Waikawa Campsite

Waikawa Campsite



36 Rankers Reviews

10 Face-to-Face

7 Otaki


Online Maps

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Diverse vegetation surrounds the campsite. Watch for fantails, tui, bellbird, whitehead, riflemen and kakariki. There are short walks, day trips and tramps nearby


  • Predator control for Western Tararua areas

    An aerial predator control operation using 1080 bait was completed on 19 March 2022. There may be toxic carcasses in the area. Toxic carcasses can take months to break down.

    The hunting area is open but do not take and eat animals in this area until the area is safe. This will be shown by the removal of the warning signs and this alert. The area in the pesticide summary map will also show as safe.

    This operation is part DOC's National Predator Control Programme to protect native species.

    First published on 5 April 2022. Last reviewed on 21 June 2022.
  • Waikawa Campsite closed

    Waikawa Campsite is closed until further notice. Pedestrian access to the river, picnic area, and toilet is still available. 

    This is a long term alert.

    First published on 16 December 2021. Last reviewed on 20 June 2022.


Feature Value Info


DOC Wellington/Kapiti

Central government organisation


North IslandWellington RegionOtaki


  • Basic Camping
  • Free


Showing 13 reviews of 32.

Alice's avatar


Ranking: 7/10

We were alone at this large DOC campground. Gravel area for self-contained campervans is limited though. There was a shelter with a fire pit that was cluttered with random rubbish. Total fire ban signs were displayed though. Long drop toilet is ok. No cellphone reception.

Reviewed over 1 year ago

Ian Dustin's avatar

Ian Dustin

Ranking: 1/10

Yes, you can camp easily. Sadly the bush is in soul destroying state, with Wandering Dew on all forest floor, and Vines over the canopy. The only native birds would be Owl and Hawk, as there is no trapping of pests.

Site is near the end of North Manakau Rd, with DOC signs. Search around for tracks in poor state.

Reviewed over 2 years ago

Unnaleese Groom 's avatar

Unnaleese Groom

Ranking: 8/10

Our camping experience at Waikawa Campsite was very pleasant. There is usually plenty of space to set up and do your own thing. There are bush walks to do, easy access river (boil before using), and we particularly loved waking up to the birds. For a free campsite, Waikawa is nice.

Reviewed over 2 years ago

Kiwiguy's avatar


Ranking: 7/10

Fairly basic camp site. Long drop toilet and sheltered area only 2 buildings. Short nature walk was a nice way to start the morning.

Reviewed almost 3 years ago

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JT's avatar


Ranking: 7/10

the little dump toilet was horrible. uneven surface but a lot of space and a good place for one night. take a bath in the river if you want to.

Reviewed over 3 years ago

QueeenBeee's avatar


Ranking: 4/10

This is a free campsite, but don't expect too much.. Although it is in nature, the facilities are not so great. Water supply is only from a river, but the toilets are much worse. Even though there are 4 of them, only one was opened and that was really something - everyone rather went to the woods... The only plus was the short walk you can take before going to bed.

Reviewed over 3 years ago

Jeyeol Rhyu's avatar

Jeyeol Rhyu

Korea, Republic of

Ranking: 10/10

한적하고 조용한 캠핑장. 화장실이 깔끔하게 유지되고 있습니다. 아침 산책로도 잘 안내되어 있습니다. 화장실 근처에 3G가 터진다는 안내가 있네요

Reviewed over 3 years ago

Nad 05-66's avatar

Nad 05-66

Ranking: 7/10

Beautifull place but the toilets are not so clean !

Reviewed over 3 years ago

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Jacqui Hutchins's avatar

Jacqui Hutchins

Ranking: 7/10

The long drop is still there but out of use. There are now well maintained portaloos with not a singke sandfly in them.

Reviewed over 3 years ago

Isabel van Megen's avatar

Isabel van Megen


Ranking: 7/10

It is a beautiful spot right within nature. There is plenty of room for vans, tents and larger motorhomes. Only negative is the little dump toilet. It really should be renewed and is just nasty.
Apart from that it is a great spot and a good starting point for some walks and hikes as well

Reviewed over 4 years ago

Amy Lord's avatar

Amy Lord

Ranking: 5/10

It was near the river but the toilet was horrible! It smelled, didn’t have toilet paper, lots of spiders and only one onsite. The trash was overflowing and the campgrounds smelled. It was worth the price...free!

Reviewed over 4 years ago

Lizzy Cobeldick's avatar

Lizzy Cobeldick

New Zealand

Ranking: 7/10

Really pretty area and nice areas to walk around and nice to hear the river. Had a cool shelter with fire pit. Someone had ripped up the grass so was muddy and could not camp in a lot of the grounds and the long drops were pretty gross. We would still stay here again.

Reviewed almost 5 years ago and experienced in June 2017

Kirsty B's avatar

Kirsty B

New Zealand

Ranking: 10/10

Nice little campground amongst the birds and the trees. Drop loo problem seems to have been sorted -it was nice and clean and even had toilet paper. Would happily camp there again.

Reviewed almost 5 years ago

DOC Managed

Thanks to all the good people working for the NZ Department of Conservation - for all your hard work - making NZ more beautiful, accessable and healthy! Cheers 😍

Cymen Crick's avatar

Cymen Crick

Rankers Owner