Updated: Sep 23
Visiting a scenic landmark is one thing, but waking up there is quite another. There is no way to immerse yourself in the stunning scenery New Zealand has to offer (if we do say so ourselves) like by sleeping in it.
That’s why we thought we’d make a wee list of some of our top camping spots. These are the places you can spend a night, or a few, truly soaking in the surrounds. Base yourself at one of these beautiful spots and spend your days exploring the area, or simply relaxing in destinations like no other.
GLENDHU BAY, LAKE WANAKA
The only lakeside camping spot in Wanaka, Glendhu Bay Motor Camp has the goods. It is the closest camp to both Roys Peak and Diamond Lake walks, Treble Cone ski field and rock climbing, and serves as the gateway to the world heritage Aspiring National Park.
Park up, pitch a tent or stay in the lodge or a rustic cabin. Family friendly, it also caters for couples-only getaways (ask them about the hot tub under the stars).
TOTARANUI, ABEL TASMAN
The remote golden sands and pristine blue waters of the Abel Tasman are arguably at their camping best in Totaranui.
The large campsite is adjacent to the beach, and is a popular spot for domestic and international guests – and you know if the locals love it, you are sure to, too.
Accessible by road, it is easy to drive up with everything you need and set up your home away from home.
And if the beautiful beach isn’t enough to keep you occupied – there are plenty of walks and adventures to choose from.
KAITERITERI, ABEL TASMAN
The gateway to the Abel Tasman, Kaiteriteri is perfect for those keen to sleep under canvas – but also have a hot shower and dinner at a restaurant.
Across the road from the stunning beach, the campground is busy year round for a reason. The reason being, it is epic.
The few bars, restaurants and shops are excellent, and although in small numbers, Kaiteri seems a metropolis compared to the offerings in the rest of the park (it is a remote, nationally protected nature and marine reserve-like areas afterall).
Base to water taxis, boat cruises, water sports hire and many other activities like mountain biking, hiking and nature tours – Kaiteri has something for everyone.
MATURA BAY, BAY OF ISLANDS
Beachfront means beachfront at Matura Bay Holiday Park. Unrivalled ocean views, white sand and Tahitian-clear water – look out to the Cavalli Island as you relax or get adventurous with diving, fishing, hiking and any other outdoor activities your wilderness-curious heart desires.
Visit Waikahoa Bay Campsite, a beachfront coastal park near Whangarei. Pitch your tent under one of the beautiful pohutukawa trees which dot the sites, and wake up beachside.
With no cell phone reception, you will be well and truly off the grid here – the ultimate camping goal.
PAPA AROHA, COROMANDEL PENINSULA
On the western side of the very, very popular holiday destination which is Coromandel Peninsula, Papa Aroha does not just have a cool name (translates roughly to Love Box) – it is also stunning and off the beaten track.
Right on the beach, the campground enjoys unrivalled fishing, kayaking, a children’s playground and some neat bush walks.
MANGAPURUA LANDING, WHANGANUI
Most people access the landing on the Whanganui River by boat, but why not walk down the track which visits several abandoned farms and the famous Bridge to Nowhere? Yeah, we think that sounds pretty cool, too.
Revel in the bird song that sings from the surrounding native bush at this isolated grassy area – a different option for those travelling through, or to, the Whanganui area.