9 places to camp in the Hokianga: what to do, trip guide
Hokianga is an underdeveloped tourist destination without the flush of motels lining the small settlements. The Hokianga has a number of airBNB options however camping grounds are few and far between. Ahipara is a gateway to Ninety Mile Beach and Cape Reinga. Northland is renowned for its warm dry summers making it a very popular summer camping destination. There is plenty of choice from rivers to beaches, from holiday parks to rustic classic campsites where there is not much except Northland’s spectacular charms.
A no frills camping location on a grassed plateau, surrounded on 3 sides by the Hokianga Harbour, with superb views. No facilities other than a long drop toilet. You will need to be fully self-contained as the only facilities are some picnic tables. There is no water, or power. You will feel as though you are camping in someone’s backyard with the stunning Hokianga Harbour as a backdrop. There is an honesty system at the small shed at the entrance Koutu Mangeroa Picnic Area Campers. For further information telephone 09 405 8387, Opononi.
What to do nearby Koutu Mangeroa Picnic Area Campers:
- Surf one of NZ’s classic surf beaches
- Explore shipwreck coast
- Check out Kohukohu art galleries
Opononi is home to a motel situated in a beachfront location. The motels are standard motel style. The rooms are clean and well maintained. The Opononi Motels are included due to the scarcity of accommodation options in the Hokianga.
What to do nearby:
- Jet ski with Awesome Adventures Hokianga
- Sand board the Hokianga dunes
- Explore the Hokianga harbour on a water cruise
Rawene Accommodation at Rawene Holiday Park, Hokianga Harbour offers powered, non-powered and cabins (ensuite). The location is picturesque with native bush and harbour views. The grounds are well maintained. Pets are welcome however not allowed in the cabins.
What to do nearby Rawene:
- Visit the puzzle shop, Simply Fun
- Check out Clendon Heritage House
- Take the ferry to Kohukohu and walk the heritage trail
Another basic camping ground with toilets, no showers and drinking water available in the toilets. There is non-potable water at the boot cleaning station. The Wairere Boulders Nature Reserve is a day where you can while away the day with walks and exploring the reserve. Kayaks can be rented with the option of a pick up at the Mangungu Mission House. Pets are allowed at the campground only, not permitted in the reserve.
- Kayak to Mangungu Mission House
- Explore Hokianga Sand Dunes
- Workshop with Maori carver on your own bone creation
Ahipara has some issues with unemployment and is a depressed economic area which is reflected in the town centre. Despite the lack of opportunities for the area visitors are welcome and there are local initiatives to encourage new ventures. Historic interest is the Ahipara Gumfields Historic Reserve, A DOC managed eco-reserve. Like other parts of Northland, digging and mining of Kauri Gum used to bring money into the area. Until the Gum ran out. Here at Ahipara there was never a wharf, and the ships taking the precious cargo away used to use the Shipwreck Bay beach, after it was carted to the coast by bullock and cart. Surfers should be experienced and not alone when they head out to this break, which is best in a north-westerly, can get huge in a southerly. If in doubt, don’t go out. Nearby Tauroa Point provides a well-known left-hand surf break.
This is also a good spot for kitesurfing, but again watch for the tide.
Among the bush settings there are powered, non-powered sites, cabins, chalets and standard motels. The grounds are well maintained and there is an extensive range of communal facilities for guests. The reception area is well seasoned supporting local tour operators who take visitors to visit the region. Take care with personal possessions. For further information or booking details check out Ahipara Holiday Park.
What to do nearby:
- Visit the tip of Aotearoa NZ, Cape Reinga
- Sand safari tour of the Aupouri Peninsula
- Horse trekking Ninety Mile Beach
AHIPARA BACKPACKERS AND MOTOR CAMP is kept in excellent condition. There are basic motel style cabins available as well as communal rooms and facilities. There are no options for camping.
What to do nearby:
- Quad biking Ninety Mile Beach
- Exploration of shipwreck coast
- Maori Art at the Te Whare Whiri Toi Gallery
Shipwreck Bay (Te Kohanga campground) is a private camp site. Very basic campgrounds with a long drop toilet, a cold shower and no power. For avid surfing buffs it is a perfect location for the dangerously spectacular nearby surf beach. Cash payment on arrival, first come, first served. Shipwreck Bay (Te Kohanga) is named after the many ships wrecked within this area. Ship remains are still visible at low tide today. Also renowned as a surf break, the bay attracts surfers from all over the world.
Norfolk Motel & Campervan Park is located 6km north of Kaitaia. Non-powered, powered sites, cabins, chalets and motel style units. For bookings or further information check out Norfolk Motel & Campervan Park.
What to do nearby Norfolk Motel and Campervan Park:
- Visit Gumdiggers Park
- Visit Te Ahu
- Deep sea fishing
DEPARTMENT OF CONSERVATION: Raetea North Side conservation campsite: Raetea Forest, Northland region.
Bookings not required – first come, first served
- Toilets – non-flush
- Water from stream
- 65 non-powered/tent sites
DOC online information describes as:
Bird and wildlife watching
This campsite is set in one of the last remaining lowland coastal forests. Look and listen for kūkupa (NZ pigeon), short tailed bats and parakeets. Kauri snails are present here too.
Have a picnic on the river bank followed by a refreshing dip in the crystal clear water. At times of heavy rain beware of the increase in strength of river currents.
Tracks and walks
The 9-10 hr Mangamuka Tramping Track is suited to the experienced recreational tramper and takes you through scenic Raetea Forest.
Know before you go
- There is a composting toilet.
- Mosquitoes prolific – take insect repellent.
- Always thoroughly clean your equipment (cars / shoes / camping gear etc.) before and after trips to minimise spreading invasive pests, weeds and diseases.
- Read the camp rules.
- From July to Labour Weekend, rocks are placed across the internal entranceway to the reserve leaving the internal carpark for those people wanting to stay overnight.
- No horses allowed at this campsite.
TRAVEL PACK INFORMATION
- Freedom camping in Northland refer to 15 Places to Camp in the Far North for details.
The journey is worth it.