We’ve officially found our favourite campground for a getaway in the Coromandel Region: Opoutere Coastal Camping.
Opoutere is about 20 minutes north of Whangamata, on the southern tip of the Coromandel Peninsula. 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 dotted with shells and few footsteps. From the campground, it takes about three minutes to walk through a lovely pine forest to get to this beach heaven.
At low tide, you can walk for hours along Opoutere beach. 4 km to the north lie rock pools to explore, and 1 km south is a beautiful estuary and bird sanctuary. You can gather pipis from the estuary while listening to birdsong, or look for tuatua in the surf along the beach.
At high tide, you can go kayaking in the estuary—the campground has a couple of kayaks you can borrow, or bring your own.
When we stayed in Opoutere, we spent our mornings relaxing with books and coffee at our campsite, keeping an eye out for birds (we saw so many kākā here, it was incredible!). In the afternoon, we went kayaking and walking along the beach, and explored some of the neighboring areas. At night, we barbecued and stargazed with glasses of wine. Camping in the Coromandel (or anywhere for that matter) doesn’t get better than this!
We visited the campground in October, just after they’d opened for the season. It wasn’t very busy this time of year, but we’d imagine it can get quite crowded during the busy summer season. It’d be best to book ahead if you’re visiting in summer or during a holiday weekend.
Things to do near Opoutere
While you can easily spend all of your time in Opoutere, there are also some excellent places to check out nearby. Below are some of our favourite things to do in this part of the Coromandel:
- Grab brunch in Whangamata at Port Road Project. They have a delicious Scandinavian-inspired menu and stacks of excellent magazines to peruse over a coffee while you await your food.
- Pick up fresh local produce, eggs and honey at one of the many honesty stands in the area—there are heaps along the drive from Tauranga up to Opoutere. Bring cash and stock up; we picked up the best avocados, tangelos and lemons when we were here in Spring.
- Have a picnic and swim at Octopus Bay. Getting to this secret beach requires a small hike, but it’s the most gorgeous walk along the cliff tops, in the bush with stunning sea views. It takes about 30 minutes each way, and be prepared for some uphill sections. Access is at a trail leading south from the upper carpark at Onemana Beach. Remember to pack out any rubbish you bring in!
Our recent camping trip to this part of the Coromandel felt like a getaway to a secluded, tropical paradise. We left feeling so chilled out and happy, and hope you do too once you visit this amazing place.