10 Kiwi Camping Spots for International Students to Stay at

Thursday, January 16, 2020

We’ve scoured the nation for all sorts of different places to pitch a tent in or take your campervan to. These are our top ten camping spots for international student to camp in New Zealand. This list is structured with campsites situated in the North and as you go down the list you get further South. 


Twilight Campsite, Cape Reinga – Free
This picturesque campsite with 25 non-powered tent sites is only accessible on foot and located at the Southern end of Twilight beach. When driving on State Highway 1 follow signs to Cape Reinga, as you near Cape Reinga look for the Twilight signs on the left-hand side of the road. It is an hour walk along a marked track from the carpark to the campsite. The camp is monitored by the Department of Conservation and facilities are basic, a non-flush toilet and rainfall water tap (boil before drinking). Here you can bird-watch, fish and explore pristine beaches and swim in warm waters in summer.


Taupo Bay Campsite, Mangonui - $42 per night
This family-owned park is 300m from a beautiful East Coast beach and has everything you would need available on-site; showers, BBQ’s, large kitchen, drinking water, seasonal store with basic supplies, TV room, book exchange and a common room with couches. On a hot day head down to the beach and go kayaking, snorkelling or surfing if there are waves.


Waipu Caves Camp - Free
If you have an RV or a rental campervan you can stay overnight in the large gravel parking area with public toilets and the cave is 100m from where you park. Make sure you take the narrow road slowly as summer is peak time, so there may be traffic. Bring solid walking shoes with good grip as there is ankle-deep water and slippery surfaces in the caves. We highly recommend a flashlight and/or head torch. Head into the cave and allow 30 minutes for your eyes to adjust and time to reach prime glow worm territory (you will know when you’ve reached it when you can’t see any natural light). In the third cave chamber your reward will be hundreds of glow worms. There are three caves to explore and if you head in at 5am you can beat the crowds that will gather later in the day. If you don’t have an RV, you can stay 30 minutes away at Camp Waipu Cove.


Waitoetoe Campsite, New Plymouth – Free
This spot, located North of New Plymouth on Taranaki’s West Coast has 20 non-powered tent sites and is only accessible on foot. The campsite is located 300m away from the carpark and accessed by a rough track. You can stay here for a maximum of four nights, there is a flush toilet onsite, but you will need to bring your own toilet paper. You can get water from a nearby stream, but it is recommended you bring your own bottled water. This is a great place to relax, walk over the black sands and swim in the ocean.


Bucks Road Campsite, Featherston – Free
15 minutes away from Featherston, this can be accessed by car or campervan. The site has 25 non-powered tent sites and toilets, while water can be found at a nearby stream. There is a river and a walking track to enjoy close by as well.


Butchers Flat, Blenheim – $8 per night
This grassy, flat, camping area was once a gold mining area. Turn off State Highway 6 into Wakamarina Road at Canvastown and follow it around 15km to the end. There are also a few great places to go for walks and mountain bikes nearby. Fees are paid to the self-registration stand at the campsite. Tap water on site is boil before use and toilets are non-flush.


Punakaiki Beach Camp - $18 per night
This paradise is located close to the beach, river, national park and pancake rocks. The camp is situated under magnificent limestone cliffs, making it a breath-taking couple of nights stay as you return to the campsite after a day of adventures and continue to enjoy amazing views. Facilities include kitchens, bathroom (flush toilets, hot showers) and laundry facilities.  As well as the activities above, you also have the Truman track, Punakaiki Cavern and the Lagoon walk that you can enjoy.


Little River Campground, Akaroa – $15 per adult
40+ tent sites across three areas, outdoor kitchen, eco toilets, a swimming hole and walking tracks, all situated along a river, this campground is a fantastic place to stay. From the campsite make the short walk to Manaia Native Habitat and pay $5 to walk through the Okuti valley and see native trees and birds.


Warrington Reserve, Dunedin – Free
There are three separate areas at Warrington. There are areas are for those camping with tents, areas for people with certified self-contained vehicles and those with non-certified self-contained vehicles. There is also a dumping station for rubbish, a portaloo that is on-site from November to April and a water tap next to where the toilets are located. The camp is also located just 20 minutes’ drive from Dunedin township.


Monkey Island, Orepuki – Free
This is a place right at the bottom of New Zealand with an incredible view to Stewart Island on a clear day and a great place to get away from it all. Freedom campers can stay at Monkey Island beach for up to 28 days per calendar year. At low tide you can walk across to the little island and take the short climb to the top of the rock using the staircase. There is a toilet here and recent work has been undertaken to upgrade the campsite. This is a fantastic spot to enjoy the ocean, dolphins, surfing and walking.


Please remember to take out everything you take in. Food scraps will attract vermin and rubbish should never be left behind. Fees at self-registration sites will usually need to be paid in cash, so make sure you have coins or notes with you – isolated sites often have honesty boxes. Campsites are often at full capacity in summer, so always have a backup plan that you can put into place if your chosen camp is full.

Who are iStudent Complaints and what can we help you with?
iStudent Complaints is an independent dispute resolution scheme established by the New Zealand Government. Our objective is to encourage swift settlement of contractual and financial disputes between international students and their providers in New Zealand. As an independent and impartial service, we are not affiliated with any Education providers. Our service is fully funded by the Export Education Levy and we can provide an interpreter to help if required.

Why did we do this blog?
Even if we need to step in one day to help you resolve a dispute, we want you to enjoy studying and living in our amazing country as much as we do. To that end, we’ve created this content so that you may continue to explore and experience the best New Zealand can offer.