Are you looking for the best campsites on the North Island?
Perfect—I can help with that!
There are dozens of campsites on the North Island, and it can be hard to know where to go.
That’s where this guide will come in handy.
I lived in Auckland and Wellington for a combined total of 5+ years and spent every possible weekend camping.
I’ve camped all over the North Island and have lots of incredible camping spots to share with you.
My criteria for what makes a campsite “the best” is that it’s either got to be 1) in a scenic setting; 2) next to fun things to do; or 3) both!
These campsites tick those boxes and are the places I’ve returned to again and again. I think you’ll love them, too.
Let’s get to it then. Read on to discover the best campsites on the North Island!
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Table of Contents
Map of the Best Campsites on the North Island
💛 Yellow tent = top 5 North Island campsites
💚 Green tent = top DOC campsites on the North Island
💙 Blue tent = top North Island holiday parks
Best Camping Spots on the North Island: 🌟Top Picks☀️
While all of the camping spots in this guide are epic, these 5 North Island campsites are particular favourites of mine. So, I’ve included them at the top of the list.
1. Motutara Farm Camping
Motutara Farm is a privately-owned campground on a working farm, situated amongst two absolutely beautiful surf beaches – King’s Beach and Barron’s Beach.
There are over 200 campsites here, most of which have ocean views.
If you’re looking for beachfront camping on the North Island, you won’t find a better spot than Motutara Farm! This is one of the most incredible campgrounds in Northland.
The facilities at Motutara Farm are basic; there are non-flush toilets and cold showers, and no power hookups or cooking facilities.
It’s the perfect place to get away from it all—just be sure you’re self-sufficient and bring in your own supplies, including a camp stove or portable BBQ. A solar shower could also come in handy!
There’s a small dairy in the township of Whananaki that has basics, but it’s best to stock up on food/drinks in one of the bigger towns on your way in (Whangarei would be a good choice if you’re coming from the south).
This campground operates seasonally and is only open during the summer months. Make sure you book ahead as this is a popular campground, for good reason.
Tip: Their website doesn’t always seem to work, so I’d call or email them to request a booking. Here’s their contact info:
- Phone number: 09 433 8252
- Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
✅ Things to do near Motutara Farm
- Hang out all day at the beach—take your pick from either of the private beaches at the campground!
- Walk across the Whananaki Footbridge, the longest footbridge in the Southern Hemisphere.
- Take a day trip down to the Tutukaka Coast and visit stunning Matapōuri Beach.
2. Matauri Bay Holiday Park
Camp seaside at the Matauri Bay Holiday Park, a beautiful beachfront campground located 30km north of the Bay of Islands.
This campground has an old-school feel to it, and I mean that in the best way possible. It’s a classic Kiwi camping experience and is basically just what summers should be made of.
You can pitch a tent, park your van, or book one of the rustic, retro caravans, and be steps away from a pristine white sand beach.
The beach at Matauri Bay is the #1 drawcard for camping here—it is, hands down, one of the most gorgeous beaches in the country, and you’ll get direct access to it when you camp here.
I’ve just gotta say, this is one of those places that some people might get mad at me for including here, because they won’t want it to get too crowded. However, I can’t not share this spot because it’s truly one of the best beachfront campsites on the North Island.
✅ Things to do near the Matauri Bay Holiday Park
- Hang out at the beach, of course! Go swimming or fishing, or just lounge around under your beach umbrella all day with snacks and a good book.
- Walk up to the Rainbow Warrior Memorial.
- Hike the Mahinepua Peninsula Track, located a 20-minute drive from Matauri Bay.
- Day trip to the Bay of Islands; Kerikeri is just 35 minutes away. Visit Rainbow Falls and the historic Stone Store, and if you’re there on a Saturday, don’t miss the farmer’s market at the Old Packhouse.
3. Tāwharanui Campground
Aucklanders are so lucky to have Tāwharanui Regional Park just an hour away from the city.
With its white sand beaches, rolling green hills and birdlife-rich wetlands, this place is the bee’s knees for an outdoor lover.
Even luckier is the fact that there’s a stunning campground within the regional park: the Tāwharanui Campground.
This campground feels like a DOC campsite in the sense that it’s a back-to-basics experience in an absolutely gorgeous natural setting.
At the Tāwharanui Campground, choose between heaps of spacious, grassy campsites, with designated sections for both tents and campervans.
The best part about camping here, though, is that you’ll be right over the dunes from Anchor Bay beach…and oh my god, 😱 what an incredible beach it is!
With pristine white sands and clear, swimmable waters, Anchor Bay is a straight-up paradise.
I highly recommend camping here if you’re looking for a scenic campground near Auckland.
✅ Things to do near Tāwharanui Campground
- Hang out at Anchor Bay beach.
- Tackle some of the walking trails in Tāwharanui Regional Park.
- Book an evening kiwi-spotting tour (they can arrange to meet you in Tāwaharanui Park; just ask beforehand).
- Visit nearby Matakana and explore the shops, eateries, and boutique wineries. Don’t miss the Matakana Farmer’s Market if you’re there on a Saturday!
- Enjoy a craft beer and snack at Sawmill Brewery.
4. Opoutere Coastal Camping
Opoutere is about 20 minutes north of Whangamatā. It’s a special haven that provides a mix of forest, beach, and estuary. There are endless opportunities to both relax and adventure to your heart’s content.
You can tent camp here, or stay in your van or caravan—they have both powered and non-powered sites. There are also a few rustic cabins on site. There are barbeques, a couple of small kitchens, fresh drinking water taps and hot showers (bring $1 coins for the showers).
The campground is right by a long stretch of gorgeous, white sandy beach. From the campground, it takes just a few minutes to walk through a lovely pine forest to get to this beach heaven.
Camping in the Coromandel (or anywhere for that matter) doesn’t get better than this!
✅ Things to do near Opoutere Coastal Camping
- Hang out at Opoutere Beach!
- For more beach action, drive to nearby Onemana Beach and hike into Pokohino Beach (Octopus Bay).
- Visit the coastal town of Whangamatā. Grab brunch at Port Road Project, hang out or surf at Whangamatā Beach, and consider hiring kayaks to paddle to Whenuakura (Donut Island).
5. Maraehako Bay Campground
It’s hard to imagine a better summer camping destination than Maraehako Bay.
Sure, it’s a bit out-of-the-way—but that’s partly what makes this campground feel so special.
The Maraehako Bay Campground is located in the sunny Eastern Bay of Plenty. The microclimate here is so warm and tropical that there’s a macadamia farm right down the road—it’s almost like a mini Hawaii!
The campground has basic facilities—toilets and hot showers—but if you’re looking to get away from it all, then this is the place.
Bring everything you need for camp cooking, including a gas stove and all the pots, pans, and cutlery you’ll need. There isn’t a camp kitchen at this campground, so you’ll need to be self-sufficient.
You should also bring all of the food and drinks you need, including your own drinking water. There’s water at the campground but it needs to be boiled or treated before drinking.
There’s no WiFi or cell service at this campground, so be prepared to go off-grid for a while!
You can swim, go kayaking, try to catch some fish, and have bonfires on the beach under the stars.
Bring some firewood, a good book and a comfy camp chair and spend some time relaxing. This is such a peaceful spot to unwind for a couple of days.
Tip: Call ahead to ensure they’re open; their phone number is 07 974 6036.
✅ Things to do near the Maraehako Bay Campground
- Hang out at camp—it’s the best thing to do here! Go swimming or fishing, relax with a book, and toast some marshmallows over your bonfire at night.
- Visit nearby Pacific Coast Macadamias, a macadamia farm with an onsite cafe called the Nuthouse. Their citrus and ginger slices are delicious.
Best DOC Campsites on the North Island
DOC campsites are managed by the Department of Conservation and are often located in scenic, natural places with minimal facilities.
These are the campsites to stay at if you want a back-to-basics experience in nature.
The amenities at DOC campsites are basic. Expect to find non-flush toilets and water taps (with water you should boil or treat before drinking). Sometimes, a DOC campsite will have extra facilities like cold showers or a cooking shelter, but that’s the exception rather than the rule.
Further, DOC campsites usually offer unpowered sites only. Most can be accessed with 2WD, and are suitable for tent camping or camping in a campervan, motorhome, or caravan.
When you go camping at a DOC or council campsite, you’ll need to be prepared with everything you need for your camping trip, including a camp stove, cooking gear, food, light source, camp table, camp chairs, and drinking water.
➜ Tip: Planning to camp at lots of DOC campsites? Consider getting a DOC campsite pass to save $!
Here are my top picks for North Island DOC campsites!
6. Maitai Bay Campsite
Located on the picturesque Karikari Peninsula in Northland, the Maitai Bay Campsite is quite possibly the ultimate beachfront DOC campground in the country.
Set up your tent or park your van on one of the grassy campsites, and be just steps away from the golden-white sands of two spectacular Northland beaches: Maitai Bay and Merita Bay.
On a sunny day, camping at Maitai Bay is as close as you can get to a tropical paradise in New Zealand.
The beach at Maitai Bay is fantastic for swimming and snorkelling, so don’t forget your swim gear!
This campsite is extremely popular during peak season (from Christmas through January) and during holiday weekends. Outside of these peak times, you will enjoy a much more peaceful experience.
I recommend camping at Maitai Bay during spring or autumn if you want a camping trip without crowds.
There are no rubbish bins at Maitai Bay. During peak season, rubbish bags will be collected for a small fee, but otherwise, there’s a pack-it-in, pack-it-out policy. It’s a small price to pay for camping in paradise!
✅ Things to do near the Maitai Bay Campsite
- Swim, snorkel, or relax at the beach.
- Hike the Maitai Bay Headland Track (1.5 hours/3.5km return).
7. Kapowairua (Spirits Bay) Campsite
The Kapowairua (Spirits Bay) Campsite is a special place full of incredible natural beauty.
This is a campground to visit when you want to get away from it all—it’s located at the very top of the North Island and feels like a real edge-of-the-world kind of spot.
I love camping at Spirits Bay because it’s right near a stunning beach, which is tinted pink with shell-crushed sand. The ocean here is crystal-clear and great for swimming and fishing.
There’s actually a good surf break here, too, when the conditions are right.
Wild horses roam the headland above the campground, and the whole place is wildly beautiful.
As to be expected from a DOC campsite, the facilities are basic—but you honestly don’t need much when you get to camp in paradise!
Definitely pack all of the food, drinks, and gear you need for your camping trip at Spirits Bay. This is one of the most remote camping sites on the North Island, and you won’t want to backtrack for supplies.
Don’t forget insect repellent, either—mosquitoes can be prolific, particularly in summer.
During peak season (December to February), there are camp managers on site who will collect your rubbish for a small fee.
The rest of the year, there is a pack-it-in, pack-it-out policy, so ensure you take all of your rubbish with you.
✅ Things to do near the Kapowairua / Spirits Bay Campsite
- Swim, fish, surf, and hang out at the amazing sandy beach.
- Day trip to Cape Reinga and the Te Paki sand dunes.
- Hike a section of the Te Paki Coastal Track to Pandora Beach (about 3 hours one-way).
8. Puriri Bay (Whangaruru North Head) Campsite
The Puriri Bay (Whangaruru North Head) Campsite is undoubtedly one of the best DOC campsites on the North Island.
Overlooking the Whangaruru Harbour, this idyllic campsite is perched above a sheltered bay with a soft sandy beach. The calm waters are excellent for swimming and boating. And if you have a kayak or SUP, you’ll definitely want to bring them here!
The pitches at this campsite are grassy and great for tent camping or for parking up your van. However, the grassed areas are blocked off from the end of April until Labour weekend; you can still park in the parking area during those off-season months, but you might not want to tent camp then (unless you don’t mind hard ground, but I sure do!).
There’s no rubbish collection at this campsite, so you’ll need to pack out anything you bring in.
This is such a pretty, peaceful place to go off-grid for a couple of days. It’s one of those spots that just makes you feel so grateful to be in NZ.
✅ Things to do near the Puriri Bay (Whangaruru North Head) Campsite
- Go swimming, kayaking, or boating in the beautiful sheltered bay.
- Try your hand at rock fishing.
- Enjoy the lovely walking tracks that start right from the campground.
9. Waikawau Bay Campsite
Looking for an epic DOC campsite in the Coromandel?
Then head to the Waikawau Bay Campsite!
This campsite is located on the northeastern side of the Coromandel Peninsula, and it is quite a journey to get there.
However, your effort will be well-rewarded when you set eyes on Waikawau Bay. It’s one of the best beach campsites on the North Island, with a long crescent of white sandy beach within mere steps from camp.
Unlike most DOC campsites, this campground has some powered campsites (12, to be exact) along with 120 unpowered sites. It’s a big place with a lot of space, but I do need to warn you that it gets jam-packed with campers during peak season from the end of December through the beginning of February.
Bookings are required year-round, but if you plan to camp at Waikawau Bay between Christmas and New Year in particular, make sure you book well in advance and be prepared for crowds!
During the off-season, this campground is way less busy and, in my opinion, a lot more enjoyable.
✅ Things to do near the Waikawau Bay Campsite
- Enjoy days at the beach—honestly, you won’t want to leave.
- For walks/day hikes nearby, try the Matamataharakeke Walk, which starts right at camp; or do part of the Coromandel Coastal Walkway, 20km north of camp
10. Mangahuia Campsite
The Mangahuia Campsite is in a prime location in Tongariro National Park.
You’ll get to camp amongst beech forest, with views of the surrounding mountains right from camp.
There’s a stream that runs below the campground and in summertime, there’s a refreshing swimming hole to plunge into.
The facilities at this DOC camp are basic, but the location is really what you should come here for.
If you’re planning to do the Tongariro Crossing, you can actually book a shuttle to transport you to and from the trail right from the campground.
Even if you’re not attempting the crossing, though, there is a lot to do in Tongariro National Park.
Or, simply sit back and enjoy the starry night sky from your campsite as you relax in one of the North Island’s best campgrounds.
✅ Things to do near the Mangahuia Campsite
- Hike the Tongariro Alpine Crossing! As mentioned above, you can book a shuttle to pick you up from this campsite and take you to and from the track.
- Or do some of the other awesome, shorter hikes in Tongariro National Park, like Taranaki Falls and Tama Lakes. You could also make a whole day out of hiking to waterfalls in Tongariro National Park!
- Lord of the Rings buffs will love seeing some of the local scenery that featured in the films, including Mount Ngauruhoe (Mount Doom) and Tawhai Falls (Gollum’s Pool).
- Go hang out in Ohakune, a relaxed mountain town at the southern end of Tongariro National Park.
11. Holdsworth Campsite
This campsite is set in a beautiful wilderness area near Carterton, and it’s one of the best camping spots on the lower North Island.
Set beneath the looming Tararua mountain ranges with heaps of spacious, forest-fringed campsites (and a couple of clear, cool creeks nearby), Holdsworth Campsite is a pleasant place for a camping trip.
You’ll find plenty of room here—take your pick from sites out in the open, or those with more privacy. It’s great for either tents or campervans.
There are a couple of fire pits around the campground and collecting firewood (from non-living trees!) is permitted, but check with the friendly camp host first as there are seasonal fire bans at times.
It’s the perfect place to bask in the sun with a beer in hand—but also a great starting point for some awesome hiking trails!
✅ Things to do near the Holdsworth Campsite
- Take a cold plunge into the swimming hole along the river—it’s just across from the Holdsworth Lodge (a 5-minute walk from the campground).
- Walk to Donnelly Flat (1 hour return), and bring a picnic to enjoy once you get there!
- Hike up the Gentle Annie Track to the Rocky Lookout (1.5 hours return), where you’ll get one of the best viewpoints over the Wairarapa Region.
- If you want a full-day, challenging hike, you could hike to Powell Hut, which is part of the multiday Holdsworth-Jumbo Circuit.
- On the drive to/from Holdsworth Campsite, don’t miss a pit stop at Clareville Bakery.
Best Holiday Parks on the North Island
Holiday Parks in New Zealand have a lot more amenities than DOC campsites, but they also tend to be busier and have less of a “natural feel.”
At these North Island holiday parks, you can expect to find facilities like a camp kitchen; bathrooms with flush toilets and hot showers; drinking water; laundry facilities; and often a whole lot more.
Holiday parks are usually very family-friendly and often provide fun things for kids to do, like playgrounds, games rooms, and bouncing pillows or trampolines.
While holiday parks have camp kitchens with stovetops, toasters, and kettles for boiling water, they don’t usually provide cooking gear. So, always come prepared with your own pots, pans, plates, and cutlery.
Many holiday parks also have camping cabins available, which makes it easy to go camping without requiring lots of gear.
Here are my top picks for North Island holiday parks!
12. Camp Waipu Cove
Camp Waipu Cove is an awesome beachfront holiday park in the coastal town of Waipu.
This campground is so well-run and has heaps of facilities on offer, including three large amenities blocks, spacious kitchens, and even a tennis court.
In addition to campsites, they also have some great camping cabins and other accommodation on offer.
The best part about camping here, though, is that Waipu Beach will be right at your doorstep. Spend long, sun-kissed days at the beach and then wander back to camp at your leisure.
There’s so much to do around Waipu, too—if you can pry yourself away from the beach, that is!
✅ Things to do near Camp Waipu Cove
- Hang out all day at Waipu Beach!
- Enjoy Waipu’s delicious eateries. The Cove Cafe makes excellent all-day meals and also does takeaways (their fish ‘n chips are a must-try). For pizza and craft beer, head to McLeod’s Pizza Barn.
- Visit Piroa Falls and go for a swim under the waterfall.
- See glow worms for free at the amazing Waipu Caves.
- Hike the Waipu Coastal Walkway to Lang’s Beach, and check out the Waipu pancake rocks along the way. Bring a picnic!
13. Piha Domain Motor Camp
Piha Beach is one of the most beautiful black sand beaches in New Zealand, and you’ll get to camp right near it at the Piha Domain Motor Camp!
This campground has everything you need for a comfortable camping getaway, including hot showers and a camp kitchen.
It’s also the only campground in Piha, and the location really couldn’t be better: it’s backed by the jungly rainforest of the Waitākere Ranges, with Piha beach just a 10-minute walk away.
Spend your days hiking in the rainforest, hanging out at the beach, and relaxing at camp.
✅ Things to do near the Piha Domain Motor Camp
- Swim, surf, or just hang out at Piha Beach! (If you’re swimming, though, make sure to stay within the swim area marked by flags as there can be dangerous currents and rip tides).
- Go on a hike. Kitekite Falls and the Mercer Bay Loop walk are two awesome trails close by.
- Visit Karekare Falls.
- Check out nearby Anawhata Beach, a secluded hike-in beach that’s absolutely gorgeous.
14. Hot Water Beach Top 10 Holiday Park
The Hot Water Beach Top 10 Holiday Park is one of the nicest holiday parks on the North Island.
With immaculately maintained grounds and top-notch facilities, this is a luxe place to go camping.
The campground’s location is hard to beat, too—you can walk to Hot Water Beach right from your campsite!
It only takes about 10 minutes to walk to Hot Water Beach along a well-maintained path, and there are spades (shovels) for hire right at the campground—so you can easily access one of the Coromandel’s top attractions right at your doorstep.
I really love the plush NZ-timber camping cabins here, which are surprisingly affordable and so comfy—ask for one close to the bush, and you might even hear kiwi calls at night.
✅ Things to do near the Hot Water Beach Top 10 Holiday Park
- Dig your own hot pool in the sand at Hot Water Beach at low tide.
- Visit Cathedral Cove; at the moment the only access to Cathedral Cove is via a boat tour or kayak tour.
- Sample beers at the local craft breweries—try Pour House in Hahei or Hot Water Beach Brewing in Whenuakite.
- Visit one of the many gorgeous beaches in the Coromandel.
15. Hahei Beach Resort
The Hahei Beach Resort is an excellent Coromandel campground in a prime beachfront location.
When you camp here, you’re just moments away from Hahei Beach, where you can soak in the sunshine and sink your toes into the soft white sand.
They honestly have the whole package at this campground, with top-notch facilities and a swoonworthy setting.
From camp, it’s a quick walk into the cute town of Hahei. If you don’t feel like cooking while you’re on holiday, there are some good dining options in Hahei, and the campground itself also has a takeaways bar.
I often have a hard time choosing between this campground and the nearby Hot Water Beach Top 10 Holiday Park; they’re really two of the best North Island campsites, and I’m going to leave that difficult choice up to you!
✅ Things to do near the Hahei Beach Resort
- See Cathedral Cove. At the time of writing this, Cathedral Cove is closed due to cyclone damage. However, you can still see Cathedral Cove by taking a scenic boat cruise or doing a kayak tour!
- Hang out at Hahei Beach! It’s a stunner.
- Walk up to the Te Pare Point Pā for incredible views. You can access the trail at the southern end of Hahei Beach around low tide.
- Visit Hot Water Beach. It’s just a 10-minute drive from camp and is best visited during the two hours on either side of low tide.
- Day trip to New Chums Beach.
- Enjoy a meal out in Hahei. I love the Pour House for a craft beer and woodfired pizza.
16. Raglan Holiday Park
The Raglan Holiday Park is located in such a convenient spot in Raglan, one of the North Island’s best beach towns.
World-renowned for its surfing opportunities and beautiful black sand beaches, Raglan is a top-notch camping destination for beach lovers.
This campground is adjacent to the black sands of Te Kopua Beach, and it’s just a 5-minute walk over a picturesque footbridge to get to the pretty town of Raglan.
If you’re after a good base to explore Raglan from, then this is the place!
While the campsites here don’t have a lot of privacy, it’s honestly hard to beat the location.
If you’re after more of a natural feel, then consider booking one of the unpowered sites closest to the beach as they’re a bit more leafy than the other sites around camp.
Kids and adults alike have a blast camping here. There’s a lot to keep kids entertained, including a bouncing pillow and indoor games room. Within a short walk from camp, there’s the Raglan playground and pump track. Not to mention the beach, which is of course excellent for swimming during the warmer months!
Being so close to town means that you can simply walk to a plethora of Raglan restaurants, bars, and shops. It’s so nice being able to pop over to town for dinner and drinks, and then simply wander back to camp at your leisure!
✅ Things to do near the Raglan Holiday Park
- Go surfing, or simply watch surfers in action from the carpark at Manu Bay.
- Enjoy a long beach walk or a refreshing swim in the sea.
- Walk into town to grab a bite to eat and peruse the shops. Don’t miss Ulo’s Kitchen!
- Grab fish & chips at the Raglan Wharf.
- Take a trip to Bridalveil Falls.
17. Ruapuke Motor Camp
If you want to camp near Raglan but don’t want to stay at a busy holiday park in town, then Ruapuke Motor Camp is the perfect spot for you.
Located 28km south of Raglan along an unpaved coastal road, this campground is out-of-the-way in the best way possible.
Set in a peaceful valley within walking distance to rugged Ruapuke Beach, this is a good place to camp if you want to get away from it all.
At the same time, you’re not far from Raglan—so you can still head into town for the day if you want to!
Ruapuke Beach is a gorgeous black sand surf beach that’s also great for long, relaxed beach strolls.
Sunsets from Ruapuke Beach are really something special. You’ll definitely want to wander from camp to the beach for happy hour!
Make sure you have a well-stocked chilly bin, as there are no shops out this way (the closest supermarkets are in Raglan).
✅ Things to do near the Ruapuke Motor Camp
- Stop by the Te Toto Gorge Lookout on the drive to/from the campground.
- Visit Ruapuke Beach, one of the most beautiful black sand beaches in New Zealand. You can walk to the beach from camp along a path over the hills.
- Drive to Raglan for the day.
- Explore nearby Bridal Veil Falls.
18. Mount Maunganui Beachside Holiday Park
Out of all the Tauranga campsites, the Mount Maunganui Beachside Holiday Park is a standout.
Situated right at the base of the town’s namesake Mount Maunganui, the surroundings here are pretty epic.
You’ll be just steps away from Mount Maunganui Beach, one of the most gorgeous beaches on the North Island.
From camp, you can easily enjoy all of the fun things to do in Mount Maunganui. Within minutes, you can be lounging at the beach or eating and drinking your way around the Mount.
If you’re wanting peace, solitude, and privacy while you camp, then this campground might be one to skip.
However, if you want to camp right in the heart of Mount Maunganui in a fun and lively setting, then this is one fantastic camping destination!
✅ Things to do near the Mount Maunganui Beachside Holiday Park
- Tackle Mount Maunganui’s walking trails—either hike up to the Mount Maunganui Summit, or enjoy the easy Mount Base Track (or do both!).
- Soak in the Mount Maunganui Hot Pools (they’re right next to the campground!).
- Hang out at the beach, and go for long beach walks.
- Hire kayaks or SUPs at Pilot Bay.
- Enjoy some delicious meals out. I’m a big fan of the General for brunch, Rice Rice Baby for dinner, and the Rising Tide for craft beers and dumplings.
19. Martinborough Top 10 Holiday Park
At the Martinborough Top 10 Holiday Park, you’ll get to camp right near the fields of vineyards Martinborough is famous for.
If you like wine country and you like camping, you are going to love this spot!
Choose from grassy campsites or modern camping cabins, and make sure to hire a bike from the front office. Cycling around town is the best way to visit a couple of the local wineries.
While you’re cycling about and tasting the local drops, make sure to pick up a bottle to bring back to camp for the evening. A little sausage sizzle on the complimentary BBQs along with a glass of local pinot noir is the perfect way to end the day!
✅ Things to do near the Martinborough Top 10 Holiday Park
- Go wine tasting! Hiring a bike is a super fun way to visit the wineries in Martinborough—either hire bikes from the campground or from Green Jersey in town.
- Stargaze at night under Martinborough’s clear skies—this area has been deemed a “Dark Sky Reserve” and the stargazing opportunities are fantastic.
- Day trip to Cape Palliser to see the lighthouse and one of the best seal colonies in New Zealand.
- Explore the Patuna Chasm, located about a 20-minute drive from camp. There’s an entrance fee for this place and bookings are required, but it’s really cool and well worth it.
20. Ōhope Beach Top 10 Holiday Park
At the Ōhope Beach Top 10 Holiday Park, you get to camp right next to one of New Zealand’s most-loved beaches.
Located in the Bay of Plenty, Ōhope Beach is an 11km stretch of gorgeous golden-white sand. It’s a popular summertime destination for local families, who return year after year to swim, surf and enjoy the abundant sunshine.
The holiday park is outstanding in every way; not only is the beachside location amazing, but the campground itself is top-notch. Camp at a grassy campsite surrounded by pohutukawa trees, stay in a camping cabin, or splurge on one of their fancier accommodation options.
When you’re not hanging out at the beach, take advantage of the holiday park’s amenities, because they’ve got a lot of them—including a heated pool! There’s also a sauna and some ocean-view hot tubs available, which you can book at reception.
✅ Things to do near the Ōhope Beach Top 10 Holiday Park
- Hang out at Ōhope Beach! This long stretch of beach is great for walking, swimming, and often surfing, too.
- Hike to Ōtarawairere Bay along the Kohi Point Track, starting from the western end of Ohope Beach. Make sure to time your walk with low tide so you can enjoy this hidden shelly beach—it’s a stunner.
- Enjoy some good food in Ōhope. Fisherman’s Wharf Cafe is right by the campground in Port Ōhope. In Ōhope Beach, Cadera has great Mexican food and margaritas.
21. Blue Lake Top 10 Holiday Park
Located just outside of the Rotorua City Centre, the Blue Lake Top 10 Holiday Park is my top choice for campgrounds in Rotorua.
Because it’s located a bit out of town, you don’t get the sulphur-y smell that Rotorua is known for, but you’ll still be close to all of the wonderful attractions Rotorua has to offer.
As the name suggests, this holiday park is located lakeside by the picturesque Lake Tikitapu (Blue Lake).
Lake Tikitapu is a gem of a lake, fringed with trees and circled by a peaceful walking track. It’s a great spot to bring your kayak or SUP along with you, or just go for a swim on a warm day!
The Blue Lake Top 10 is great for all types of campers, whether you’re in a tent or van, or would prefer a cabin. I’ve stayed in a wee cabin at this campground (the “Chateau Relaxo”) and found it to be great value for money!
✅ Things to do near the Blue Lake Top 10 Holiday Park
- Spend some time at Lake Tikitapu (Blue Lake). Walk the Blue Lake Track, go for a swim, or just hang out and BBQ by the lake! At night, you can walk to a glow worm colony by the lake, too.
- Soak in a hot pool. The Polynesian Spa is a great paid option, but there are lots of free hot pools nearby, too.
- Visit a Geothermal Park. Te Puia, Waimangu Volcanic Valley, and Wai-o-Tapu are all great choices. For one of the best free things to do in Rotorua, visit Kuirau Park.
- Walk through the Whakarewarewa Redwoods.
- After an adrenaline rush? Check out the luge, ZORB, white water rafting, or a canopy tour.
22. Tatapouri Bay Oceanside Accommodation & Campground
Gisborne is known for being the first region in the world to see the sunrise each morning, and what better way to greet the sun than by peeking out from your cosy tent?!
At the Tatapouri Bay Oceanside Campground, you can do just that.
This locally-run campsite is such a special spot. With friendly hosts, amazing vibes, and a boutique feel, this is a campground that really stands out from the rest.
Located right by the beach in Tatapouri Bay, you can listen to the ocean from your campsite at night.
In addition to both powered and unpowered campsites, they have some incredible accommodation options on offer, too. Choose from their oceanfront zen cabins or glamping tents, or book a stay in a log cabin or tiny home.
Other things that make this one of the top North Island campsites include their onsite cafe and “rise & shine” yoga on Sunday mornings (it’s $10, and bring your own mat).
✅ Things to do near the Tatapouri Bay Campground
- Go surfing—Gisborne is one of the best surf destinations in the whole country!
- Eat and drink your way through Gisborne. I love Sunshine Brewery and Neighbourhood Pizzeria.
- Head north to Tolaga Bay to see the historic pier and hike the beautiful Cook’s Cove Walkway.
- Venture to the Rere Rockslide for a free slip N slide courtesy of Mother Nature.
- Experience a Reef Ecology Tour and stingray encounter with Dive Tatapouri.
23. Belt Road Seaside Holiday Park
There are a few excellent holiday parks to choose from around New Plymouth, but the Belt Road Seaside Holiday Park is always my go-to campground when I’m in Taranaki.
The campground is positioned on a clifftop overlooking the ocean, and a lot of the campsites and cabins have excellent ocean views.
While its seaside location feels worlds away from a city, this campground is actually just a 20-minute walk (or 5-minute drive) into the New Plymouth CBD, so it couldn’t be more convenient.
As if all of this wasn’t enough, the campground also has oceanview spa pools for hire. It’s the best way to relax after a day of exploring the region!
I do recommend splurging a bit on one of the oceanview campsites, as they’re in the best location and, of course, have the best views.
While I’ve camped at Belt Road in my tent a couple of times, I tend to go for one of their camping cabins as they’re great value (and are also a cosy option if the weather isn’t cooperating!).
✅ Things to do near the Belt Road Seaside Holiday Park
- Walk or bike the New Plymouth Coastal Walkway! The trail runs right below the campground. Contact Chaddy’s Charter’s for bike hire.
- Climb up Paritutu Rock.
- Surf or hang out at Back Beach.
- Eat and drink your way through New Plymouth—I recommend Bleached Coffee, Billow Bakery, and Shining Peak Brewing.
- Wander through the lush gardens at Pukekura Park.
- Day trip to Egmont National Park and hike the Dawsons Falls and Wilkies Pools Loop.
24. Waipatiki Beach Holiday Park
While there are lots of options for camping in Hawkes Bay, the Waipatiki Beach Holiday Park is my top campground in the area.
Located 35km north of Napier, this campground is set right next to a beautiful, golden-sandy beach. It feels private, safe, and family-friendly here.
Many of the beaches close to Napier are pebbly rather than sandy, and aren’t safe for swimming. However, Waipatiki Beach has soft golden sand and is great for swimming!
Right next to the campground is a scenic reserve filled with Nikau palms, 600-year-old kahikatea trees, and native birds galore.
If you’re after a peaceful camping getaway in Hawkes Bay, I can’t recommend this spot enough!
✅ Things to do near Waipatiki Beach Holiday Park
- Hang out at the beach.
- Walk along one of the two coastal tracks within the Waipatiki Scenic Reserve.
- Visit nearby Tangoio Falls.
- Take a day trip to Napier, which is just an hour south of the campground. There are lots of things to do in Napier, including scoping out Art Deco architecture, strolling along the Marine Parade, and cycling along scenic bike trails.
25. Lake Taupō Holiday Resort
The Lake Taupō Holiday Resort is a tropical oasis in the lakeside town of Taupō.
At this Taupō camping ground, you’ll get to camp near a geothermally-heated lagoon pool complete with a swim-up bar—now how’s that for a camping holiday?!
Kids in particular will be in paradise at this campground—it’s one of the best family campsites on the North Island. There’s a lot to keep kids entertained, including a giant poolside movie screen, hydroslides, a pump track, and a games room.
There is so much to do around Taupō, too—you certainly won’t get bored!
✅ Things to do near the Lake Taupō Holiday Resort
- Enjoy Lake Taupō! Go swimming or take a scenic cruise to the Māori rock carvings at Mine Bay.
- Walk or cycle along the Great Lake Pathway, an awesome paved trail that skirts along the shores of Lake Taupō.
- Visit Spa Park for a soak in the Otumuheke Stream hot pools, one of the best free hot pools on the North Island! There’s an excellent disc golf (frisbee golf) course at Spa Park, too.
- See the stunning blue waters of Huka Falls. For adrenaline-seekers, book a Huka Falls jet boat ride.
- Enjoy a delicious meal in Taupō—I love Replete Cafe for brunch or Pauly’s Diner for takeaway burgers.
Looking for Freedom Camping Spots on the North Island?
If you’re looking for freedom camping on the North Island, I recommend checking out the free website called Rankers, where you’ll find loads of freedom campsite recommendations from fellow freedom campers.
Do keep in mind that in order to freedom camp in New Zealand, you typically need to be in a certified self-contained campervan.
🚐 Thinking of Hiring a Campervan for your North Island Camping Trip?
I recommend checking out Motorhome Republic to find the best deals on campervan rentals in New Zealand.
Tips for Visiting these North Island Campsites
- Peak camping season runs from the end of December through the beginning of February each year. In particular, the weeks between Christmas (25 December) and the first weekend of January see campsites packed to the brim.
If you’re planning to camp during peak season, make sure you book your campsite well in advance and be prepared for crowds!
- Some North Island campgrounds close during the winter months, so it’s best to check up on their website before heading out.
- If you’re tent camping, make sure to have a good waterproof rainfly and sturdy tent pegs. Nothing ruins a camping holiday like a leaky tent—or one that collapses in the wind!
- You can’t light fires at most of the campgrounds on the North Island, so please don’t risk it by having an illegal campfire! If you’re ever in doubt, ask the camp hosts beforehand (but like 99% of the time, it’s not allowed).
- I know it should go without saying, but please remember to dispose of rubbish responsibly and leave no trace of your visit when you go camping around New Zealand.
Thanks for Reading my Guide to the Best Campsites on the North Island!
I hope this guide has helped you plan your next camping adventure.
As always, feel free to email me with any questions, or leave a comment and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.
Want more Camping Adventures in New Zealand?
If you liked this North Island camping guide, check out my guide to the best campsites on the South Island!
Happy Camping! 🏕