In-Depth Guide To DOC Campsites in New Zealand: What’s It All About?

Exploring the beautiful natural landscape of New Zealand is made easier with the Department of Conservation (DOC) campsite network. With more than 200 available sites dotted around the country, you’ll find yourself spoilt for choice with a range of options from forests and lakes to sandy beaches. It’s easy to relax, enjoy and explore New Zealand’s magnificent beauty in any DOC campsite – all while being assured that these places were created by passionate conservationists looking to protect these special spaces for generations to come.

Our comprehensive DOC campsites in New Zealand guide has been designed to provide you with all the information you need to make the most of your camping trip. Here’s what you’ll find:

  • What are DOC Campsites in New Zealand?
  • The six categories of DOC campsites
  • 1 DOC campsite for all 16 regions in New Zealand
  • How to find other doc campsites in New Zealand?
  • How long can you stay at a DOC campsite?
  • How much does it cost to stay at a DOC camp?
  • Can you camp anywhere on DOC land?

Download your full copy of In-Depth Guide To DOC Campsites in New Zealand from the team.

Download your full copy of In-Depth Guide To DOC Campsites in New Zealand from the team.

What are DOC Campsites in New Zealand?

DOC Campsites in New Zealand are some of the most popular, affordable and enjoyable camping locations throughout the country. Offering a wide range of sites that are situated across a variety of stunning landscapes, DOC campsites provide visitors with enviable vistas and a wide variety of activities to enjoy.

Whether fishing at coastal campsites or tramping through the Waitakere Ranges, the DOC campsites have something to offer young and old campers. With an abundance of facilities and amenities available alongside these breathtaking environments, they make for an experience that is hard to beat.


Campervan rest stop

DOC Campsite Pass

The beauty of DOC Campsite is that you can buy a 30 or 365 day pass to access the majority of the DOC Campsites for little money. A 30 days pass per person costs ONLY $95/person and gives you access to the majority of the DOC campsites! There are a few campsites that won’t accept the Campsite pass yet even those charge less than $25/night for the majority of the time.

With a DOC Campsite Pass, it is easier way to explore and appreciate New Zealand’s natural beauty and national parks. Be sure to purchase your pass today so you can start thinking about where your next adventure will take you! With this convenient pass, you’re just a few clicks away from enjoying nature in a variety of scenic locations.

How to purchase and use a Campsite Pass

Important – if you are planning to stay only a few nights at DOC Campsite during your trip there is no need to buy a pass – you can simply pay during the booking stage for each night.

The five categories of DOC campsites

Serviced Campsites

Serviced campsites provide campers with a range of facilities and services, including flush toilets, tap water (treated and/or untreated, depending on the site), cooking benches, hot showers, rubbish collection and roads suitable for all types of vehicle access.

When using untreated water, it is important to boil it first so that it is safe for human consumption. Moreover, serviced campsites may also feature laundry facilities, barbecues, fireplaces, cookers and picnic tables – making camping a comfortable yet enjoyable experience.

Powered sites:

  • Infant (0–4 years): free
  • Child (5–17 years): $11.50 per night
  • Adult (18+ years): $23 per night

Unpowered/tent sites:

  • Infant (0–4 years): free
  • Child (5–17 years): $10 per night
  • Adult (18+ years): $20 per night

Standard Campsites

Standard campsites offer basic amenities such as toilets, vehicle or boat access, and a water supply from either untreated tap water or other sources. To keep clean and healthy, it is important for campers to bring their own soap for washing their hands. Additionally, if the water supply is untreated, it should be boiled before use or consumption to guarantee safety.

Standard campsites may sometimes provide additional facilities such as cold showers, Wood BBQs and fireplaces, picnic tables, a cooking shelter and/or rubbish bins. The range of facilities and services varies between sites, so it is important to check what a particular campsite can provide ahead of time.

Powered sites where available:

  • Infant (0–4 years): free
  • Child (5–17 years): $6.50 to $9 per night
  • Adult (18+ years): $13 to $18 per night

Unpowered/tent sites:

  • Infant (0–4 years): free
  • Child (5–17 years): $5 to $7.50 per night
  • Adult (18+ years): $10 to $15 per night

Note: Prices on the campsites can differ, and certain times of the year might offer specific rates – it’s advisable to check out each campsite.

Basic Campsites

Camping at a basic site is a great way to get away from it all and enjoy nature, but it also carries with it the responsibility of being self-sufficient. Some sites have limited facilities, such as toilets or water tanks containing untreated water – boiling this water is recommended before use to ensure safety.

Access to the campsite may vary; some can be reached by road while others may require a boat. Whether you prefer pitching up in an isolated spot on the lake or getting stuck exploring nearby trails from land, taking the necessary precautions for safe camping is important for any outdoor enthusiast.

Fees: Free

Backcountry Campsites

Backcountry camping can be an extraordinary experience, and scenic campsites are available to meet the needs of any outdoor enthusiast. At a backcountry campsite, visitors can often find toilets, a water supply, picnic tables, cooking shelters, or fireplaces for use along their journey.

Such amenities make backcountry camping more accessible and enjoyable for both experienced outdoor adventurers and those new to the activity. All that is needed is an appreciation for a safe and comfortable drive accompanied by spectacular views and engaging activities.

Fees: Prices vary – check individual campsite pages.

Great Walk Campsites

Camping is a great way to experience New Zealand’s Great Walks, with nearly 60 designated sites offering basic facilities such as toilets and handwashing sinks. Water should be boiled before use as some supplies may not be treated.

Additionally, many of the campsites offer picnic tables and cooking shelters to make it a comfortable stay in the great outdoors. Whichever kind of adventure you choose, there is something for everyone at these stunning outdoor locations.

Fees:

  • Infant (0–4 years): free
  • Child (5–17 years): $0–$16
  • Adult (18+ years): $5–$32

Note: In addition to seasonal pricing, there are variable rates for international guests. Check each campsite page.

More about Great Walks pricing.

IMPORTANT – if you have purchased a DOC Campsite pass no extra charge will apply for the majority of the DOC Campsites! The DOC website will advise which campsite accepts a DOC Campsite and which doesn’t!


1 DOC campsite for all 19 regions in New Zealand

Auckland

Akapoua Bay Campsite

Campervan next to Lake in New Zealand
Akapoua Bay Campsite is an excellent choice for family camping in the Auckland region. Surrounded by the sheltered waters of Port FitzRoy, the bay provides easy access to numerous picturesque walking tracks and attracts a maximum of 75 campers at any given time. Its beautiful pohutukawa trees create a peaceful atmosphere, and facilities on site, such as camp hosts, are present from Christmas to the end of January. Not to mention, a shop, wharf, post office, and fuel depot are nearby to ensure you’ll have everything you need.

Be sure to bring your own official council rubbish bags with you when visiting, as there are no accessible public bins on Great Barrier Island/Aotea – but these can be purchased from local stores or at the Auckland Council Service Centre.

Fees

  • Infant (0–4 years): free
  • Child (5–17 years): $7.50 per night
  • Adult (18+ years): $15 per night

Campervan hire rates

Learn more about campervan hire rates

Passes

The DOC Campsite Pass can be used at this campsite.

Reservations for Campsite Passes must be made online prior to occupying a site. If you do not pre-book, the campsite staff (if present) may take your reservation for a $10 service fee.

Learn more about Akapoua Bay Campsite.


Bay of Plenty

Hot Water Beach Campsite

Bay of Plenty, North Island New Zealand
The Hot Water Beach campsite is an idyllic getaway for those seeking an outdoor experience with a twist. Nestled on the shores of Lake Tarawera’s Te Rata Bay, travellers are invited to explore the campground and its naturally formed hot springs and adventure through the vibrant ecosystems surrounding the area.

With 30 sites of varying sizes equipped with toilet facilities, as well as a sheltered cooking area. Camping at Hot Water Beach allows both visitors and locals alike to fully immerse themselves in the natural wonders of this special place. Whether it be relaxing in one of the many thermal waters or engaging in activities such as water sports or bush walking around Lake Tarawera, there truly is something for everyone.

Fees

  • Infant (0–4 years): free
  • Child (5–17 years): $7.50 per night
  • Adult (18+ years): $15 per night

Campervan hire rates

Learn more about campervan hire rates

Passes

The DOC Campsite Pass cannot be used at this campsite.

Learn more about Hot Water Beach Campsite.


Canterbury

White Horse Hill Campground

Campervan in Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park
White Horse Hill Campground is located in Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park in the Canterbury region and offers campers an awe-inspiring alpine experience beneath Mt Sefton. Not only can visitors comfortably set up their tents or campervans with 60 non-powered sites available on a first-come, first-served basis, but they will also find a variety of walking opportunities from valley floors to mountaintops nearby.

The large public shelter offers tables, sinks, and counters to prepare food, as well as several stoves for use. There are toilets located throughout the campground, although neither showers nor running water is available here; visitors looking for showers should drive 2.5 kilometres to Mount Cook Village for access.

Fees

9 February to 25 December

  • Infant (0–4 years): free
  • Child (5–17 years): $7.50 per night
  • Adult (18+ years): $15 per night

26 December to 8 February

  • Infant (0–4 years): free
  • Child (5–17 years): $9 per night
  • Adult (18+ years): $18 per night

Campervan hire rates

Learn more about campervan hire rates

Passes

The DOC Campsite Pass can be used at this campsite.

Reservations for Campsite Passes must be made online prior to occupying a site. If you do not pre-book, the campsite staff (if present) may take your reservation for a $10 service fee.

Learn more about White Horse Hill Campground.


Central North Island

Whakapapa Holiday Park

Emerald lakes on Tongariro Crossing track, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

Whakapapa Holiday Park is an ideal place to stay as you explore the stunning Tongariro National Park, located in the Central North Island region. Camping facilities are available, providing guests with the perfect opportunity to relax in a beech forest and beside a mountain stream. Enjoy high-speed Wi-Fi, hot showers and more with your booking. There are also multiple hiking tracks located just minutes away from the park, taking explorers on journeys of discovering volcanos, rivers, crater lakes, and breathtaking mountain views.

Whether you’re looking for outdoor activities or simply calming surroundings, Whakapapa Holiday Park is the perfect place for an enjoyable holiday experience.

Fees

Powered or non-powered site

  • Infant (0 – 2 years): free
  • Child (3 – 14 years): from $12 per night
  • Adult (15+ years): from $22 per night

Campervan hire rates

Learn more about campervan hire rates

Passes

The DOC Campsite Pass cannot be used at this campsite.

Learn more about Whakapapa Holiday Park.


Coromandel

Booms Flat Campsite

Coromandel Forest Park, New Zealand - View of Standing Rockface and Landscape From The Pinnacles

Booms Flat Campsite is located in Coromandel Forest Park and Kauaeranga Valley, a popular and spacious campsite 6 km north of the visitor centre. It is one of nine campsites situated beside the Kauaeranga River and provides a great spot for isolation with fewer crowds than some other campgrounds. Visitors should come prepared to access water from the nearby creek, which requires boiling before it can be safely consumed.

Booms Flat Campsite also provides a pleasant atmosphere with its generally friendly campers, as well as stunning views, plenty of walking trails, swimming holes and abseiling opportunities. It welcomes dogs too!

Fees

  • Infant (0 – 4 years): free
  • Child (5–17 years): $5 per
  • Adult (18+ years): $10 per night

Campervan hire rates

Learn more about campervan hire rates

Passes

The DOC Campsite Pass can be used at this campsite.

Reservations for Campsite Passes must be made online prior to occupying a site. If you do not pre-book, the campsite staff (if present) may take your reservation for a $10 service fee.

Learn more about Booms Flat Campsite.


East Coast

Waikaremoana Holiday Park

Viewpoint on Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk, New Zealand

Waikaremoana Holiday Park offers comfortable accommodation in a serene, isolated setting just an hour and fifteen minutes away from Wairoa. The park can accommodate 115 visitors across their self-contained chalets and cabins, which offer breathtaking views of the lake. Waikaremoana is an ideal base for activities such as the Great Walk, fishing, hunting, water taxi, or lake cruises. It is the perfect family holiday spot or even a fisherman’s dream come true.

Travellers are welcomed by friendly staff who will make your stay memorable with amenities that sparkle with cleanliness and hot showers available after endless exploring, whether out on a bush walk or admiring nature up close. Make Waikaremoana Holiday Park your getaway from today’s hustle and bustle!

Fees

Details and rates for tent sites, powered sites, chalets, cabins, bunkhouses, tourist flats, and family units are available on the online booking site.

Campervan hire rates

Learn more about campervan hire rates

Passes

The DOC Campsite Pass cannot be used at this campsite.

Learn more about Waikaremoana Holiday Park.


Fiordland

Cascade Creek Campsite

Campervan in Valley in New Zealand

Located in Fiordland National Park, Cascade Creek Campsite offers views of both Cascade Creek and Lake Gunn. Here, you’ll find the opportunity to fish, swim, and enjoy water sports, or, if you’re more inclined, simply take advantage of the peace and quiet and kick back, bathing in the sounds of nature.

There are some excellent walking trails to explore here, too, including the Lake Gunn Nature Walk, where you’ll get the opportunity to spot birds and wildlife and loads of native flora and fauna. You don’t need to book to camp here, and spaces are offered on a first-come-first-served basis.

Fees

  • Adult (18+ Years): $15 per night
  • Child (5 – 17 Years) $7.50 per night
  • Infant (0 – Years): Free

Learn more about Cascade Creek Campsite.


Hawke’s Bay

Mangatutu Hot Springs Campsite

Campervan driving on road through forest, New Zealand

With its location in Kaweka Forest Park, Mangatutu Hot Springs Campsite is a popular destination for camping, picnicking and fishing. It is also a starting point for tramping, hunting, or day walks up the Mohaka River and into the stunning natural landscape of Kaweka Forest Park. This secluded and scenic area is incredibly diverse in its foliage – from exotic rainforest to New Zealand native plants.

Visitors to the campground find themselves surrounded by beauty and a sense of peacefulness and tranquillity. For those looking for an added energy boost, the natural hot springs are said to have an invigorating effect – providing a fantastic experience that can’t be found anywhere else!

Fees

  • Free

Campervan hire rates

Learn more about campervan hire rates

Passes

The DOC Campsite Pass can be used at this campsite.

Learn more about Mangatutu Hot Springs Campsite.


Manawatu-Whanganui

Ohinepane Campsite

Ohinepane Campsite is an ideal spot for those with a love of nature and the great outdoors. Located in the Whanganui area, this Great Walk campsite is one of four access points to the Whanganui Journey and provides a remote setting surrounded by rata, rewarewa, rimu, tawa, and kowhai trees.

Visitors can enjoy swimming (for good swimmers), and pet owners can bring their furry friends as long as they’re kept on a leash. There are plenty of toilets available for convenience as well. Look and listen for kererū, tūi and fantail during the day or brown kiwi at night – what a magical way to enjoy a camping trip!

Fees

In the Great Walks season (1 October 2022 – 30 April 2023)

New Zealand citizens and those ordinarily resident in New Zealand*:

  • Child (17 years and under): free, but booking still required
  • Adult (18+ years): $16 per person per night

International visitors:

  • Child (17 years and under): free, but booking still required
  • Adult (18+ years): $16 per person per night

Outside the Great Walks season (1 May 2022 – 30 September 2022)

For all visitors:

  • Child (17 years and under): free
  • Adult (18+ years): $8 per person per night

Campervan hire rates

Learn more about campervan hire rates

Passes

The DOC Campsite Pass cannot be used at this campsite.

Learn more about Ohinepane Campsite.


Marlborough

Rarangi Campsite

Monkey Bay cliffs in Rarangi, New Zealand

Rarangi Campsite is an absolutely beautiful location nestled in the Blenheim area of the Marlborough region. It has 20 tent sites, making it the perfect destination for a getaway. You can sit back and relax with a picnic or fish by the beach, or even go for a walk in search of Monkey Bay for a better swimming beach.

This campground offers clean showers and a unique soundscape thanks to the roaring waves of the nearby ocean. Plus, there’s nothing quite like having a cooked meal with friends while admiring nature at Rarangi Campsite! With its abundance of activities, this is certainly a place that I would recommend visiting if you’re looking for an enriching camping experience.

Fees

  • Infant (0–4 years): free
  • Child (5–17 years): $5 per night
  • Adult (18+ years): $10 per night

Campervan hire rates

Learn more about campervan hire rates

Passes

The DOC Campsite Pass can be used at this campsite.

Learn more about Rarangi Campsite.


Nelson-Tasman

Tōtaranui Campground

Sandy Beaches Anchorage Bay, Abel Tasman National Park, New Zealand

Nestled in the beautiful Nelson/Tasman region is the Tōtaranui Campground in Abel Tasman National Park, and it’s a perfect spot to come and enjoy some sun and relaxation. With the capacity to accommodate up to 850 people, Tōtaranui offers a variety of camping options, from beachside spots right near the clear waters and golden sands of Tōtaranui Beach to camping alongside the estuary.

The campground is divided into multiple zones for your convenience, with several modern amenities built into each block for your comfort. Whether you’re looking to have a refreshing swim, go kayaking or fishing, explore the native bush on one of the many nearby tracks or simply relax on the beach, Tōtaranui Campground is sure to provide you with all that you need.

Fees

9 February to 25 December

  • Infant (0–4 years): free
  • Child (5–17 years): $7.50 per night
  • Adult (18+ years): $15 per night

26 December to 8 February

  • Infant (0–4 years): free
  • Child (5–17 years): $9 per night
  • Adult (18+ years): $18 per night

Campervan hire rates

Learn more about campervan hire rates

Passes

The DOC Campsite Pass is valid at this campsite except from December 26 to February 8, inclusive.

Reservations for Campsite Passes must be made online prior to occupying a site. If you do not pre-book, the campsite staff (if present) may take your reservation for a $10 service fee.

Learn more about Tōtaranui Campground.


Northland

Maitai Bay Campsite

Maitai Bay - New Zealand

Maitai Bay Campsite is a beautiful place for families to enjoy themselves together. It is located on the Karikari Peninsula in Northland and has a beachfront grassy area where people can pitch tents or park campervans. The campsite is surrounded by pohutukawa trees offering shelter from the sun, creating a lush setting for campers. Snorkellers will find plenty of rocks to explore at either end of the beach.

Due to its ideal location, the campsite experiences peak popularity during summer times such as Christmas and New Year, school holidays and long weekends if the weather conditions are favourable.

Fees

  • Infant (0–4 years): free
  • Child (5–17 years): $7.50 per night
  • Adult (18+ years): $15 per night

Campervan hire rates

Learn more about campervan hire rates

Passes

The DOC Campsite Pass can be used at this campsite.

Learn more about Maitai Bay Campsite.


Otago

Kidds Bush Reserve Campsite

Lake Hawea, South Island New Zealand

Kidds Bush Reserve Campsite is located in the Hāwea Conservation Park in the Otago region, offering spectacular views of the surrounding mountains. Of the many attractions is Lake Hāwea, where campers can enjoy swimming or fishing. Campers are provided with a large grassy area with plenty of shade, supplied by mountain beech trees. There are no showers, but toilets and dishwashing facilities are kept clean and maintained. While it may be a chilly swim, it’s perfect for those wanting to wake up with an invigorating plunge.

The gravelled path leading up to the campsite is picturesque and provides visitors with photo opportunities alongside cows grazing nearby. At night, this serene setting provides starry views on clear nights. Crickets abound come summer evenings, providing soothing background noise until the cold sets in, and they fall silent.

Fees

  • Infant (0 – 4 years): free
  • Child (5–17 years): $5 per
  • Adult (18+ years): $10 per night

Campervan hire rates

Learn more about campervan hire rates

Passes

The DOC Campsite Pass can be used at this campsite.

Reservations for Campsite Passes must be made online prior to occupying a site. If you do not pre-book, the campsite staff (if present) may take your reservation for a $10 service fee.

Learn more about Kidds Bush Reserve Campsite.

Bonus Resources

Check out our FAQ’s, including costs & the latest rules to find yourself well on your way to DOC camping in New Zealand.

How to find other DOC campsites in New Zealand?

To find camping spots within New Zealand, the Department of Conservation (DOC) provides an easy way to do this. Through its database, you can look up information on over 200 campsites. To help access this resource, DOC’s website makes it convenient and straightforward to search for information about campsites in particular areas or regions in no time. Furthermore, a variety of other helpful information can also be found on their website such as things like trail conditions, available facilities and more.

With the amount of campsites available to choose from and the possibility of added insights while planning your camping trip, DOC definitely offers a great solution in finding these special places around New Zealand.

Check out our campervan hire options across New Zealand.

How long can you stay at a DOC campsite?

The Department of Conservation (DOC) Campsite Pass provides access to many DOC campsites across the country. With this pass, you can stay for up to seven nights within a thirty day period at each individual campsite. However, it is important to note that the pass cannot be used as a season pass at one particular campground; if you wish to extend your stay, you will need to pay the standard rate for any additional nights up to the maximum allowed at that particular camping site.

How much does it cost to stay at a DOC camp?

The cost of staying at a DOC camp is varied and flexible, depending on the type and location of the campsite. There are a range of prices based upon what category the campsite belongs to, such as general camps, service sites, alpine passes and conservation parks. Each comes with their own unique fee structure that needs to be taken into consideration when booking.

All further information can be found on the DOC website if you’re looking for an economical but still enjoyable camping trip for your next vacation.

Can you camp anywhere on DOC land?

Camping on Conservation Department land (DOC land) is generally allowed. However, camping in certain locations may be prohibited as they are subject to specific rules, such as those protecting important Māori burial sites (urupa) or endangered species of plants and animals.

In addition, it is not permitted to camp on DOC reserves unless there are signs that explicitly allow it. Therefore, familiarising yourself with the regulations prior to embarking on a camping trip is essential in ensuring an enjoyable and most importantly, legal experience.

Our comprehensive DOC guide Zealand has all this information & more! Download the guide today, and, if you haven’t booked yet check out our campervan rental page to start your journey around New Zealand!

Download your full copy of In-Depth Guide To DOC Campsites in New Zealand from the team.

Download your full copy of In-Depth Guide To DOC Campsites in New Zealand from the team.

About the Author

Bastian Graf

Bastian is the Sales & Marketing Manager here at Travellers Autobarn. He holds a Master of Commerce in Marketing and International Business Management, and 20+ years experience in campervan hire, road trips and travel.

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