember for a long time. But before you make a booking, here are some tips on how to choose the best child-friendly holiday camp in Wellington.

1. Plan ahead

Going camping might not be on the top of everyone’s holiday wish list – especially if your children are used to beach holidays. However, planning ahead can ensure that they have the time of their lives – and you will be able to make their trip as fun-filled as possible. Choose a campsite that has plenty to do for all ages – especially if you have young children who get bored easily. Many of the best kids camps in New Zealand have activities like sports, games and excursions to keep them entertained, and they will be able to make plenty of new friends during their trip.

2. Packing for the trip

Packing the right items for your children is essential, as they will want to have many of their home comforts with them during the holiday, especially if this is the first time they have been away from home. However, you will want to check with campsite staff first as some items – like handheld electronic devices and snacks – might be prohibited.

Although your children might not like the idea of spending time away from their favourite computer games, a week camping can do them the world of good, and they will be able to learn more about their faith if they attend Christian camps.

3. Book ahead

Camping trips can easily book up fast, so it’s a good idea to do your research and plan ahead. Usually, campsites will arrange different events based on the age of the children, so if you have kids of different ages, they might not be able to attend the same camp at the same time. Remember – some campsites can get busy during the summer, so book ahead to avoid disappointment!

Camping is fast becoming one of the most popular holidays for children and adults alike. Did you know that 57% of New Zealanders have an interest in camping? Or that a sizeable 37% of people consider themselves to be regular campers? If camping is something your children have never experienced, now might be the time for them to see what all the fuss is about!

Are you looking for a camping holiday park that your children will love? El Rancho is located just an hour away from Palmerston North and Wellington and is situated on the stunning Kapiti Coast. Camp staff have a broad range of activities planned to make this the ultimate destination for your little ones. To find out more about the different experiences on offer, including school camps, just visit www.elrancho.co.nz or call + 64 4 902 6287 today!


A Quick Guide to Christian Camps in New Zealand


Many kids camps in New Zealand are specifically designed for children aged 8-12 years. These camps are located throughout New Zealand including Wellington and the Kapiti Coast. The camps are manned by qualified personnel who have undergone a vigorous screening exercise thus ensuring the kids safety.

New Zealand kids camps often include a five day camping experience which aims to give children the opportunity to participate in fun activities and also gain spiritual nourishment. Activities include, but are not limited to, kayaking, rock climbing and flying fox, among others.

The camps are usually organised during the first or second week of the summer holidays and are often sponsored by welfare organisations like OSCAR and ChildSafe. Most of the kids are normally referred to the camps by welfare organisations or by psychologists. The camps are safe and have therapeutic effects on the kids apart from improving their self-esteem, trust and general well-being.

These camps hold daily bible teachings which are aimed at having a lasting effect on the children’s lives. Guest speakers normally guide the children through the different aspects of Christian life and the love of God.

One such camp is the Carey Park Christian camp which is located at the foot of the Waiketere ranges a few kilometres from central Auckland. But perhaps the most notable Christian camp in New Zealand is El Rancho. The El Rancho kids camp aims to provide outdoor activities and camping fun for families and kids. Here kids experience the love and changing power of God.

It offers an action packed holiday camp in Waikanae with a total emphasis on the safety and happiness of the kids. It is much more than a normal kids camp considering the biblical teachings that are life changing for the kids. They also offer other services like conferences, holiday and family reunions, retreats and much more. But most importantly, they are perfectly suited for school camp events. Among other features are the group tours, the holiday park, which is a safe Christian camp full of family activities, and the spring camp which is suitable for kids of ages 8-12 years.

Most customers usually search online for kids camps or Christian camps New Zealand to find the best holiday retreats for their kids or families which are fun, safe and life-changing. They are searching for the best places where their children will be helped to build up their character and spirituality in a safe, secure environment which is full of fun.

The information they seek usually includes the various outdoor activities on offer and how they can positively influence their kids. They also wish to know how the family is incorporated into these programs and which part to play in these activities. El Rancho ticks all these boxes, so if you want to find a kids camp in New Zealand that offers the best outdoor camping activities and supports Christian values then visit www.elrancho.co.nz for more details!

The Basics of Camping with Children

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Whether it’s a campground, school camp, or Christian camp, there are a number of options when it comes to camping with your children – providing you with a cost-effective and fun way to spend time together as a family. However, you’ll need to do your research before you set out on your travels. Here are some of the basics that you need to know when camping with children in New Zealand.

1. Be prepared

A good camping trip always requires a little bit of research – especially when you’re taking your children with you. You should make sure you prepare for all weathers, and always check the local forecast before you go. A good tip is to have a “trial camp” in your back garden before you set off – especially if your children have never been camping before. You’ll be able to set up a tent in the back garden and try it out for size. If your children enjoy themselves, planning a camping trip for a weekend – or longer – could be a good idea for your next holiday.

2. Packing

Create a checklist before you go with everything that you will need for your trip. This will include the basics, like a good, sturdy tent that will provide you and your children with the shelter you need during your stay. You’ll also want to pack a wide range of clothing in the event that the weather suddenly changes. Even if the forecast predicts wall-to-wall sunshine, taking a coat for your children will come in handy. Other items on your checklist might include outdoor chairs and beanbags as well as puzzles, games and books to keep your children entertained.

Your children might not like the idea of being away from electronic devices such as TVs and computers for the duration of their stay, but they will soon learn to appreciate the great outdoors. You will also need to take adequate cooking equipment so you can prepare hot meals, such as a travel stove. If you don’t have access to a fridge, you might have to rely on canned foods, but there should be a shop nearby where you’ll be able to purchase fresh produce.

3. Choosing a campground

Campgrounds come in all shapes and sizes in New Zealand, but you’ll want to pick one that’s right for your children. Kids camps provide your children with the opportunity to spend a week or two with other kids their age, as do Christian camps. Wherever you decide to set up your tent, make sure there are plenty of facilities, including showers with warm water and security. The campsite should be family friendly, so try not to choose a site that caters to a younger, noisier crowd.

Looking for a family-friendly holiday camp in Wellington?

El Rancho – situated in Waikanae, Kapiti Coast, is Wellington’s trusted camping venue for school and family holiday camps. Whatever your budget, you will be able to relax, unwind, and spend time with your family. Need some more information? Head over to www.elrancho.co.nz to view their facilities and make a booking.

Some of the Best School Holiday Activities for Children

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Located on the breathtakingly beautiful Kapiti Coast, about 60 kilometres north of Wellington on State Highway 1, Waikanae is a small seaside town that combines beaches, natural coastlines and history. This idyllic coastal town boasts a museum, cafes and shops, great restaurants and a superb golf course, as well as a fantastic natural river environment and a gorgeous beach that provides many safe areas for surfing, swimming, fishing and other beach activities.

Many families, school camps, Christian groups, other group organisations and even ordinary holiday makers are increasingly taking advantage of the local Christian camp El Rancho as a way to explore the natural beauty of Waikanae and enjoy fun activities.

El Rancho is the ideal place to enjoy school holiday activities in Waikanae. El Rancho is one of the best Christian holiday camps in Wellington and is also a retreat and conference centre. They offer all kinds of family activities during the summer and school holidays, including horse trekking, rockwall, flying fox, rifle range, archery and more, giving the children a chance to have fun and learn in a peaceful and safe environment, and the grown-ups some room to breathe. They also have a wide variety of free fun activities including table tennis, pool, waterslide, mini-putt, basketball, disc golf and tennis.

Family camp activities in Waikanae

From hiking and fishing to swimming and archery, you can give your child a fun holiday experience and have a wonderful family vacation in Waikanae during the school holidays when you take advantage of El Rancho’s Christian camp packages or school camps deals.

These camps not only create fun-filled moments for your children but also provide active learning and adventure, giving kids the opportunity to build their self-esteem, learn life skills, become responsible citizens, and realise their potential. You – the parent – also benefits, since you’ll be able to take some time for yourself, indulge in outdoor experiences and adventure activities, and form new friendships.

Here are some of the best school holiday activities for families in and around the Waikanae area:

  • Bird watching. Christian camps and kids camp packages allow you and your kids to enjoy the many unique and native birds inhabiting the Kapiti Coast, including those found at the famous Nga Manu bird sanctuary, such as wood pigeons, pied stilts, parakeets and kea.
  • Horse trekking adventures. There are many great trails through the native bush, wetlands, holiday parks and reserves, and miles of wonderful beach on which you can take horse riding treks and enjoy outstanding sea vistas.
  • Hiking, walking, picnicking and backpacking. If you’re keen on the outdoors, the banks of the Waikanae River (both north and south) have walkways through which visitors can enjoy a sample of the region’s flora and fauna as well as coastal views. The bush walk through the parkland and trees is another option for the outdoor visitor.
  • Wilderness survival. A number of campsites and facilities offer courses on nature awareness, outdoor survival skills and wilderness survival skills, allowing campers to learn fundamental skills in how to live closer to nature.
  • Tennis. Waikanae has several fitness centres plus tennis and squash courts.
  • Swimming. In addition to a large outdoor swimming pool, Waikanae offers safe swimming beaches with excellent fishing and diving areas. Here, families get to enjoy swimming as well as the fabulous view of Kapiti Island.
  • Tubing. A number of campsites offer tubing slides, tubing or sliding lanes, and river tubing, allowing you and your family to enjoy this great fun activity.
  • Canoeing. Waikanae River, river mouth and the beach all provide a perfect setting for recreational activities, including canoeing, kayaking, picnicking, swimming, fishing, horse riding, cycling, running, walking and playing sport.
  • Mountain biking. Mountain biking takes you through the lesser known trails of Waikanae. Start out around the town, and then move deeper into the beautiful bush as you progress. As you gain more confidence, you can take road trips off the camp, get driven up the hills at Reikorangi, and then ride down.
  • Golfing. There is a world-class golf course at Waikanae and four other golf courses in close proximity to the town, as well as several mini-golf facilities where children and families can spend quality time together.
  • Arts. The Mahara Gallery is a great place to check out the local arts scene, but there are also several other galleries in the local area displaying beautiful works of art, sculptures, jewellery, photography, drawings, ceramics, pottery…the list is endless.
  • Confidence courses. Entertaining your children through school camp programmes or Christian camp programmes during the school holidays is a great way to get them outdoors and learning new skills while making new friends. It will give them a chance to grow an independent spirit that is self-reliant, confident and responsible.

Whether you’re planning a family reunion or school camp, a large conference or a small retreat, El Rancho is the perfect place to relax, refresh and rejuvenate in unique beautiful surroundings close to a range of activities and beauty spots. They endeavour to ensure an enjoyable and memorable stay for everyone so visit their website,www.elrancho.co.nz, and book your next break away today.

El Rancho- The Best Family and Group Camp in the Wellington Area


El Rancho is a retreat camp and convention centre located in Kapiti, providing a variety of outdoor and indoor services, including conferences, accommodation and catering. We are a Christian group and serve various categories of clients including corporates, government agencies, families, schools and community groups.

In addition, we provide these services to individuals of all ages. We endeavour to provide safe and peaceful school camps that are also fun and engaging. Winter camps are also provided for various groups of 50-500 people.

Bordering the Waikanae River and located a few minutes’ walk from Waikanae Beach on the sunny Kapiti Coast, the camp provides an exciting experience for families, individuals and groups. Founded in the 1950s and inspired by the Christian Convention at Ngaruawahia, the camp has had many success stories.

Established on 20 hectares of land, over the years El Rancho has been a place for many groups and people to meet and build relationships.


Established on a non-denominational basis, El Rancho or the Waikanae Christian Holiday Park hosts a variety of events including corporate conferences, youth leadership conferences, kids camps, youth leadership meetings, kids conferences, holiday camps, company holiday events, storm camps, winter camps, Christmas holiday events, annual meetings, Christian camps, school camps, and family reunions among others.

Groups and families can also enjoy educational experiences at El Rancho. With its conference venues in Waikanae, people can use various facilities and spacious rooms. Concerts, conventions, conferences and theatre activities are also hosted in the spacious Kauri Hall and Apiti Chapel.

Activities and attractions

At El Rancho we have a team of instructors professionally trained to provide safe and fun experiences in all activities you engage during your stay. El Rancho provides the highest standards of safety that meet Work Safe NZ standards and Outdoors Mark Certified instructors.

Some of the activities you could enjoy are air rifles, archery, go karts, horse riding, rockwall, tubing, and other instructed activities. Non-instructed activities include mini-golf, petanque, confidence courses, tennis and trampolining as well as walking and cycling. We hope to introduce a kayak activity this year and introduce a twin zip line next year. Activities such as camping are specifically tailored for schools and colleges and there are school camp experts to assist.

You will enjoy seeing the largest remaining area of native kohekohe forest, protected by the Hemi Matenga Scenic Reserve. In addition the Kapiti coast is home to many natural attractions such as aquatic life, birds, plants and animals.

Being the largest island sanctuary for birds in New Zealand, Kapiti Island Nature Reserve is an ideal place for groups and families to visit. Other attractions include the marine life in Kapiti Marine Reserve. Waikanae Beach also provides a good view of the island and the Waikanae River estuary is nearby.


Groups coming to El Rancho will enjoy staying in affordable motel-style accommodation, including studios, lodges and villas of various sizes to accommodate even large families in the same place. All our accommodation options come with kitchens, toilets and entertainment areas. If you want to host an event at El Rancho just visit our website, www.elrancho.co.nz, to book your next group or family fun experience.

A Holiday Maker’s Guide To Wellington


If you have decided to go to Wellington for your next holiday, then you will certainly not regret it – New Zealand’s capital city has everything one can wish for! From history and culture to traditional and modern art and architecture, Wellington is a vibrant and lively city that is surrounded by the ocean and hills.

Here is a brief holiday maker’s guide to Wellington, encompassing some of the tourist attractions that you must not miss:

1. Zealandia

Zealandia is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Wellington – this is an innovative eco-attraction that showcases the natural history of the country. There are many species of rare insects, birds and reptiles that can be seen here, and Zealandia is only located 10 minutes from downtown Wellington. If you are a nature lover and want to make the best of your trip to Wellington, then you should definitely visit this eco-attraction, and you will certainly love the kiwi, the tuatara and the saddlebacks!

2. Try a rover tour!

Rover tours are another great choice if you are feeling adventurous – as mentioned above, Wellington is known for being a very picturesque city, and if you want to enjoy it to the full then the only way you can do that is with a rover tour.

3. Te Papa Museum

Although Te Papa museum was only opened less than 20 years ago, it is by far one of the most appreciated tourist attractions not just in Wellington, but in the whole of New Zealand. The museum features interactive and multimedia displays on earthquakes and other natural phenomena, and the best part is that Te Papa is an all-round museum that offers visitors an insight into New Zealand’s economy, the importance of sheep farming, the Maori culture and lots more besides.

There is also a National Art Gallery within the Te Papa Museum, and it features extensive work of art that date back to the 19th and 20th century, including some of Rembrandt’s work!

4. Try a visitor tour of Parliament

Another popular tourist attraction in Wellington is its Parliament, which is also referred to as the Beehive, given its unique shape and structure. There are free 60-minute tours of the Parliament building organised on a daily basis, and the structure itself is truly remarkable, given the fact that parts of it are built with marble and granite brought all the way from the South Island.

5. The botanic gardens 

Lastly, the botanic gardens should also be visited if you truly want to enjoy Wellington to the fullest. The gardens, which are home to no less than 500 different species of rose and countless species of Maori herbs, have been around for more than a century (opened in 1869), and at the entrance you can find the popular Carter Observatory.

To conclude, these are some of the most important tourist attractions you should visit during your next trip to Wellington.

If you travel with your family and you are looking for cost-effective accommodation outside the city, then Waikanane is a great place to go. For Waikanae accommodation get in touch with El Rancho.

A Closer Look at El Rancho Camps


There are several different camps here at El Rancho, from Christian camps to the famous kids camp where children aged 8 to 12 can spend five days overnight and learn more about Christianity. The Alive Youth Camp is also very popular, especially among young Christians who want to make new friends and to meet other like-minded people. Youth leadership camps are also a great choice for teenagers who want to learn more about Christianity as well as step out of their comfort zone. El Rancho is also a great destination for school camps.

Family fun holiday park in Waikanae, near  Wellington

At El Rancho we offer accommodation and a variety of entertainment services for families. El Rancho is a safe and peaceful retreat where families can strengthen their connections and have the chance to spend quality time together. El Rancho provides cost-effective accommodation including lodges, cabins in the woods, caravan sites, motel-type accommodation and spaces for tents.

Perfect for families, especially those with small children, the El Rancho park provides a variety of fun activities. You can enjoy the water slide, swim in the swimming pool, jump on the trampoline, play some tennis or football and check out the obstacle course.

Group bookings

El Rancho is a great venue for events such as church retreats and conferences. El Rancho is widely considered as one of the favourite Church retreats in New Zealand, and it can offer catering services for up to 500 people. There are three accommodation facilities available: the Elm Court Premium with up to 122 beds, Redwood with up to 154 beds and Pinewood with up to 72 beds. Group bookings are welcomed – just visit our website for more details.

For customers who are interested in our conference services El Rancho has a 700-seat auditorium as well as an indoor gymnasium. There are 10 meeting rooms onsite for seminars and meetings, as well as team building activities. There are numerous local attractions and cafes around El Rancho as well, perfect for those who want to relax during the breaks.

Find out more about El Rancho

Do you want to take your family to a safe and serene place where they can relax over the weekend? Perhaps you are a business owner and you want to organise a team building activity in a quiet and peaceful place, away from the hustle and bustle of the city? Find out more about what El Rancho has to offer by visiting our website.