Ah, camping. There’s nothing quite like fleeing the city for a bit and getting up close and personal with nature—or as much as a tent will allow. Let the sights and sounds of New Zealand’s nature slide you into a state of bliss while you hit reset at one of our city’s best campsites. Near, far, wherever you are, you’ll always be a stones’ throw from anywhere in Auckland.
Grab your tent and round up your posse, we’ve found the very best camping spots in Auckland.
A ten-minute drive north of Matakana, you’ll stumble upon Whangateau. The small coastal settlement has the best of both worlds: it’s not only peaceful and tranquil, but there is also plenty to do if you’re up for an adventure. We suggest you start the day with a trip to Matakana Farmers’ Market, then laze on Omaha Beach before finishing things off with a wood-fired pizza from Leigh Sawmill Café. Sleep off your food coma at the waterfront campsite at Whangateau Holiday Park.
You don’t have to venture far out of Auckland for an idyllic camping escape. Nope. In fact, you can enjoy all the bells and whistles of out-of-town camping just a stone’s throw from the big smoke. Simply pop on over the Harbour Bridge, take yourself to Takapuna Beach Holiday Park, and set yourself up for a few days of relaxing shore life. Here you’ll be treated to all the fine things beachside camping has to offer: sun, sea, sand and stunning harbour views. To top it all off, you can rest assured that you won’t lose a bar of cellphone reception during your stay, and you’ll always be within reach of the best bars, restaurants and cafes in Auckland’s North Shore. That, dear friends, is what we call having it all.
There’s another gem of a campsite waiting for you up North, and it goes by the name of Orewa Beach Holiday Park. Propped up at Orewa Point, this campsite’s top-notch location is what lands it on this list of Auckland’s best camping spots. Sweeping all the way down the coast, this beach-front campsite opens onto panoramic harbour views. It’s perfectly placed for a morning dip, is smack-bang across from a handful of lovely eateries and a drive away from plenty of the region’s other fabulous beaches.
West certainly is best, and the camping out this way proves just why. Touted as Auckland’s best surf beach, Piha also is one of the most idyllic, and quite frankly, best places to go camping in Auckland. For the ultimate beach getaway vibes, Piha Domain Camp is where you want to set up shop. You’ll be just a (literal) stone's throw away from the surf beach and Lion’s Rock, meaning you can squeeze in an early-morning dip or surf before the crowds show up. The fun doesn’t stop there—the campsite also features lagoon access, tennis courts, bowling greens and a kiddies’ playground for the wee ones.
There’s a lot to love about Waiheke. The vineyards, the beaches, the unbeatable island vibes—it’s safe to say Waiheke has got it going on. So much so, that it’s impossible to say no to a weekend getaway here. For the ultimate island getaway, book yourself in at Poukaraka Flats Campground at Whakanewha Regional Park. This charming spot is a good drive away from the main town sitting at the beachfront around, making it the perfect place to go for a beach or bush walk, kayak, soaking up sun rays or spotting local stingrays.
For a more rugged island camping experience, Motutapu is where you want to be. On the other hand of fellow island Waiheke’s boutique accommodation and Airbnbs, Motutapu’s camping offering is simple. There’s a lodge with camp cabins, or a nice big lot on which you can set up your tent for the night. Make sure you bring your food, water and the getup you need with you—there’s not one shop in sight, or on the whole island, for that matter. Just you, the island, epic views of the city and the surrounding sea. The nearby beach is perfect for early morning (or late night) dips, and the sounds of the gently crashing waves will sing you to sleep.
Drive a little further North from Matakana and you'll be rewarded with an absolute gem of a long white sandy beach and a campsite that well deserves a place as one of the best campsites in Auckland. Drive over unsealed roads to reach Pakiri Beach Holiday Park and put your feet up with a good book. Or maybe go for a horse-trekking adventure over the dunes. Alternatively surf, body board, hike or even fish along the 9 km of pristine white sand before retiring to your tent to fall asleep to the sound of crashing waves. Bliss.
If you fancy getting up close and personal with our nation's sea creatures, you’ll want to check out Goat Island. While there won’t be any goats milling around (a shame, we know) you’ll come across all kinds of weird and wonderful fish and finned friends in this bustling marine reserve. Nestled on 130 acres of picturesque grounds, Goat Island Camping and Accommodation is easily one of Auckland’s best campgrounds, and promises to be a dreamy stay no matter how long you’re setting up for. There’s everything you need to make the most of your stay here, plus some. Campfire, snorkel hire, even a skateboard ramp—you name it, it’s here.
Ah, Whatipu, you absolute gem of a spot. Drive deep into the Waitakere ranges, down winding unsealed roads and you’ll be sweetly rewarded with this remote and stunning spot. In true West Coast fashion, this beach dazzles you with rugged and raw terrain, black sand and impressive waves rolling from far back from the shore. The impressive nature doesn’t stop there, you’ll also find a myriad of caves dotted along the cliff faces for you to explore.
Shakespear Regional Park
Popular for day trips, picnics, and all things beachy among Hibiscus Coast locals and city-dwellers alike, Shakespear Regional Park is a camping spot to add to your hit list. Just over an hour’s drive from the big smoke, it’s one of greater Auckland’s best camping spots for a getaway that’s not all too far from city life (you’ll see when you spot the tiny Auckland city landscape on the horizon). We recommend setting up camp at the Te Haruhi Campground, it’s smack bang in the middle of the park and near the sights and sounds of the beautiful beach. Fish and chip spots are a short drive away, or for a hands-on Kaimoana foraging experience, visit the marvellously muddy Okoromai beach and get digging for pipis and cockles.
Seek out Auckland's best beaches, for an adventure you won't forget.
Image credit: Whangateau Holiday Park, Chris McLennan, Jordan Donaldson