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11 Whangarei District great camping grounds: travel guide

Otamure Bay (Whananaki) campsite @DoC

Whangarei is a family favourite for many kiwis. It is recommended forward bookings are arranged for the peak summer season. There are several beach front locations ideal for families or to indulge in diving at the Poor Knights Island. River estuaries are a favourite for their shallow safe swimming and fishing is a perennial favoured pastime. There is always the option of a deck chair and a good book to while away the day.

Whangarei Top10 Holiday Park

A great location bordering Parihaka Scenic Reserve. With large native bush-clad hills as our backdrop and the city traffic noise is minimised. The holiday park is 2 km from the city centre and marina. Powered, non-powered sites, cabins, chalets and motels. Pet friendly, conditions apply.

What to do nearby Whangarei Top10 Holiday Park:

  • Adventure Forest, with 0 tree-top challenge courses packed with thrill, fun and action. There are circuits for all ages and abilities, with countless obstacles and of course lots of flying foxes: wire traverses, tight ropes, exciting swings, treacherous nets, wobbly bridges, zip-lines
  • Botanica Whangarei, New Zealand’s largest public collection of native ferns. Conservatory contains tropical plants and vibrant flower displays. Open 10am- 4pm
  • Hatea Riverwalk exploring the heart of the city
Whangarei TOP 10 Holiday Park, New Zealand @WhangareiNZ. com Whangarei TOP 10 Holiday Park @WhangareiNZ. com
Whangarei TOP 10 Holiday Park, New Zealand @Booking Whangarei TOP 10 Holiday Park @Booking
Whangarei Central Holiday Park

Whangarei Central Holiday Park, is located in an inner city suburb. Transport would be required to access marina activities. The park has an excellent up to date playground. Powered, non-powered sites, cabins, chalets and motels. Pet friendly, conditions apply. To inquire further or book check out Whangarei Central Holiday Park. Pet friendly conditions apply.

  • Whale Bay is a sheltered white sand beach, great for a family picnic with shallow water, toilet and picnic facilities.
  • Woolley’s Bay and Sandy Bay are well known as great surf spots.
  • Matapouri Bay is also a spectacular beach, with white sand and just a 20 minute bush / beach walk from Whale Bay.
@whangareicentral @whangareicentral
@whangareicentral @whangareicentral
@whangareicentral @whangareicentral
Whangarei Falls Holiday Park

Whangarei Falls Holiday Park location is 5 km from the city centre. Adjacent to iconic Whangarei Falls and scenic bush tracks are a two-minute walk away from the holiday park. Local shops and bus stops are nearby. Powered sites and standard cabins with shared toilets in a central block. There is a public swimming pool on site. To book or find out more check out Whangarei Falls Holiday Park – Budget Accommodation.

What to do nearby Whangarei Falls Holiday Park:

  • Whangarei Falls walking track
  • Explore Abby Caves
  • Visit Claphams Clock Museum
@whangareifalls @whangareifalls
@Whangarei Falls Holiday Park and YHA Backpackers @Whangarei Falls Holiday Park and YHA Backpackers
Blue Heron Holiday Park

If you want a waterfront location Blue Heron is situated on its own private peninsula. Named for the birds who nest in our 200-year-old Pohutukawa trees, the park sits on a private peninsula on the shores of the Whangarei Harbour. It is a nature lovers’ haven with abundant bird life, including herons, tuis, spoonbills, and rosellas, and marine life. Powered, non-powered sites, cabins, chalets and standard motel style accommodation. Pet friendly conditions apply. For booking details or further information check out Blue Heron Waterfront Holiday Park.

What to do nearby Blue Heron Holiday Park:

  • Go fishing…snapper, trevalli, kingfish, kawhai, terakihi – either fish from the shore or take a boat out on the beautiful Whangarei Harbour. Use the boat ramp on site, or the boat launching facilities adjacent. Fish cleaning table on the water’s edge.
  • Chill out and relax in the extensive grounds of the holiday park and listen to the bird song
  • Check out local Parua Bay Tavern.Tie up at the wharf, and refresh yourself in this historic pub, originally a dairy factory, and converted to a hotel in the 1940s, or enjoy some of the local catch stone-grilled to perfection. For an evening out, enquire about their shuttle service.
Blue Heron Holiday Park @TripAdvisor Blue Heron Holiday Park @TripAdvisor
Blue Heron Holiday Park @Amh G Blue Heron Holiday Park @Amh G
Ruakaka Beach Holiday Park

A glorious location on the Ruakaka estuary. There are 13 hectares of camp park on the peninsula making the park one of the largest campsites in New Zealand with 264 power sites, 80 non-powered sites and 9 backpacker cabins. A number of sites offer stunning views of the estuary and sea views, some with the water right at the edge of your site. The camping grounds have the spirit of a temporary village. Think of a school playground atmosphere. For booking details or further information check out Ruakaka Beach Holiday Park – The best family camp in the North! No pets allowed.

What to do nearby Ruakaka Beach Holiday Park:

  • Diving Hen and Chicken Island marine reserve
  • Cast fishing from the extensive Ruakaka beach
  • Paddle in the river estuary and bird watch from the shorebird reserve
@motorcamp @motorcamp
@motorcamp @motorcamp
Waipu Cove Holiday Park

Located on Bream Bay a beachside temporary village with powered, non-powered sites, cabins, chalets and motel units. A well established camping ground with two playgrounds situated within metres of the sandy beach. Another perfect playground for children. For booking details or further information check out Beachfront Accommodation.

What to do nearby:

  • Explore Waipu heritage museum
  • Picnic at Pipora Falls
  • Order fish n chips from local cafe and watch the sunset
@campwaipucove @campwaipucove
@campwaipucove @campwaipucove
Tutukaka Holiday Park

Location is metres away from the Tutukaka Marine precinct and boat ramps. The park has 0 powered sites (some with grey water & sewage connections), 2 En-suite Cabins (Tea & Toast making facilities), 4 Self Contained two room Cabins, 4 Studio Self Contained Cabins, 6 Standard Cabins, 2×12 Person Bunkrooms, 50 Tent Sites both powered and non-powered. No pets allowed. The park facilities at peak season is sometimes an issue with not enough space for communal living however there are scenic bush walks as part of the campgrounds. For divers there are facilities for the cleaning and drying area for our dive gear, that was secure and lockable.

What to do nearby Tutukaka Holiday Park:

  • Deep sea fishing charters
  • Dive Poor Knights Island
  • Whangaumu Bay exploration, At the far end of the bay a walking track climbs the hill for a good view of the Ngunguru entrance and the sand spit. At low water you can walk to Ngunguru. Fishing from the rocks.
Tutukaka Holiday Park, New Zealand @PaulHarvey Tutukaka Holiday Park @PaulHarvey
Tutukaka Holiday Park @Laurenw378 Tutukaka Holiday Park @Laurenw378
Nikau Bay Camp

Waterfront camping on the Ngunguru River. A classic camping ground with non-powered sites in a boutique camp site. There is a kitchen garden for guests, kayaks for river trips and a moored pontoon for kids to jump off. For booking details or for further information check out Nikau Bay Camp. No pets allowed.

  • Goat Island is not an Island but joined by a stunning sandy beach and wilderness that can only be reached by a 50 minute bush/beach walk from Nikau Bay
  • Ngunguru Sandspit. Located next door to Ngunguru Sandspit; a unique 83ha coastal wilderness reserve, graced with 1.6 kms of spectacular, safe ocean beach swimming just 15 minutes walk from Nikau Bay
  • Jumping into a river from the pontoon
@nikaubay @nikaubay
@nikaubay @nikaubay
Treasure Island Camping and Caravan Park

The park is located at Pataua South (half an hour from Whangarei), on Northland’s east coast. The park really was an island, until, by the process of accretion, it became possible to drive vehicles across to it. Treasure Island features a safe lagoon, ideal for young children; and two excellent golden sand beaches where you can swim at any time of the day. Classic camping grounds with  85 powered sites and 65 camping sites. It has two ablution blocks with 10 showers and 14 toilets. No pets allowed. For booking or further information check out Treasure Island Camping and Caravan Park.

What to do nearby:

  • Whangarei Heads walks
  • Tahi Honey is 2km from the campground and their bush walks are open every Sunday
  • Pataua Estuary for paddling and safe swimming
@Treasure Island Caravan Park NZ @Treasure Island Caravan Park NZ
@Treasure Island Caravan Park NZ @Treasure Island Caravan Park NZ
Uretiti Beach conservation campsite

From DEPARTMENT OF CONSERVATION: Uretiti Beach conservation campsite, is between Whangārei and Waipu on Northland’s East Coast Waipu, Northland region for booking details or further information check out Uretiti Beach conservation campsite.


  • Hot showers are $2 coin-operated.
  • Recycling facilities available.
  • Camp office hours are 8:30 am – 9:00 pm. Contact Uretiti campsite on +64 9 432 1051.
  • Camp gates and barrier arms are locked from 9:00 pm – 7:00 am.
  • Camp hosts are on-site all year.



Bookings required


Shelter for cooking Shower – hot Toilets – non-flush Water from tap – treated, suitable for drinking Wheelchair accessible

300 non-powered/tent sites

What to do nearby:

  • Surf, fish or swim at the beautiful sandy surf beach.
  • Walk along the stunning coastal track at Mangawhai Heads, only a 20 min drive south
  • Explore the nearby Waipu Caves.
Uretiti Beach campsite @TripAdvisor Uretiti Beach campsite @TripAdvisor
Uretiti Beach conservation campsite @DoC Uretiti Beach conservation campsite @DoC
Otamure Bay (Whananaki) campsite

Otamure Bay (Whananaki) campsite lies almost 30 km north of Whangarei, near Whananaki North on Northland’s East Coast.



Bookings required


  • Boat launching
  • Shelter for cooking
  • Shower – cold
  • Toilets – non-flush
  • Water from tap – not treated, boil before use
  • Wheelchair accessible

130 non-powered/tent sites

What to do nearby:

  • Walk in the nearby Motutara Recreation Reserve
  • Walk Watkin Powell Track
  • Out on the headland there are several small, secluded beaches and some good fishing and diving spots.
Otamure Bay (Whananaki) campsite @DoC Otamure Bay (Whananaki) campsite @DoC
Otamure Bay (Whananaki) campsite @Seth Smigelski Otamure Bay (Whananaki) campsite @Seth Smigelski

Freedom camping regulations Whangarei District

Freedom Campers: Whangarei District Council bylaws. For up to date information check online resources. Freedom Camping can be a popular way to stay in the Whangarei District, especially in summer time. Because of the high demand for freedom camping spots in Whangarei (especially in summer) we have rules and guidelines for campers to follow. The rules and camping locations are different for people staying in tents, vehicles, or certified Self-Contained vehicles.

Our top 5 tips for all campers:

  1. Keep your campsite clean and tidy – leave no sign of your stay when you leave.
  2. Dispose of waste correctly – use a transfer station or dump station.
  3. Care for the environment, wildlife and public facilities such as toilets, signs and fences.
  4.  Confirm that you are allowed to camp in your spot – from the maps below, a sign at the site, a freedom camping ambassador, or an iSite.
  5. Consider other people nearby – share the space, keep noise to a minimum.

Where can you stay in Whangarei District?

Our Camping in Public Places Bylaw regulates camping in Council controlled public places in our District.

It does not regulate camping on Department of Conservation land or other privately owned public spaces (e.g supermarket car parks).

Please read the information on this page carefully. You can be fined $200 if you do not comply with the rules.

This page provides you with an overview of the rules for different types of camping and pdf maps of the prohibited areas and areas with designated sites, as well as a link to an interactive map with the same information.

Maps showing where you can camp are available on the online resource. To show locations check out Freedom camping regulations Whangarei District.


The journey is worth it.


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