If you’re a backpacker looking for a South Island adventure, look no further than Christchurch. As the region’s major hub, it’s got all the opportunities you need to work and play. The holiday parks in Christchurch cater to all forms of travellers with a generous mix of powered sites to plug up your campervan, along with campsites and hostels for those wanting some variety. Combine this with the perfect mix of hot summer days and sultry nights, you’ll be dashing off to Christchurch’s best camping spots in no time.
Christchurch’s top 7 campgrounds:
Formerly known as Meadow Park, this family owned holiday park has a rich history for travellers. For more than ten years Christchurch TOP 10 Holiday park has been welcoming guests from all over New Zealand, Australia and the world so you can bet they know how to take care of you! With 12 acres of space, you might choose to enjoy the indoor heated pool, private spa or NZ’s only snookball table.
For ‘campervanners’ visiting this holiday park, there’s everything you need for an enjoyable stay. Shower and toilet blocks (as expected), kitchen and dining facilities with ovens, cook tops, microwaves, fridges, freezers, TV, and a communal dining area. There’s a laundry, dump station, late departure option and car washing facilities.
Kick your Christchurch camping trip off by visiting the Top 10 Holiday Park website here.
Welcome to Christchurch’s closest Holiday Park to Christchurch International Airport! That’s the first thing you’ll see when you visit the North South Holiday Park website, so if you’re flying in or out of Christchurch, it’s the perfect base to set up camp.
There’s a great variety of accommodation onsite to cater to all types of travellers. At the more premium end you’ve got the Park Motel Units which are fully self contained and the Backpacker Units for those just wanting a bed for the night.
Due to being so centrally located, you have great access to all of Christchurch’s best activities and events. If you’re up for a round of golf, the Clearwater and Russley golf courses are just 5 minutes away. Perhaps something more breathtaking? How about a gondola ride over Christchurch.
If you’re planning a trip to Christchurch make sure you’re also checking in to North South.
Escape the city to enjoy the wilderness of Godley Head. Located just 50 minutes from Christchurch centre, this low-cost campground (also a DOC Campsite) provides breath-taking 360 views from the headlands. Ranked as one of the top ten New Zealand coastal defence heritage sites, this campground offers access to some of the top walking trails in the area, renowned beaches and historical buildings from WWII.
Note to travellers – amenities are basic including clean toilets & free drinking water. 25 non-powered sites are available and bookings are required.
If you’re looking to get off the grind and unwind, and take in all that mother nature offers, Awaroa/Godley Head Campsite is for you.
The ultimate holiday park for families, visitors and travelling tourists. Spencer Park is located within 20 minutes of the city and airport and has a stack of attractions including mini-golf, mountain biking, bushwalks, tennis, fishing and swimming.
The accommodation ranges from simple non-powered sites to two bedrooms self contained studios – and they can also cater for large family groups, school groups or sports teams.
They’ve got all your standard holiday park requirements like shower and toilet blocks, playgrounds and BBQ areas.
Spencer Park is perfect for travellers looking for a friendly place on a budget.
Another centrally located holiday park; sitting between the airport and downtown Christchurch, Amber Holiday Park offers low cost accommodation and camping choices. As the closest holiday park to downtown Christchurch, you’re a short bus trip to the city centre.
This family owned park has a raft of different accommodation types to suit every travellers’ budget from ensuite cabins, motel rooms and campsites. It also won the Kiwi Holiday Park of the year back in 2015, so you’ll definitely be looked after.
This quintessential beachside holiday park is your go-to for a summer escape. It’s a short 2 minute walk to the beach and set on 55 acres of parkland, so you’ll certainly certainly feel like you’re one with nature. They cater really well for families or groups of travellers with stacks of activities to keep you and the kids busy.
For the golfers out there, there’s two courses located just 10 minutes away – and for those with kids, Wee Dram Farm Park and Willowbank Wildlife Reserve are also close by to get up close with some local wildlife. Outside of that, you’re not too far from central Christchurch if you’re after more hustle and bustle.
Being located so close to the beach, we’d recommend Woodend Beach Holiday Park in the warmer months (Dec – Mar) as a great spot to escape with a group for a few days.
You can check the park in full here.
Located just a 20 minute drive from Christchurch International Airport, this idyllic holiday park is situated in a rural area with room to spread out and relax. Originally a church camp, the park has been restored to cater to all types of travellers.
Due to it’s rural setting, there’s several walking and biking tracks like Ashley Rakahuri, Mount Thomas, Glentui and Oxford Forest to explore throughout the day. At night, you can curl up next to a campfire to get ready for another day stacked with activities.
The camp itself is quite old, so be prepared for the basic amenities across powered and non-powered camping sites. For more, take a look at their site here.
If you’re travelling through Christchurch on a South Island adventure, there’s no shortage of holiday parks to stop off at or spend a few days with your feet up. With such variety located in and around Christchurch, there’s a place to stay for every type of traveller.
Being New Zealand’s adventure capital, it’s no secret that Queenstown is host to some incredible views.
If you’re planning to visit this amazing location– choosing accommodation that offers the best value-for-money in an optimal spot can often seem difficult. No worries though, that’s why we’re here!
Let’s unearth Queenstown’s top 7 camping grounds for 2020, and explore the best facilities and activities along the way:
This first location is perfect if you don’t want to feel too remote — it’s close to shops, attractions and activities — and it’s only 400 metres from the centre of town.
The site offers a combination of powered and unpowered sites, and is designed to fit campervans and tents right beside the panoramic view of Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkables’ Mountain range.
If that hasn’t convinced you, Queenstown Lakeview Holiday Park also provides an extensive range of facilities, so let’s run through a few options included in your stay:
Planning to visit Queenstown soon? Check out the campground’s accommodation for more information on availability and local attractions.
A bit eccentric, but a top site nonetheless!
Mrs Woolly’s Campground is the perfect pitstop if you’re heading towards the ‘great divide’ of the Southern Alps — Mount Aspiring National Park.
Like you’ll find with most of the campsites on this list, this spot is host to some incredible backdrops, with a walk to the lakefront only minutes away.
With 33 unpowered sites, 5 powered and 7 tent-only spots available, the campground also provides access to clean modern facilities and complimentary coffee each morning. What’s more? Each kitchen has access to extra pottery, utensils and fridges, so don’t worry if you can’t find that missing fork.
Given the range of activities available — both for kids and adults, don’t miss out on Mrs Woolly’s Campground on your way in or out of Queenstown.
Looking for something with a boutique feel?
Like most other campsites, you’ll find a communal kitchen, laundry, BBQ and free wifi available — but what sets the Queenstown Holiday Park apart is a range of luxury experiences (without being overpriced).
Start with a cosy wood burner for that cold night, or indulge in the site’s hot tub and movie room. Located a little further away than Lakeview Holiday Park, this particular campground also offers a free shuttle bus into town — which is about a 10 minute drive.
With a range of self-contained cabins, motel rooms and campervan sites available, check out the Queenstown Holiday Park if you’re heading towards the bottom of New Zealand’s South Island.
About 15 minutes north of the Makarora township, Cameron Flat is an ideal stop for your road trip adventure. Accommodating campervans, cars and caravans on site, it’s located right beside a river — offering a direct view of the Southern Alps.
Whilst facilities are quite basic, we’d recommend staying the night if you’re passing through the Western side of the South Island. You’ll have access to toilets, an undercover area and water — and for as little as $8 (NZD), you can pocket your savings for what matters most — the adventure!
Since this particular campground is part of the Department of Conservation, just bear in mind you’ll have to make a booking ahead of time.
Head about 16 minutes upstream and you’ll find Pleasant Flat Campsite!
Offering an incredible view of Mount Hooker, this campsite also offers facilities very similar to Cameron Flat, with 30 non-powered sites available for $8 (NZD) per night.
You’ll have access to toilets, shelter and water — and if you download the AllTrails app ahead of time — you’ll also be able to find some great tracks to take you along the Haast River down to Thunder Creek Falls.
Just like our fourth campground, you’ll have to make a booking ahead of time through the Department of Conservation.
On the outskirts of town – about 20 minutes away – prepare for the breathtaking views of Moke Lake. Here you’ll not only have the freedom to park your campervan or pitch a tent just about anywhere along the shoreline, but you’ll also be able to take advantage of some nearby activities.
If you enjoy a brisk walk, you have the option of taking two tracks: the first one — a 2.5 hour loop around Moke Lake, and the other — also a 2.5 hour walk towards Lake Dispute.
But if that’s not your thing, don’t worry! Moke Lake also provides access to horse riding, kayaking, swimming, fishing and mountain biking — so be sure to enquire in advance if you’re up for it.
With a private campsite, water access, sinks, toilets and an undercover cooking area, it’s perfect for feeling remote, even though you’re only a short drive to the centre of Queenstown. Our only piece of advice? Some of these campsites — especially this one — are available on a ‘first come, first served’ basis, so in peak season — plan ahead!
Alright sorry, we know — this last campground isn’t technically in Queenstown, but it’s only about 20 minutes away from the centre of town — perfectly situated for wine tasting, lookouts, or skiing at Coronet Peak.
With 140 powered sites available, in addition to self-contained cabins and lodges — it’s a great location to rest just outside of Queenstown, hosting shower and toilet facilities for those arriving by campervan, and a guest laundry and communal kitchen for all.
As we mentioned, skiing is one of the highlights! Arrowtown Holiday Park provides a direct shuttle bus to the ski club, but even if you’re not up for it, the view from the top is still spectacular. Closer to the park, the township also boasts some wineries, cafés and walking tracks to take up your day, plus some amazing eateries.
Looking for something a little more settled, but don’t want to miss out on the views? We recommend checking out the Arrowtown Holiday Park ahead of your next camping trip.
Now that we’ve looked at the best camping grounds in Queenstown, which site are you planning to visit in 2020?
If you’re going beyond Queenstown, be sure to check out the top campgrounds across the South Island.
Otherwise, if you’ve visited some of these campgrounds in the past or are unsure about anything, feel free to let us know – we’d love to hear from you.
When you think about New Zealand’s South Island, there’s no doubt that stunning mountains, starry skies, and spectacular fjords are what come to mind. The South Island is a nature lover’s paradise – and that’s why camping or travelling in a campervan is the perfect way to explore the stunning outdoors here.
There are plenty of options for camping and outdoor accommodation in the South Island – whether it’s pitching a tent, staying in a deluxe cabin, or pulling up and sleeping in your campervan. Because exploring the South Island in this way is so popular, there is certainly no shortage of options for places to stay. In fact, there are so many it can become almost overwhelming to choose! We have narrowed it down for you, with five of the South Island’s best campgrounds listed below.
Price guide: Paid campground
There’s plenty to see and do in Christchurch, the largest city in the South Island of New Zealand. Whether it’s the place you are starting or ending your trip, or you are stopping through during your exploration of the rest of the country, you will appreciate having a comfortable and practical place to stay when you’re in the garden city.
If lots of facilities and a convenient location is what you’re after, Christchurch TOP 10 Holiday Park will tick all the right boxes. Located about halfway between the airport and the city, you can’t get a more convenient location for camping in Christchurch. You’ll find everything from hot showers, power connections, BBQ areas, a heated pool, free WIFI, dump stations, and much more!
You can take your pick from all accommodation styles – from cabins and self-contained rooms, to powered and unpowered tent and campervan sites. There is plenty of space available, but we recommend booking in advance if you’re travelling in peak season.
Visit the Christchurch TOP 10 Holiday Park website to learn more and make a booking.
Price guide: Free campground
For the ultimate outdoor experience, camp at Lake Pukaki Freedom Campground, where you will feel a million miles away from civilization, in the best way possible. The campground is located less than 4 hours away from Christchurch, at the south bank of Lake Pukaki.
This stunning lake naturally glows a shade of turquoise blue, backing right onto the Mount Cook region, meaning you’ll have a clear view of the distant mountain range. It’s a real delight to take a tip in the cool water during the day, then settle in to watch the mountain horizon turn a shade of pink as the sun goes down. At night, you can witness the sparkling universe as you stargaze at some of the clearest skies in the world!
This campsite is a freedom camping site – meaning it’s completely free to stay at! However, you do need to be in a certified self-contained vehicle in order to stay here. There are no amenities at this campground other than a small drop toilet, so make sure you are prepared with all the water and supplies you need.
There’s no need to book or check in here, simply arrive and choose your place to set up camp. It can get quite busy with other campervans in peak season, so the earlier you get there, the better position you’ll be able to secure.
Price guide: Low-cost campground
Head to the South Island’s lesser-explored region, to the southeast point of the island. Here, you’ll find rugged coastlines, rocky cliffs, and stunning sandy beaches. Purakaunui Bay in the Catlins region is an ideal place to stay, located under 2 hours from the South Island’s second largest city, Dunedin, and close to other amazing destinations such as Nugget Point Lighthouse.
If you want to sleep by the beach with the sound of waves crashing onto the shore, you will love staying at Purakaunui Bay Campsite. This campsite has an amazing view of sheer cliff faces on the beach, which fur seals regularly come to the shores to play on.
Purakaunui Bay campsite is run by the Department of Conservation, so there is a small fee to stay here, and it’s based off a first-come first-served availability system. There 40 non-powered/tent sites on a scenic grassy area, with basic facilities including long-drop toilets, and water on tap.
Price guide: Paid campground
No trip to the South Island would be complete without visiting New Zealand’s adventure capital, Queenstown. This stunning lakeside town attracts visitors from far and wide, and for good reason. The mountain backdrop surrounding the town make it naturally stunning, plus there is plenty to do here from world-class dining, a buzzing nightlife, and every adrenaline activity you could imagine.
Stay at Queenstown Holiday Park Creeksyde for an ideal place to base yourself during your Queenstown adventures. This peaceful and serene campground is just a 5-minute walk out of the heart of Queenstown, providing quiet sites away from all the hustle and bustle.
Here you will find both powered and unpowered sites, kitchen, lounges, laundries, WIFI, sauna, and spa, plus the knowledgeable staff at reception can assist you in booking all your Queenstown activities.
You’ll be sure to enjoy your stay at Queenstown Holiday Park & Motels Creeksyde. Learn more and make a booking.
Price guide: Low-cost campground
If you’re route takes you across the west coast of the South Island, there’s no doubt a stop at Franz Josef Glacier will be on your list. The 12km long glacier offers visitors a rare opportunity to experience a dynamic glacial environment, in a temperate semitropical environment, and both easy round-walks or fully guided glacier treks.
If you’re looking for an affordable yet fully equipped place to stay during your trip, check out Orange Sheep Caravan Park. This campground is perfectly located, within the subtropical rainforest of Franz Josef, and just 5 minutes’ walk of several good restaurants and bars.
For a budget-friendly price, your stay will also allow you access to the grounds’ hot showers, BBQ, kitchen, free unlimited WIFI, drinking water, dump station, and more!
There’s no need to need to book a site here, just turn up with cash and use the self check in form. You can learn more about the site and get directions on their website.
Ready for the adventure of a lifetime? Get a quote on a campervan out of Christchurch and start exploring New Zealand’s incredible South Island soon!
Heading on a camping trip across New Zealand? It’s possible that you’ve started to plan ahead or have been given recommendations by friends – but what you’ll need to know is how to find top-rated campsites, trails and views, insider tips and how to respond to any emergencies (fingers crossed not!).
Here are the best camping apps for New Zealand:
Let’s jump right in.
No more camping fines? Yes please!
The Ranking Camping app shows you council-approved sites, so it’s perfect for a last-minute adventure, or if your trip involves a spontaneous pitstop.
As a huge advantage over other apps, Rankers Camping allows you to download grounds for offline use, giving you access to a range of nearby sites and points of interest across 2000+ locations. What’s more? You can save your favourites and ensure you’re getting the best spot possible – with sites backed by over 60,000 reviews.
If you’re choosing New Zealand for your next camping adventure, download the Rankers Camping app.
Collecting over 100,000 tracks, AllTrails is the ideal app for those that enjoy breaking their sweat and exploring the outdoors.
Backed by a community of 10 million travellers, the app provides an extensive and localised map outlining popular tracks and points of interest. Of course, you don’t have to sweat for each trip – but especially if you’re close to some of South Island’s best camping grounds, you’ll be able to browse popular trails and compare against a range of geo-tagged images.
Grab the latest climate information with live weather maps, fire history and air quality scales, save your favourite trails before you hit a higher altitude, and stay in the right lane with accurate GPS tracking.
Ready to make the most of New Zealand’s night sky on your next trip? Star Chart acts as a portable planetarium – simply point your camera at the sky, and you’ll find out all there is to know about our solar system; every planet and every star visible from Earth is all captured in the one app.
From the comfort of your own tent, you can use voice commands like “Take me to Mars”, virtually navigate throughout the solar system, and capture over 120,000 visible stars.
With the latest on camping spots and points-of-interest, the Travellers Autobarn app lets you find campsites ahead of time, or allows you to select based on your current location. You’ll be provided with suggestions on nearby facilities such as ATMs or laundromats, so if you’re in dire straits on an upcoming adventure – this app certainly has you covered.
As well as that, you’ll have the chance to interact with the community hub; add your photos, leave reviews and grab recent updates on local deals relevant to where you’re staying.
Once you’ve decided on a camping ground and you’ve settled in, your next thought is probably along the lines of – “what do we have to eat?”.
When you become sick from eating all of those nut-bars, Trail Chef is the best solution for cooking from your tent or campervan. Not only does it include over 60 easy-to-follow recipes, but the app also allows you to access the full menu without an internet connection.
Add your own recipes, categorise by dietary requirements and save your favourites for other adventures down the track.
So don’t worry, it’s highly unlikely that you’re going to be bitten by a spider or break a bone on your next New Zealand trip – but this app is ideal for all things off-the-grid. The ‘Offline Survival Manual’ is an intuitive but comprehensive guide for skills such as building a campfire or shelter, finding food or treating bites and stings.
We know it’s quite obvious, but it’s also worth mentioning that the app can be used no matter whether you have a data connection or not, so you’ll always be prepared. Explore different areas of survival across basic medicine, shelter, fire, water procurement, poisonous plants or dangerous animals – and yes, the list continues.
Going on a trip without a proper plan? You wouldn’t dare – especially in New Zealand.
The Camping Checklist app provides a collection of templates and quick ways to share your items with other mates. This app also includes pre-loaded checklists, which means you can quickly start to plan ahead if you’ve organised a last-minute getaway.
Don’t trust Siri when it comes to weather – particularly in the land of the long white cloud! The MetService app has been designed to warn you of severe weather changes, and provides updates for up to 48 hours ahead of time.
You’ll get real-time rain radars and climate warnings, customisable dashboards and access to live traffic cameras – absolute must-haves if you’re considering a trip throughout the south or north islands. Created by the Meteorological Service of New Zealand, it’s ideal for keeping up to date on all things weather.
Ok, so we’re not here to shelter you, but a first aid app cannot go unnoticed if you’re camping in New Zealand. The First Aid & Emergency mobile app, created by the NZ Red Cross, is designed to give simple, easy advice for emergency situations.
Broken down with step-by-step instructions, it’s an accredited app that lets you access guides without reception or an internet connection – providing advice for natural disasters or first-aid scenarios.
Learn, prepare and test your knowledge with built-in modules, and use it as a pocket guide in case of any emergencies.
Wrapping up the best apps for camping across New Zealand, you should now be well prepared for your next trip. If you’re planning on driving throughout your journey, be sure to check out the best travel apps as well – it’s packed full of tips for Wi-fi hotspots and where to pick up the cheapest fuel, so you can’t miss out!
Have some other recommendations for us? Feel free to get in touch – we’d love to hear from you.
You’re finally going on that spontaneous road trip across New Zealand.
You’ve saved up as much money as possible, got the time off work, and shown off your campervan booking confirmation to your mates. Now what do you do?
Believe us, being spontaneous is fun, but you’ll probably want to do a little planning before you go and find some places to check out when you’re there. Finding places to eat, sleep, get fuel and go on day trips can seem daunting, but finding these places (and saving a bit of money along the way) will be much easier with these 9 apps.
These are the top road trip apps for New Zealand:
Campermate is the personal guide to New Zealand you didn’t know you needed. From finding epic campsites, nearby petrol stations or the best bar in town, this app has you covered. It was built with New Zealand and Australia in mind, so it’s not short on detail and is updated with warnings and alerts in real time.
The most comprehensive maps app out there due to the sheer scale of countries it covers – 220 countries! You’ll have no trouble finding your destination with this app. You can save 120,000 square kilometres in the offline mode and seeing as though it’s only about 1,700 kilometres from South Island to North Island, you’ll have no trouble getting from A to B (unless, of course, you want to get lost).
Google Maps should be pre-installed on most Android devices, so if you’re on an Apple device, download it from their App Store here.
Grab the latest tips on camping spots, places to visit and sights-to-see with the Travellers Autobarn app. You’ll not only find campsites closest to your road trip route, but will be thrown suggestions for facilities like the closest laundromat or nearest ATM.
With the app’s very own community-hub, add photos of your trip, provide reviews to other travellers and get the very latest updates on local deals relevant to your location.
Not only is there a lot to see in New Zealand, there’s also a lot to do. That’s why you’ll want the locals guide to all the best events around town with the What’s Hot NZ app. This free download is your ultimate event guide for design, fashion, arts, dining and accommodation. The app also includes:
When you’re on the road, knowing where to fill up can make all the difference. With petrol prices changing daily, you want to be able to rely on an app that gives you up to date price information, crowd-sourced by it’s own users. Enter, Gaspy.
This petrol station locator app helps you compare prices from petrol stations on your journey and avoid paying too much. It keeps money in your pocket for the important things, like 15 foods you must eat.
Download Gaspy from the App Store or Google Play store.
If you need to get online, you want to do it quickly and effectively so that you can return to the road. To do that, we recommend Wi-fi sweet spots – an app which scans your location for the strongest wi-fi connection. This might also help in choosing your morning coffee shop to catch up on recent posts, or for reading the latest updates in your news feed.
Take in even more of New Zealand with GrabOne. This app offers some incredible discounts across local activities, restaurants or outdoor camping spots, and even let’s you purchase your vouchers in advance.
Better yet, you can filter your searches by location, price and category, so you’ll never be short of adventure – even as you inevitably come across some of New Zealand’ most instagrammable locations.
This road trip app contains the GPS locations of over 200 campsites managed by the Department of Conservation (DOC).
Whether cheap or free, these sites span the length of both the North and South Island, and the app itself contains some amazing locations which are saved locally – so no need to worry about losing mobile data or a wifi-hotspot.
Find the NZ Doc Campsite Finder app on Google’s Play Store.
The Outbound Collective is a community-based travel app, great for finding local adventures, or planning your road trip to visit as many places as possible. The app features personal stories on real adventures, amazing landscape galleries, and categorises trips by activity and season. Be sure to check out their guides on exploring Karekare Falls (near Auckland), and the Rakaia Gorge Walkway (near Christchurch).