Sales & Marketing Manager
Kia ora! Welcome to New Zealand’s North Island.
Boasting beautiful untouched landscapes, ancient forests, and a diverse range of natural ecosystems; it’s no wonder North Island is on so many people’s bucket lists. If you’re making your way across the island, you’ll need somewhere to stay for a few nights — that’s where we come in!
We’ve pulled together a list of the ‘crème de la crème’ campsites in New Zealand’s North Island. If you’re looking for somewhere to pitch a tent, stay in a cabin or park your campervan — this list is for you! Save yourself time on research and avoid being disappointed by underwhelming campsites.
We’ve combed through the good and bad to narrow down only the very best places to stay. This is your new go-to list for the best New Zealand’s North Island campsites:
CAMPGROUND #1: Matauri Bay Holiday Park
Located just north of New Zealand’s famous Bay of Islands, Matauri Bay is a popular getaway for anyone who loves where the land meets the sea. Surfers love the uncrowded and outstanding breaks; swimmers enjoy peaceful beaches and crystal clear waters, and sightseers are blown away by incredible views of the headland and nearby landmarks.
Literally a stone’s throw away from one of the bay’s beautiful beaches is Matauri Bay Holiday Park. The park sits under the watchful gaze of the Rainbow Warrior Memorial — a monument to a sunken Greenpeace ship — and is around half an hour north of Kerikeri, the largest town in Northland.
The campsite has a number of useful facilities, including:
- A communal kitchen (+ BBQ areas)
- General store
- A small takeaway shop (open in the peak season)
- Petrol and diesel pumps
- Washing machines and dryers
- Toilet and shower blocks
- Fish cleaning and filleting station
What’s more? The campground offers both powered and unpowered areas for you to park your car, caravan or campervan. Plus — with a little over 100 sites in total for you to choose from — many grounds have beachside views! Or, if camping isn’t exactly your cup of tea, you might be more well-accommodated in a unit, ‘chalet’ or permanent onsite caravan.
You can check out the campsite’s website for more detailed information about accommodation rates and contact information.
CAMPGROUND #2: Urupukapuka Bay Campsite
Located in the Bay of Islands, Urupukapuka Island is a beautiful, secluded coastal island off the northern coast of New Zealand’s North Island; famous for its incredible fishing, diving and hiking spots. It is only accessible by boat or water taxi, which means that it remains relatively uncrowded and pristine, even in peak season.
Urupukapuka Bay Campsite is in a protected area with clean, flat waters — this makes it popular with campers who want to camp as close to the water as possible (we are talking less than 25 m from tent to shoreline) and particularly people who have their own boats.
It’s managed by the New Zealand Department of Conservation, so taking care to minimise your impact on the landscape is central to camping here. The campground has 60 sites in total, none of which have electricity or vehicle access — this is the type of campsite that you’ll have to leave your car or campervan behind, but boy is it worth it. The campsite is popular with loyal, returning campers for a reason.
Check out the Department of Conservation’s website to book your stay (you’ll want to book early).
CAMPGROUND #3: Matai Bay Campsite
This place puts the ‘North’ in North Island. Situated at the end of Karikari Peninsula, Matai Bay is a gorgeous hidden gem. The bay’s incredible waters are surrounded by lush hills covered in pohutukawa trees — protecting the landscape from harsh coastal winds and making the area the perfect place to snorkel or take out a boat.
A lack of online booking systems means that Matai Bay Campsite remains quiet most of the year: getting the best spot means getting there before everyone else. While booking ahead isn’t an option, the campsite does have a fee to stay there which helps cover the Department of Conservation’s expenses.
The campsite also has some old school amenities — so goodbye electricity, hello cold showers. More suited to campers who want an escape from modern life, there is still plenty to keep you occupied – including fishing, diving and bush walks (just keep away from the elevated parts of the headland as this is of cultural significance to the local Kiwi people).
Check out the campsite’s page by the Department of Conservation for