Thinking about a road trip to explore the north of New Zealand? A North Island road trip is the perfect way to experience the best northern New Zealand tourist attractions and immerse yourself in the natural beauty of this island.
Camping in New Zealand is made simple with a huge selection of fully equipped holiday parks, scenic freedom camping sites and wild DOC campsites scattered throughout the island. We’ve created a list of the top 10 North Island campgrounds. So you can experience the very best the North Island has to offer on your upcoming New Zealand road trip.
The North Island is jam-packed with incredible experiences and views to last a lifetime. Here you can visit the glowworm studded Waitomo Caves, summit a perfectly formed volcanic mountain, and treat yourself to a pint of Southfarling ale at Hobbiton. With so many incredible things to see and do, hiring a motorhome and hitting the open road is one of the best ways to explore New Zealand’s North Island.
Travelling in a campervan is a sure way to make the journey just as jaw-dropping as the destination with a huge number of incredible holiday parks, freedom camping options, and DOC campsites to stop at along the way. A campervan road trip is perfect for anyone looking to travel New Zealand on a budget or to just see and do more with everything needed in tow.
If you are looking to go camping on the North Island, we recommend you download a road trip planner like the thl Roadtrip app. This app comes with a road trip planner to help you search for campgrounds, dump points, laundromats, and more. This can help you compare local campgrounds to see what campsite best suits your needs and budget. It also features integrated offline maps so that you will have your North Island road trip itinerary wherever you go.
There are plenty of gorgeous campgrounds and places to stay in the North Island. We have narrowed it down to the top ten low-cost, scenic and all-around iconic campgrounds. Let’s dive in!
Kapowairua (Spirits Bay) Conservation Campsite is tucked away on the north edge of the North Island coastline just north of Kaitaia. Set in the hills of the Aupōuri Peninsula, this scenic forested campsite is surrounded by sandy beaches to explore. The amenities available include: Flush toilets Non-powered sites Cold showers Untreated water (boil before use)
Cost: NZ$16 per adult/night.
How to get here: This campsite is a 5-hour and 30-minute drive north of Mighty Auckland.
Things to do: This is a perfect campground to stroll on the beach, go for a surf or grab a fishing line and try to catch dinner.
Hahei Beach Resort is the ultimate beach-front campervan campsite. Here you can treat yourself to an oceanside campsite and enjoy uninterrupted views of Hahei Bay and the islands of Mercury Bay. However, these oceanfront sites are limited and do sell out quickly. Ensure you book early to grab a spot. However, that's not all that’s available at Hahei Beach Resort. There are over 100 other sites to choose from around the property. Find a beautiful campsite next to the stream, under the shade of a pōhutukawa tree or tucked behind the dunes. Regardless of your view, you will also have access to the incredible selection of on-site facilities, including:
Cost: From NZ$64 for beachside campsites and NZ$54 for regular powered sites.
How to get here: This fully equipped campsite is a 2-hour drive east from Mighty Auckland.
Things to do: Head to Cathedral Cove and experience the temperate waters of Hot Water Beach.
Mount Maunganui Beachside Holiday Park is another beachside paradise with its main beach crowned as the ‘best beach in New Zealand’ by TripAdvisor. Nestled at the foot of the extinct volcano Mauao, it’s not hard to see why. Grab a campsite and soak up the views overlooking the harbour. Using this as your home base, you can spend your days hiking, soaking in the hot pools or relaxing by the beach. The on-site facilities at the holiday park include:
Cost: Starting at NZ$45 per night for a powered campsite.
How to get here: After picking up your campervan hire from Mighty Auckland, drive 2 hours southeast to Tauranga.
Things to do: Capture the beauty of Tauranga, soak in Mount Hot Pools, and hike to the summit of Mauao.
Tolaga Bay Holiday Park Holiday Park is located at the base of Mount Titirangi, 55km northeast of Gisborne. Tolaga is the perfect place to kick back and relax. We recommend grabbing a fishing rod and heading to the wharf. Extending 600 metres out to sea this place is legendary for its fishing. At the holiday park, you can feel right at home with the great on-site facilities, including:
Cost: Powered sites start at NZ$22 per night
How to get here: Enjoy a scenic 6-hour and 50-minute drive southeast from Mighty Auckland.
Things to do: Enjoy a stroll along the Cooks River Walkway and visit Tolaga Bay's historic wharf.
Napier is best known for having the most complete displays of Art Deco buildings in the world - so much so that you will feel like you are stepping into a 1930s vintage film set. Napier TOP 10 Holiday Park is a quiet, spacious coastal park to base yourself on as you explore this vintage town. Perched on nine acres of landscaped grounds, the top facilities on-site include: Barbecues Playground Dump station Free wifi TV/ recreation room
Cost: Starting at NZ$52 per night for a powered campsite.
How to get here: Pick up your campervan hire from Mighty Auckland and drive 5 hours and 15 minutes south to Napier.
Things to do: Enjoy a self-guided tour of the Sea Walls street art and stop at the local cellar doors for a wine tasting.
Waitomo TOP 10 is an award-winning holiday park close to some of the most spectacular New Zealand attractions. Spend your days basking in the beauty of the local glowworms and limestone cave formations, and then head back to the holiday park to enjoy the on-site facilities, including:
Cost: Powered sites start at NZ$52 per night
How to get here: Drive 2 hours and 15 minutes south from Mighty Auckland
Taupo Debretts Holiday Park is a beautiful campground located within arm's reach of the massive Lake Taupō. Come learn about the fiery origins of this region, visit the bubbling geysers, enjoy a swim in the geothermal waters and more, all from this centrally located park. While you stay, you will also have access to the on-site facilities including:
Cost: Powered sites start at NZ$32 per night.
How to get here: After picking up your campervan from Mighty Auckland, drive 3 hours and 20 minutes south to Taupō.
Things to do: Visit Huka Falls, soak in the geothermal waters, and visit the Craters of the Moon.
Belt Road Seaside Holiday Park is perched alongside the Coastal Walkway and is centrally located in town. Perfect for a relaxed seaside stop on your NZ itinerary. Choose between parking beneath shaded trees, against hedges, or oceanside with panoramic sea views from the clifftop. All sites have access to: Kitchen
Cost: Starting at NZ$27 for a powered site per night.
How to get here: New Plymouth is a 4-hour and 30-minute drive south from Mighty Auckland.
Things to do: Stroll along the New Plymouth Coastal walkway and visit Brooklands Zoo.
Waitoetoe Campsite is a DOC campsite set on the black sands of Waitoetoe Beach on Taranaki’s west coast. This simple campsite is the perfect place to escape the hustle and explore the natural surroundings. The amenities are basic and include:
How to get here: After picking up your camper from Mighty Auckland, make your way to the New Plymouth area. This campsite is located 35 minutes north of North Plymouth.
Things to do: Visit Whitecliffs Walkway, go fishing, and enjoy the local hikes.
Evans Bay campsite is located on the southern end of the Marina car park in Evans Bay. This site is a freedom camping site available to self-contained campers and so has no amenities. This is the perfect place to camp for a night to explore the vibrant city of Wellington.
How to get here: This campsite is located in the very south of the North Island. An 8-hour drive south of Mighty Auckland.
Things to do: Ride the Wellington Cable Car and discover the New Zealand wildlife in Zealandia.
The North Island is filled with lively cities, rich Māori culture, and geothermal wonders waiting to be explored. With a campervan, you can experience even more. Park up at these wild and scenic campgrounds, and see the wild side of this island nation.