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TRAVEL & LEISURE

The Ten Best Camping Getaways from Auckland

Summer's snuck up on us, making it a pretty ideal time to get acquainted with nature.

By Laetitia Laubscher
January 09, 2014
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By Laetitia Laubscher
January 09, 2014
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Summer's snuck up on us and with nothing but long days and warm nights to enjoy for the next month or two, I reckon it's a pretty good time to head over to a campsite and get well-acquainted with nature.

Criteria for this search was based on affordability, accessibility (nothing over 2.5 hours away), and most importantly campsites that had that x factor - having a tepee on site, kiwi and glow worm night tour, or the beach on their doorstep were some of the factors that made these campsites stand out. After a long slog of hunting through hundreds of campsites and asking bucket loads of nature-loving friends, here are the ten best camping getaways from Auckland. (dramatic pause)

1. Raglan

A well-known mecca of some of the longest left hand breaks in the world, Raglan's been occupied by salty-haired surfy gromits for decades. When you feel like taking a break from the breaks, try out one of the horse treks, walking treks or hire a kayak. Solscape are also known for their amazing breakfasts.

Where to stay: In a Solscape tipi, of course.

How much: Twin tipi $36 per person per night, double tipi $72 per night, family tipi (four person) $36 per person per night. Normal camping options are available for $17 per person per night.

Getting there: Driving from Auckland to Raglan takes about 2 hours.

2. Mangawhai

Located in the lower Northland region, Mangawhai is a bit of camping gem. Activity-wise, it's hard to figure out what Mangawhai doesn't have on offer - from bird sanctuaries to surf to bush walks to olive farms to diving to horse riding to - well, you get the idea.

Where to stay: Riverside Holiday Park

How much: $18-20 per night per person.

Getting there: It's an easy hour and a half's drive from Auckland by car.

3. Waipu Cove

Have you ever wanted to sleep on a beach? Or woken up to the sight of one? Waipu Cove's campgrounds are right on the doorstep of a pretty fantastic beach which is why their campgrounds get a #3 on our coveted list. They also have Wifi.

Where to stay: Camp Waipu Cove

How much: Powered sites $46, non-powered site $44 per night for two people.

Getting there: Driving from Auckland to Waipu Cove takes roughly an hour and a half by car.

4. Kai Iwi Lakes

Your quintessential 'camping' camping experience (or more of what you'd expect from an American boy scouts movie than your usual New Zealand summer beachside bach situation). The lakes offer many a waterside activity for those that way inclined - including water skiing, swimming, fishing, canoeing and windsurfing.

Where to stay: Pine Beach Camping Ground or Promenade Point. Be aware that facilities at the lakes are pretty basic - no kitchen or flushing toilets (at Promenade). Not that any of this stops the Lakes from being pretty darn popular over summer.

How much: $10 per person per night.

Getting there: A trip to the lakes is a wee bit of a hike - 2 hours and 30 minutes roughly.

5. Trounson Kauri Park

For those who like a cosy camping experience, Trounson is definitely worth a try. The 20-person campground is situated right beside a beautiful kauri stand where moreporks and kiwis roam the forest floors. There are guided night time tours to see glow worms and kiwis available too.

Where to stay: Trounson Kauri Park Campground

How much: $10 per night.

Getting there: By car it'll take you around 2 hours and 30 minutes.

6. Waiheke Island

It's the second largest island in Auckland's harbour and a pretty perfect camping getaway in terms of location, plus the ferry ride over is pretty scenic.

Where to stay: Poukaraka Flats Campground

How much: $13 a night, with a seven day maximum stay.

Getting there: Ferries run daily from 6am til 10:30pm and are about $36 return.

7. Coromandel

Better known as the bi-annual location of Splore, Tapapakanga Regional Park is actually a pretty kicked-back mellow campsite usually. Good for those times you need a quiet getaway.

Where to stay: Tapapakanga Regional Park

How much: $6-13 per night per person, depending on which campground site you stay at.

Getting there: The park is just under an hour's drive from Auckland.

8. Goat Island

For snorkelling enthusiasts (or beginners) New Zealand's first marine reserve is one of your prime destinations to visit. Gear hire from Seafriends is about $30 per day. It's an ideal place for a weekend trip, just be sure to call ahead to make sure the water conditions are clear. Another thing to try is the Leigh Fish and Chips shop, home to some of the best fish and chips in New Zealand.

Where to stay: Goat Island Camping

How much: $18-25 per night, depending on the time of year you visit.

Getting there: Driving to Goat Island/Leigh takes just over an hour by car.

9. Muriwai

For those who like bird watching (gannets, in particular), surfing and general beach activities, the black-sanded beach of Muriwai offers a generous helping of all of the above.

Where to stay: Muriwai Beach Motor Camp

How much: $14 per night per adult.

Getting there: It's a 40 minute drive by car.

10. Wenderholm Regional Park

Kayak from Wenderholm up the river through mangroves to historic Bohemian immigrant town of Puhoi, or just go for an easy swim at the beach. The nearest of all our campground picks, it also boasts quite a few walking tracks to explore.

Where to stay: Wenderholm Campground

How much: $13 per night per adult.

Getting there: Wenderholm is an easy half hour drive from the centre of town.

Know of any sweet camping getaways not included in this article? Comment below.

Heading to Sydney? Check out our Ten Best Camping Getaways from Sydney.

Published on January 09, 2014 by Laetitia Laubscher

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