Let’s face it—the Land of the Long White Cloud is pretty much the most beautiful country in the whole entire world. And, we Kiwis get to actually live here. Yep, pinch yourself, because we live in paradise.
And, what better way to soak in the sheer magic of New Zealand than reconnecting with Mother Nature and going camping? Yep, it’s time to pack up that tent, put on those boots and start an adventure at one of these top camping grounds that will literally blow your mind.
Urupukapuka Bay Conservation Campsite
Bay Of Islands
One of the Bay of Island’s most beautiful spots is the Urupukapuka Bay Conservation Campsite. Urupukapuka Bay is an island with a campground with a maximum of 60 sites. There’s also a local café in the area so you can enjoy some good food and coffee if you get sick of ‘roughing it.’ You’ll need to get a water taxi or passenger ferry to get to there.
Matauri Bay Holiday Park
Bay Of Islands
Matauri Bay sits right next to the more expensive Kauri Cliffs and (we think) has better views of the ocean. The campground is beachfront, on one of the most crystal-clear water and white sand beaches in the country. Looking out to the Cavalli Islands, this Bay of Islands treasure will have you relaxed and refreshed in no time. There are also plenty of options for exploring while you are there, including diving, fishing, day trips, hikes and walks. Enjoy!
Shelly Beach TOP 10 Holiday Park
One of the few places left in New Zealand where you can actually camp right on the beach, Shelly Beach TOP 10 Holiday Park is a must-visit for Kiwis and tourists alike. Choose from powered sites, or go back to basics without. If you're partial to camping without actually sleeping on the ground, this holiday park has just added gorgeous new glamping pods to their varied accommodation options. One thing's for sure, you won’t miss the traffic noise or high-rise buildings of city life. Here, it will be just you and your companions enjoying the serene beach that awaits.
Waikahoa Bay Campsite
Mimiwhangata, a coastal park near Whangarei, is home to one of the most beautiful camping sites around—Waikahoa Bay Campsite. This beachfront campsite will have you waking up literally seaside and, if you need some shelter, you can park up underneath one of the glorious pohutukawa trees. There’s no cell phone coverage, so you’ll be off the grid for a few days…bliss.
Maitai Bay Campsite
Maitai Bay on the Karikari Peninsula is a popular spot for boaties as well as campers. There’s amazing sea life if you fancy a little diving or snorkelling as you enjoy this spectacular venue. You can’t book as it follows a first in, first served philosophy, but don’t let this put you off. There are also a number of culturally significant spots in the area, so be sure to check in with the locals before heading out to explore. If you’re a keen hiker, there are plenty of walks and hikes providing surreal views and bit of appreciation for good ol’ New Zealand.
If you plan on hiking the Abel Tasman anytime soon, be sure to book in a few nights’ stay at the Totaranui campsite. Known for its golden sands and crystal clear waters, it’ll be the perfect place to park up on your journey. The Abel Tasman Coastal track can be accessed from the campsite, so it’s the ideal place to get ready for your big hike.
Opoutere Coastal Camping
If, like us, you’re in desperate need of a digital detox, then this remote and untouched campsite at Opoutere, Coromandel will be just what you need. Laying claim to be the Coromandel’s last great secret, with more than 5km of unspoilt white sand and tranquil waters, it’ll be difficult not to show it off to others. There’s a forest, beach and harbour to appreciate all of Nature’s beauty.
Okiwi Bay Holiday Park And Lodge
Okiwi Bay, on the western side of the Marlborough Sounds, is definitely one must-visit spot over summer. Nestled in a nook, the bay is completely secluded, allowing for a serene spot to spend your summer. Being in the Marlborough region, you’d be crazy not to try your hand at fishing, with some of the best seafood in New Zealand on offer.
If you've got the camping bug, be sure to check out our camping guides to Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington, Tauranga and Nelson.
Image credit: Urupukapuka Island by Michele Westmorland, Shelly Beach TOP 10 Holiday Park by The Coromandel, Opoutere by Dragan Keca