When Suzi Blank and her husband Darren moved down from Auckland to take over Taupō
TOP 10 two years ago, they had a lot of plans for the business. They never could have
foreseen that, just one year later, they would be facing a total closure of New Zealand’s
borders due to COVID-19.
“Darren and I were looking to get out of the rat race of Auckland. We liked the idea of
owning a campground as everyone in the sector seemed so happy! Once we bought the
campground and moved to Taupō we wanted to get started on some renovations. But when
lockdown hit we had to reassess our plans” says Suzi, who owns and manages the holiday
park with Darren, his brother Matt and Matt’s wife Kris.
Taupō TOP 10 (formerly All Seasons Holiday Park) was one of the only campgrounds in the
Waikato that chose to stay open over lockdown. “Around 30 tourists ended up staying with
us. The four of us worked hard to manage all the social distancing and cleaning
requirements. Keeping up with the changing government advice was challenging, so we
were very grateful to be part of the TOP 10 network. It was a stressful time, and they gave
us a lot of support. The information from Amplify was also really useful, especially around
wage subsidies and government support” says Suzi.
They decided to forge ahead with their renovation plans, and updated all the bathrooms
over lockdown. “A lot of people thought we were crazy to invest money in renovations. But
we were confident that, once lockdown was over, New Zealanders would still be travelling
locally. We also thought people would be looking for places that had really good hygiene
standards, and that having modern clean bathrooms would be pretty important” Suzi says.
Now that domestic travellers have returned to Taupō, Suzi says business has been steady.
“We’re so grateful to the New Zealanders that have continued to travel to Taupō. All four of
us love spending time with people and want to create a real sense of community here. We
all bring our own skills to the business and we’re starting to get a lot of repeat customers,
which is great. Darren will often wander through the campground in the evening chatting
with our guests and getting the latest update on their families and holiday activities” she
Suzi says managing the park with another couple helps spread the workload. They have
plans to install a swimming pool, which they are hoping to finish in time for summer. “The
pool should mean people can stay with us a little longer and explore the Taupō district,
rather than just passing through for one or two nights” says Suzi.
In August 2021 the Taupo Top 10 Holiday Park have won the Resco Best Upgrade Award under $100,000 at the Holiday Parks Association of New Zealand national awards. They also won the award in 2020.