With summer poking its pretty little face around the corner, it's time to start thinking about what to do with the soon-to-be days of sunshine, warmth and freedom. One word: camping. We’re blessed to live in a bloody beautiful corner of the world and our camping game is hella strong, so really, it would be rude not to get amongst.
We’ve searched the whole country for the very best camping spots New Zealand has to offer. There’s remote beaches, gorgeous natural reserves and something a little bit quirkier. Here are eight New Zealand camping trips to book now—these spots will be snapped up in summer!
Catlins Newhaven Holiday Park
Nestled down in the deep south is Catlins Newhaven Holiday Park, a stunner of a camp spot where you’ll be treated to sea lion, penguin and nature bird encounters. It’s set on Surat Bay and just a short drive from Cathedral Cove, Jack’s Blowhole and waterfalls that give Auckland’s a run for their money. There’s plenty of space to pull up a camper van or snuggle into a tent and the two-hour beach walk is one of the best in the country. Just promise us you’ll stay awake to get a glimpse of the night sky—it’s out of this world.
Nature-lovers, this is your mecca! A short and sweet 12km drive from Kerikeri is Aroha Island, a 12-hectare sanctuary and home to a wide variety of birdlife, including the super duper rare North Island Brown Kiwi. There are two campsites to choose from—the inlet beach or the upper bush—both perfect for kicking back with your crew or using as a base to explore to beautiful Bay of Islands.
We were a bit reluctant to let you guys in on this secret camping spot but it’s so magical, we couldn’t keep it from ya. This special spot is a bit tricky to get to (windy dirt roads) yet once you’re set up with a glass of vino and a cheeky B.Y.O cheeseboard, you’ll understand why Stony Bay is a slice of isolated paradise. The view is nuts and it’s one of the lesser known camping spots so you’re not sandwiched between other tents. There’s also fantastic swimming and kayaking as well as opportunities to spot some local dolphins!
Takou River Lodge
Bay of Islands
If the idea of camping makes you want to curl up in bed with your favourite mug and uber-fast wi-fi connection, do not fret. You don’t have to P.Y.O (pitch your own, you rookie) tent and heat up canned soup to be one with Mother Nature…you just need glamping. Takou River Lodge’s glamping tent is nestled in a corner of their 150-acre organic farm and is all sorts of beautiful. We’re talking a white canvas safari tent with a super kind bed, vintage kitchen and hot shower—yes please! The best bit is walking up to the sound of native birds but also being snug as a bug in your plush duvet. Check out our ultimate glamping round-up here.
Te Anau Holiday Park
Known as the ‘gateway to the fiords’, Te Anau is the place if you want a slice of Milford Sound action. Set across the road from the serene Lake Te Anau (the largest in the South Island, BTW), Te Anau Holiday Park is the perfect base for exploring both Milford and Doubtful Sound, as well as all the other beauty the area has to offer. Camping wise there’s grassed sites with 24-hour access to the lounge, kitchen, bathrooms and dining area as well as handy free wi-fi for those of you who literally cannot function without the interwebs.
Camp Waipu Cove
If you’re driving distance from this epic spot and you’re yet to grace it with your presence, then hop to! Waipu Cove caters to everyone from early-bird surfers to camping newbies who wouldn’t mind a strong coffee and cooked brekkie in the a.m. Camp Waipu Cove is home to 30 non-powered campsites as well as cabins and a nifty bunkhouse. Spend the day frolicking about in the water before tucking into a feed of fish and chips while the sun goes down. Really, though…what could be better?!
Totaranui Camping Ground
Abel Tasman National Park
Keen to explore the stunning Abel Tasman National Park? Good! It will be one of the best things you do in New Zealand. For a awesome camping spot look no further than Totaranui Camping Ground. This DOC-run campsite is pretty flash with excellent facilities and plenty of grassy patches to pitch your tent. If you’re thinking on making the trip, be sure to book in advance. From December to February, this special spot is always fully booked!
Katikati Naturist Park
Katikati (Bay of Plenty)
We get it. Sometimes you just want to be free and by free, we mean naked. Yep, Katikati Naturist Park is a camping ground where being in the nuddy is totally a-OK. Set along a swim-friendly river, this camping spot is decked out with a sauna, swimming pool, spa pools, mini-putt, outdoor chess and BBQs (just don’t fry bacon naked, please). Food for thought…
- The Dos And Don’ts Of Camping
- Glamping Getaways In And Around Auckland
- 28 Of The Most Amazing Glamping Spots Around The World
Image Credit: Fraser Clements