Top 10 In New Zealand – We traveled around New Zealand by buying a camper van and spent five months touring both the North and South Islands.
Be sure to download the CamperMate app. You can find each of these campsites in the app along with more information, pictures and comments from other travelers. The app is also very helpful in finding public toilets, showers, wifi, places to do laundry, fun things to do, markets and loads more! The app will be your best friend while in NZ 🙂
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Description: The camp is located on Lake Mapourika with mountains in the background. The bathroom and laundry area were quite nice.
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Why it’s a favorite: Most campers went out to the lake for a swim in the morning. A misty mist hung over the lake, so it was always a surprise to see the mountains peeking through the mist every now and then. It was a beautiful place.
Description: the grass camp is right next to the beach with a view of the blue water and huge cliffs on the left.
Why it’s a favorite: The view from this camp is incredible and superb! The cliffs look like a castle. In the morning, the sand and water reflected the cliffs below. There were also huge sea lions chilling on the beach. It was a really cool place, a great place to surf and we didn’t want to leave! It was also close to two of our favorite places in New Zealand: Nugget Point and Purakaunui Falls.
Description: The camp is located next to Payne Fords Park with lots of rock climbing. The camp is like a parking lot, but the hangout areas and bathrooms are really eclectic. Plus it had a great shower!
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Why it’s a favorite: We enjoy rock climbing, so we got to try new routes in the park. We didn’t have climbing equipment, so we rented it at the camp. The community at the camp was really great!
Description: The camp is on a grassy area surrounded by a beautiful view of the mountains! The train goes through this area as well.
Why it’s a favorite: We got snowed one night. The next morning we woke up to a 360˚ view of sparkling white mountains all around. The view was stunning! We then hiked the Bealey Spur trail to the top of the mountain. The view from the top was even better!
Another night, we had a rowdy group of keas (mountain parrots known to be very cheeky) chase us out of our camp. They huddled under our camper and whined. We could also hear them biting the metal parts below. It was pretty funny, but keas were known to cause damage to cars, so we drove across the camp to another area and everyone followed us! The night was unforgettable.
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Description: The camp is a large grassy area where you sleep at the foot of mountains and glaciers. The bathrooms and sinks were also clean and great!
Why it’s a favorite: The view of the mountains and glaciers from the camp was stunning! We could hear the glaciers cracking throughout the evening. We loved this site because we were so close to some of our favorite places in the country: Tasman Lake, Mueller Hut Hike, Hooker Valley Hike and Lake Pukaki.
Description: Camps are located right on the beach with a view of the sea. There is a fishing and boating dock nearby.
Why it’s a favorite: The ride on the windy road was amazing and worth the mileage! The views of the super green fences, deep blue water and bright blue sky were stunning! The campsite felt like our own and we had an amazing sunset. Huge stingrays fished on the beach and we went fishing from the dock with new friends!
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Why it’s a favorite: This was a cool corner of the world surrounded by mountains on the way to Glenorchy. The drive to Glenorchy is a dream and we would love to stay longer!
Description: The camp is located on a grassy area surrounded by mountains. It’s a great place to stay before and after the Routeburn Great Walk.
Why it’s a favourite: We stayed here for a couple of nights and walked the Routeburn and Conical Hill tracks twice just to see the view from Harris Saddle. Harris Saddle is one of our favorite places in NZ! The second night when we got back from hiking, we saw the southern lights at camp! Unforgettable experience!
Why it’s a favorite: This area felt like ours and was much less traveled. The lake is a stunning turquoise color with the mountains as a backdrop. Here we met some great people who changed our lives. They invited us to their campers to hang out and we were sold. It was in this camp that we decided to change our way of life. We have decided to live in a camper in the US long term and continue to travel.
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Why it’s a favorite: The location is just a short drive from Wanaka and one of our all-time favorite hiking mountains: Roy’s Peak. We made some great friends here on site and even saw the eclipse through our moon roof at Bernie’s!
Location: South island | West Coast Region | North of the western harbor | Off of De Malmanche Rd
Description: The camp is a large grassy area on the beach with a cool cafe on the property. The pizza is highly recommended.
Why it’s a favorite: We watched the sunset from the camp beach and it was amazing! After sunset, we met other travelers who were hanging out around the fire pit next to the cafe. The next morning, everyone met again for breakfast in the cafe. Great location, atmosphere and great company made it one of our favorite camps!
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Camping is the best way to travel NZ! Buying one is the best way to keep costs low. Don’t know how to do it? We’ve got you covered! Get our step-by-step guide on how to buy a campervan to save yourself the money, time and stress of figuring it out yourself.
We cover where to buy, how to get cheap campsites, what to look for when test driving, tips for negotiating lower prices, what government forms to fill out, how to find free and cheap campsites and more. New Zealand is truly a country that can take a lifetime to explore. From lush, fern-covered rainforests to world-class beaches, to towering mountain ranges. A visit to New Zealand will provide you with a huge variety of activities, all of which are well worth your time. But unless you plan to spend decades exploring this special country, you’ll need to be thoughtful about what you see and do.
While each area deserves your time, here are 10 iconic sights in New Zealand that you really can’t miss!
Located in the far north of New Zealand at the tip of the North Island, Cape Reinga is known as the point where the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean meet.
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A short walk to the picturesque lighthouse puts you nose to nose with a place to “jump off”. Maori legends say that the spirits of the dead travel to Cape Reinga on their way to the afterlife, where they jump off the ground and climb the roots of an 800-year-old Pohutukawa tree to enter the underworld and return to their homeland. Enjoy the stunning coastline or head to the surprisingly massive sand dunes for some sand dune surfing.
Northland at the top of New Zealand is home to some of the best views and is still relatively unexplored by international visitors.
The coastal towns west of Auckland boast some of the most unique beaches in the country. This black sand beach can be reached quickly from Auckland, making it a popular weekend getaway for city dwellers.
Despite its popularity, the isolation and harshness make you feel far away from the real world.
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The Coromandel Peninsula stretches east of Auckland and offers the best combination of dense vegetation with rocky coastal roads. Pack your hiking boots and sandals for this special area.
The mountainous peninsula allows visitors to explore some of New Zealand’s best beaches, as well as some epic mountain walks through dense rainforest-covered peaks.
After a long hike, reward yourself with a good soak at Hahei Beach, where you can dig your own thermal pool and soak your weary bones if you hit the low tide.
Crossing over to the western side of the North Island will bring you to the base of Mt Taranaki, which is actually an active stratovolcano in Egmont National Park.
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A huge, perfect conical volcano, this area is fun all year round with skiing in the winter and hiking in the summer. If you’re experienced and fit, and the weather is nice in the summer, it’s a great highlight to tackle – or get smashed.
After you’ve had your fill of adventure in the mountains, spend some time exploring one
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