Camping stores warn they could run out of stock as New Zealanders head outdoors

The Department of Conservation (DoC) is expecting more New Zealanders than ever to take advantage of its campsites this summer.

Travel restrictions mean many Kiwis are trying camping for the first time this year and demand for equipment's so high that one Auckland camping shop fears it will run out of stock by the middle of next month.

Aaron Panakal is one of thousands camping for the first time.

"Everyone's just bored, honestly, everyone has nothing to do, so they're trying things that are new," he says.

The DoC's reporting its 300 campsites are filling up and telling people to book early. Auckland regional sites too are busy.

"We've just been stuck at home for so long, so I mean we're camping this weekend, we're camping again at the end of December, we're camping again at the end of January," one person says.

Tourism New Zealand says almost two-thirds of Kiwis have taken the money they would've spent on an overseas holiday and are spending it at home.

Tent Town owner John Rathbun says they're flying off the shelves.

"I think there's a whole bunch of people deciding camping might be a good option to travelling and really having no choice," he says.

Andrew Mewburn's keen to taste the holidays of his youth, while Brianna Fitzgerald's going to rough it for the first time.

"Our cruise got cancelled so we were meant to be going to Australia and then up round the islands for Christmas so because we couldn't do that we decided to do New Zealand instead."

Rathbun had more gear arrive on Friday - but he says he isn't even going to unpack it because it'll all have gone by the end of the weekend.

"There's money around I can tell you that," he says.

But Rathbun may not be able to take full advantage. Facing months of lockdown many camping stores under-ordered back in March and a restock could be as far away as next September.

"To be quite frank, by the middle of January we might be at a point when we've nothing to sell," he says.

The Great Outdoors on our doorstep, but this summer so it seems are our neighbours.