Local Escapes

9 Of The Coromandel’s Best Camping Spots So You Can Get Back To Basics

By Avril Treasure
14th Oct 2020

A person looks out at the water at Shelly Beach camp grounds.

Walking barefoot, listening to the sounds of nature, running around outside, reading a good book, cooking on a BBQ, playing a game of cards at night and drinking a cold beer—when you think about it, it’s hard to beat camping.

With stretches of picturesque coastline, secluded bays and lush bush, there are numerous spots to pitch your tent in the Coromandel Peninsula. Your days will be spent going on hikes, heading out for a kayak, discovering Hot Water Beach and visiting that cove.

All the campsites listed below are surrounded by nature, have adequate to good facilities and are a place where you can unwind, relax and get back to the simpler things in life—and remind yourself of what matters. Here are the nine best camping spots in the Coromandel.

Shelly Beach Holiday Park

Coromandel Town

Nestled in next to picturesque Shelly Beach is this Top 10 Holiday Park, offering a spacious area, clean facilities and a tranquil environment. By day swim in the shallow bay, go on bush walks or head out for a day's fishing. The beachfront park is a five-minute drive away from the Coromandel Township so cafes and restaurants are nearby, too. The best thing about this campsite however is the sunsets—tangerine orange and soft pink—best enjoyed with a DIY cheese board.

A lone tree at Stony bay, one of the best campsites on the coromandel.

Stony Bay

Northern Coromandel 

Get off the grid and spend a few days at Stony Bay, an idyllic campsite that’s situated 55km north of Coromandel Township. The spacious DOC site is right by the water and surrounded by native flora—so it’s ideal if you’re seeking a bit of time in nature. Be sure to pack a good book, your togs and your sneakers—there’s a scenic coastal track that will take you to Fletcher Bay—it’s around three hours one-way. If you’ve got a kayak, bring that too, and explore the rocky coastline and caves. This campground is pack in pack out—meaning you’ll need to take your rubbish with you. It’s also recommended to bring your own water, food, a chilly bin, as well as all other essentials—including wine.

Place settings at Hahei Holiday Resort.

Hahei Holiday Resort

Hahei

Stay seconds from the pinky sand of Hahei Beach at this holiday resort, which in our opinion, is one of the best campsites in the Coromandel. There are grassy areas to pitch your tent and beachfront caravan spots, as well as baches and villas. As far as amenities go, there is a large and clean kitchen, plenty of fridges, an onsite bar (yes, really), a fish cleaning area, a café to get your morning coffee fix and outdoor dining areas to enjoy a BBQ—all within a well manicured green space dotted with hibiscus flowers and pohutukawa trees. It’s a one-hour walk from Hahei Beach to reach Cathedral Cove—a must-do in the Coromandel—and it’s a 10-minute drive to reach Hot Water Beach.

A picturesque swimming hole at Hot Water Beach Holiday Park

Hot Water Beach Holiday Park

Hot Water Beach

It’s a 15-minute stroll from this holiday park to Hot Water Beach, a gem in the Coromandel and a place that sure is memorable. If you head to the beach within two hours either side of low tide, you’ll be able to dig your own spa pool in the sand, as natural hot springs filter up through the beach (in some spots the water can reach up to 64°C so careful there). While there is no cell phone reception at this this family-owned holiday park, it has clean facilities, lots of trees, a relaxed atmosphere, and an onsite shop for fish and chips—plus you’re in close proximity to the Coromandel’s stunning beaches and bush walks—so you’ll forget about your mobile in no time. 

An aerial view of Opoutere Coastal campground in the coromandel.

Opoutere Coastal Camping

Opoutere

A long stretch of white sandy beach, native forest, and an estuary— Opoutere Coastal Camping is classic Kiwi camping at its best. Located around 20 minutes north of Whangamata, there are powered and non-powered sites, as well as cabins at this campsite. It’s a three-minute walk through a pine forest from the campsite to the five km stretch of beach that’s great for swimming, surfing or going for an afternoon walk. Kayaking, stand up paddle boarding and exploring the nearby rock pools are other activities to do there. At night, pull out your camping chairs, a bottle of red and stargaze at a beautiful jet-black sky lit up with stars.  

Someone swims at the swimming hole at Coro Camping Whitianga

Coro Camping Whitianga

Whitianga

Forget traffic, work and worries at Coro Camping in Whitianga. This eco friendly campsite is set amongst private and lush grounds right next to the Rangihau River. More glamping than camping, Coro is already set up with all the gear, including a queen size bed, a fully-equipped camp kitchen and a deck to sit outside in the sunshine—just bring yourselves and food. As well as having access to your own river to take a dip in, enjoy panoramic views of nature, and if you do feel like a pint, there’s a local tavern 10 minutes away. This is also a convenient place to stay if you’re going to attempt the Pinnacles hike—the start of the eastern side DOC track is four km away from the campsite.

Waikawau bay sand dunes

Waikawau Bay Campsite

Northern Coromandel

Set next to Waikawau Bay in the Northern Coromandel is this large DOC campsite, ideal if you want to go camping with a bunch of your mates or family. Waikawau Bay Campsite has mostly non-powered sites and a few powered sites and an on-site store open in the summer months that serve milk, ice, bread, and ice cream, amongst other goods. It’s a short walk from the campsite to the beach where you can swim, cast a line off the rocks, and on a good day, catch some fun waves on a surfboard. You will need to drive down a windy gravel road to reach the campsite, but once you’re there you’ll be glad you came.

The gorgeous beach at Slipper Island

Slipper Island

Slipper Island 

This place is almost too good to be true. Spend a few nights camping in paradise at a private island in the Coromandel, that’s just 15 minutes away from Tairua by water taxi. One of the Coromandel and New Zealand’s gems, Slipper Island is one of the country’s few private islands. There are 20 camping spots available at the campsite, and it’s just $15 per person per night. You will need to organise your transport to and from the island—you’re welcome to moor your boat in the bay in front of the campsite located near South Bay. Alternatively, there is a water taxi service from Tairua for a higher cost. Get here quick—before the rest of New Zealand finds out about this place.

The beach at Fletcher Bay

Fletcher Bay Campground

Northern Coromandel 

Fletcher Bay Campground combines the best of both worlds—a stunning coastline fringed by pohutukawa trees with a farm backdrop. This is another DOC campground found in the Northern Coromandel and is popular for people who love water activities—it’s a beautiful spot to explore by kayak and to go diving, fishing and snorkeling. There are some great walks to do in the area, including the walk to Stony Bay on the Coromandel Walkway. Fletcher Bay Backpackers looks over the campground and is another accommodation option if you would like a bed and shower—but that’s not really camping now, is it?

Booked your campsite? Check out the Coromandel's best beaches

Image credit: Shelly Beach Holiday Park by The Coromandel, Stony Bay by Tahu Taylor-Koolen, Hahei Holiday Resort, Hot Water Beach Holiday Park, Opoutere Coastal Camping, Coro Camping Whitianga, Waikawau Bay Campsite, Slipper Island, Fletcher Bay Campground

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