Camping is such a classic Kiwi adventure, whether you are in the bush, by a river, on a lake or at the beach. That’s why we’ve rounded up the best campgrounds in New Zealand. Remember to book well in advance for the silly season and don’t forget your sunscreen and a bit of mozzie repellent. If you’ve got a favourite camping spot, why not pitch up and share your love for it on the campground’s Localist page. Let the good times roll!
If you enjoy meeting new people and making new memories then Te Anau Lakeview Holiday Park is for you! Consistently fully booked for long weekends and those sought-after Summer months, they offer full facilities including cabins, parking for boats and a cleverly designed playground right next to the waterfront that will keep the children exploring and playing for hours. You choose your desired area, and set up for a holiday filled with fun with your friends and family!
Lake Tennyson Campsite reviewed by Maria R.
If you want to stay in a camping ground which is truly isolated then you must visit Lake Tennyson. Accessible only via a gravel road, this is the place to stay if you want to go on long walks, fishing, swimming or just chilling next to the lake.
Karamea Memorial Domain Camping Ground reviewed by Maria R.
Located near the Karamea river and Kahurangi National Park, the Karamea Domain Camping Ground is a popular spot for locals and national and international visitors. There’s a variety of accommodation styles to choose from including backpackers bunkroom, tent and van sites.
Kaitoke Regional Park reviewed by Joe S.
Probably the largest campsite on this list, and definitely the most viewed. Kaitoke Regional Park is at the base of the Rimutaka hills, spread over large flat grassy areas, there is definitely no shortage of space for your camping crew. Kaitoke boasts a formidable amount of native wildlife and fauna, more inclined with the original vegetation of the Akatarawa area. The activities available range from rafting, to walks and tramps for all ages, or just relaxing within the confines of the campground. The campground is probably most well known for its role as Rivendell in the Lord of the Rings and you can access the filming site though no physical remnants of the filming remain. Definitely my pick of this bunch purely due to its locality to both the Wairarapa over the Rimutakas and into Wellington, alongside the tremendously beautiful natural surrounding you find yourself in. Prices per night 18 & up - $6 5-17 - $3 Under 5yrs free
Opunake Beach Holiday Park reviewed by Lisa B.
Opunake Beach Kiwi Holiday Park has 98 sites to choose from, whether it be a camping spot, a cabin or a self-contained unit. It’s a great place for the family to have a little vacation and it’s close to the mountain with quite a good view of it too! One thing that’s really cool is they have an artificial surf reef along with a children’s paddling pool with countless picnic tables and BBQs. If the recent cold weather has put you off doing anything outside, come out for a sunny weekend to Opunake!
Mangatutu Hot Springs reviewed by Pippa B.
It’s a bit of a drive inland from Napier and you have to cross two fiords, however this small basic campsite in a natural bush setting is a short walk to thermal springs situated in the bush above the Mohaka River. A good base for tramping, trout fishing, swimming and rafting. Toilets are available, water is accessed from the stream but it’s not suitable for campervans.
Port Jackson Campsite reviewed by Latesha R.
Another DOC campsite, again quite basic, but in a stunning location. Right up on the tip of the peninsula it’s a place to go alone or with friends to reconnect and relax. Basic means cold showers and a long drop, but (in summer especially) the swimming is great and it doesn’t matter. Tip: Have a bonfire and bring a guitar.
Fantail Bay Conservation Campsite reviewed by Latesha R.
A peaceful and beautiful camp spot relatively close to Coromandel town. I love that DOC sites are often basic… I’d head here for a quiet getaway, no TV, no noise and very few people. It’s a great fishing spot and a good base for hiking. Start here and follow the coast for elevated views of the peninsula. $10 pp/pn.
Goat Island Camping & Accommodation reviewed by Kylie B.
Okay, I have to confess I live on the west coast so in the summer I get to go to the beach every day. It can make it hard to find a camping spot that’s worth packing the car for a quick weekend away but my friends and I take a roadie up to Goat Island Camping and Accommodation once a year in February for a classic east coast Kiwi camping experience. I love this campground - it is everything that camping in New Zealand should be about. There’s a little general store, a common area where you can met and conversate with passing travellers and a firepit where you can take your bottle of wine at night and get to know your fellow campers. And no matter how busy it gets, there’s always a little place under the pine trees where you can tuck away to get some privacy. Plus, Goat Island Marine Reserve is one of the busiest summer destinations for snorkelling and sea kayaking but if you are staying in the campground, there’s no argy bargy for a precious carpark. You just strap your fins to your back, pack up your snorkelling mask and head down in the morning for a quiet snorkel with the whole place to yourself. My top tip is to stay out of the heat of the sun during midday by planning to hit the beach in the early morning and at dusk when it is at its least busiest. This campground also has the most divine little A-frame cabins, which are perfect for a romantic retreat. I love this place so much I wish I hadn’t let the cat out of the camping canvas, so to speak. It’s a hidden gem and you need to try it!
Matauri Bay Holiday Park Ltd reviewed by Jasmine J.
This is one of my favourite camping spots as meters away you have the wonderful Matauri Bay beach. It’s long with pink shelly sand and a stunning stretch of water that’s great for swimming in. The ocean drops off quite steeply which I like for having a good swim but you’ll want to watch the littles ones. There are great walks close by too such as the Rainbow Warrior memorial on top of the hill. Matauri Bay Holiday Park is a delightful place to spend a summer in, give it a go!