The sight of "dirty hippies" camping in the Ocean Beach car park has infuriated a Hastings woman, who says the region's tourist reputation is being let down by the campers.
The woman, who does not want to be named, took photos of the campsite that she says dominated the beachfront throughout the weekend.
The campsite consisted of two vehicles, several plywood "walls" and numerous mattresses on a grassy area beside the car park.
The woman said the campsite was occupied by two families of about 10 people.
"They had long hair and ponytails, and an alsatian," the woman said.
She took photographs of the campers to show Hastings District Council staff, who she had called on the weekend, but who had told her they were too busy to go to the site. When the woman went to the site yesterday she found deserted embers still burning and food waste scattered across the sand.
"And the toilets were miles away," she said.
"Think of all the visitors coming to the beach who couldn't park there because of these people. With all the money we spend on tourism you just don't expect that sort of thing on our beaches. When the helicopter from Craggy Range (winery) flies up and down that beach they'll see them there," the woman said.
She said she did not confront the campers because she was worried about what they might do.
Hastings District Council community safety manager Malcolm Hart said freedom campers were a "perennial problem" at this time of year.
Mr Hart said the council would erect a "no camping" sign at Ocean Beach to prevent similar incidents. The sign would be erected in the next few weeks, he said.
Mr Hart said camping was forbidden in any beachside or layby area that was not a designated camping site.