Over the festive season, Vinegar Hill Campsite offers quirky community camaraderie for all attendees. Bonfires, talent shows, and the crowning of a camp Queen all add to the fun.

Photos and (below) article | Jamie Gardner.

Vinegar Hill was big as ever, with over 20 events held over six days leading up to the New Year’s Eve ‘Club Tropicana’ Party. It was a glorious reign for Queen Sam, where numbers gathered in the Manawatu region. Despite the rain at times, we had glorious warm sunny weather, which bestowed the region – meaning campers could enjoy the relaxing surroundings and the warm rapids of the river.


We had some amazing social interaction with the site this year. Several highlights make this festival so special. To us, holding these events is all around inclusion, community spirit and social interaction. There were, of course, the usual shenanigans at the Hill this year, with a lot of Vinegar Hill Gnoming around the camp site, getting up to mischievousness in all the usual campsites. The new tails of Candy Mountain were in strong force. Some great David Attenborough-style videos were in strong force, doing the rounds on social media.

Firstly, the Queen was honoured to host another wedding at the Hill this year with our stunning local LGBT celebrant Rhys for the marriage of our fellow campers from the Vinegar Hilton, Spencer and Bryon. Congratulations from all your Vinegar Hill whanau.

Secondly, we had some amazing social engagements, starting off with our sporting events. The annual Boys versus Girls softball competition was on fire this year, with the competition heating up. The Girls’ team, led by Captain Lisa, brought out their big guns to smash the Boys led by Captain Mark. Final score was 21-4 over 3 innings. The inaugural Kings versus Queens football competition happened. This will be a great New Year addition to the Hill, where the Kings won over the Queens 4 goals to 1.

Lord David outdid himself with an amazing Wham Beach party that rocked the Hill until the early hours of the morning, with resident DJ Ari pumping out those tunes. Another new event this year was ‘Drag on the Street’, where we had some amazing performances from 5 stunning queens organised by the House of Blaster. Fashion from the Field is always a highlight of the festival hosted by Camp Twink, where the competitors have to create outfits made from foliage and fauna. Congratulations to Mark whose outfit was created by the Alphabet Mafia.

Other amazing events included the Madhatter’s High Tea party, Queens Cocktail party, gay bingo, and a special highlight of the week – the fabulous Vinegar Hill markets.

The New Year’s Eve show was the highlight of the week, with over 20 acts performing on stage and hosted by the fabulous Elliott Smee and Chrys Anthemum.

The main evening festivities ended with the crowning of the 38th Queen of Vinegar Hill, Patsy. Long may she reign.

If you are thinking of attending in 2024, join the Vinegar Hill Facebook page for more details!