Auckland is a beautiful coastal city on New Zealand’s North Island. While the city itself is great and worth spending time in — it’s worth spending just as much time checking out the surrounding areas.
Auckland is surrounded by national parks, conservation areas, coastal town and mountain ranges, so if you want to explore these areas, one of the best options you have is to spend a few days staying in local campgrounds and exploring. There are loads of options available: from pitching a tent, to staying in deluxe cabins, to parking and sleeping in a campervan.
We know that nobody wants to spend hours combing through accommodation options, so we have narrowed your search down to 7 camps. These can work as base camps that you can return to after a full day of exploring, but a few of them are worth staying at just for the views and experience.
TĀPAPAKANGA REGIONAL PARK
Popular with day trippers and campers alike, Tāpapakanga Regional Park sits right on the edge of the beautiful Firth of Thames — a large coastal bay south-east of Auckland surrounded by lush rolling hills. At around an hour and a half from Auckland’s CBD, the area is popular with campers, fishers, sightseers and people who come to enjoy the many walking trails.
The beachfront campground at Tāpapakanga Regional Park is a popular spot among campers who want to enjoy a few nights of old school camping. If you have a caravan or campervan, this isn’t the spot for you — unless you want to park somewhere else and pitch a tent for the night.
While the park does have running water, gas barbeques and some pretty basic bathroom facilities; it doesn’t have electricity or anywhere to put your rubbish, so you’ll have to take all of your waste with you. The campground also has 40 sites in total (so it books out pretty quickly) and almost all of them have coastal views, so you won’t have to fight your neighbours for a prime position.
You can find out more about pricing and book your stay on Auckland Council’s website.
SCHISCHKA CAMPGROUND, WENDERHOLM REGIONAL PARK
At around 1 hour north of Auckland, Wenderholm Regional Park is popular for its bush walks, beaches and great picnic spots. The nearby Puhoi river is a great spot for kayaking and stand up paddleboarding, and hanging out on the shoreline.
The nearby Schischka Campground is in a great spot right near the water and isn’t far from the excellent Wenderholm Beach, with room for up to 160 people and accommodation for all sorts of campers — tents, cars, caravans and campervans all welcome.
This campsite is run by the local council and has a few basic amenities like access to drinking water, a toilet block and rubbish/recycling bins — but no access to electricity. Keep in mind, the park also has a few gas barbeques and great spots to have picnics.
You can get pricing information and make a booking on Auckland Council’s website.
TĀWHARANUI REGIONAL PARK
Located around 1 hour and 20 minutes drive north of Auckland, this regional park is part of the Tāwharanui Open Sanctuary which sits on the Tawharanui peninsula. The park is defined by its lush hilly landscapes, protected kauri tree forests, and gorgeous beach — right near the park’s campground.
If you’re interested in wildlife — and particularly birds — this is the campsite to visit! The Sanctuary is a protected area for monitoring rare and endangered bird species like the kiwi and dotterel, so if you’re lucky you might spot some during your travels. Since the regional park also sits on the edge of the Tāwharanui Marine Reserve, you cannot fish in the water. That said, you will probably be so busy exploring the park’s many trails that you might not even notice.
The campground can accommodate up to 290 people and has space for tents and a nearby area is available for caravans and campervans. As a protected area, you will be responsible for keeping your impact on the landscape to a minimum — there is nowhere to get rid of your rubbish, no electricity available onsite and you shouldn’t expect a lavish bathroom. While water will flow through the taps, you’ll want to boil it before you drink it.
Visit the Auckland Council website if you want to book your stay.
TAKAPUNA BEACH HOLIDAY PARK
Just 20 minutes from Auckland’s CBD, this popular holiday park is in the heart of Auckland’s North Shore. The area is great for holiday goers who want to get out of the city, but don’t want to be too far from bars and restaurants.
The park has views of Rangitoto Island, the site of a dormant volcano formed just 600 years ago, and the tranquil waters of the Hauraki Gulf. The park is right next to Takapuna Beach, so it’s popular with swimmers, surfers and paddleboarders — or if you prefer to stay out of the water, you can sometimes watch dolphins and killer whales in the deeper water.
If camping outside isn’t your thing, the park offers some reasonably comfortable cabins that are suitable for two people. For everyone else, there are both powered and non-powered sites for you to pitch a tent or park your campervan. In terms of facilities, the park is well-equipped — with communal bathrooms, a kitchen with fridges and stoves, and a laundry.
Check out their website to compare accommodation options and make a booking.
POUKARAKA FLATS CAMPGROUND, WAIHEKE ISLAND
Separated from the mainland by a 2-hour trip and ferry ride, getting to Waiheke Island from Auckland means putting in some extra effort. If you don’t have a vehicle, you can catch a ferry and bus across Half Moon Bay; or if you have a car or campervan with you, a Sealink car ferry can take you across the water, then you can drive the rest of the way.
Waiheke Island is a lifestyle destination. It has an incredible selection of beaches, vineyards and olive groves for you to visit — plus some of the most stunning coastal views you will ever see. While the island does have some premium accommodation options, the Poukaraka Flats Campground in the Whakanewha Regional Park is a popular destination for travellers on a budget.
The campground has room for up to 80 people and is mostly for campers who have their own vehicle, like a car, caravan or campervan. The campground is in the protected Whakanewha Regional Park and (since the island is so remote) there’s nowhere to get rid of your rubbish or electricity available onsite. There is fresh drinking water available, free gas barbeques and cold showers that you are free to use.
You can check availability and book a site on the Auckland Council website.