Waikawa Campsite

Waikawa Campsite



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 almost 2 years 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 almost 3 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

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

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

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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 about 5 years ago

Sheila Webb's avatar

Sheila Webb

United Kingdom

Ranking: 9/10

Fabulous walks in the area.

Reviewed about 5 years ago and experienced in January 2017

Rhea Welsh-Hussain's avatar

Rhea Welsh-Hussain

Ranking: 7/10

Really pretty DOC campground but the drop loo was terrible. There was also a cat (from a caravan) that kept trying to get or food! Also a few sand flies, but the stunning waterhole made up for it all.

Reviewed over 5 years ago

Tatiana Rochereau's avatar

Tatiana Rochereau

Ranking: 7/10

DOC basic campsite. Not far from the main road. Easily accessible. So many places. Shelter to cook. Shade. Really cool. Protect and respect nature !

Reviewed over 6 years ago

Loic JOURNET's avatar


Ranking: 8/10

Grand espace de verdure proche d'une rivière avec des gouilles pour se baigner

Reviewed over 6 years ago and experienced in January 2016

Mabel Vanasperen's avatar

Mabel Vanasperen

Ranking: 8/10

Beautiful spot. Several good places hard to find after dark. Very basic facilities but there is a shelter. Excellent place to stay on the way to take the boat in Wellington, but you risk staying too long in the morning.

Reviewed over 6 years ago

CMG's avatar


New Zealand

Ranking: 7/10

Great overnight camping/parking. Basic campsite, but pretty, sheltered and quiet. Easy access of the highway.

Reviewed over 6 years ago and experienced in April 2015

Arvid Hellquist's avatar

Arvid Hellquist


Ranking: 7/10

Basic campsite. FREE! Nice river after about ten minutes walk.

Reviewed over 7 years ago

James Webster's avatar

James Webster

Ranking: 5/10

Free campsite but unfortunately not a very nice long drop and badly signed. A good distance down Manukau Road North.

Reviewed over 7 years ago

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Vojtech Mejzlik's avatar

Vojtech Mejzlik

Ranking: 7/10

Nice quiet free camping, very large area, lots of green and trees, 2 dry wc, there's a small bay/pound in bush where you can dip called Swimming hall-5min walk, the place is well maintained.

Reviewed over 7 years ago

Joanna Doran's avatar

Joanna Doran

United Kingdom

Ranking: 8/10

Stunning spot, very quiet. Not loads of sites but we had no issue. Great stop over spot on the way south. We drove from here to Wellington and had most of the day to explore the city and museum before an evening ferry.

Reviewed over 7 years ago

Meredith Griffiths's avatar

Meredith Griffiths


Ranking: 10/10

Free campsite with toilets, a shelter where you can make a fire and a nice walking track right next to the campsite. Really enjoyed camping here.

Reviewed almost 8 years ago and experienced in March 2014

Aurelien Noailly's avatar

Aurelien Noailly


Ranking: 7/10

Beautiful place, no showers, no rubbish bins.... but free.

Reviewed about 8 years ago and experienced in February 2014

Pei's avatar



Ranking: 9/10

Awesome place with a good view during autumn time, could see tui, and if you are lucky, you will have some fruits on the trees. Pitching a tent, lights a fire, having a cold bath, great!!

Reviewed almost 9 years ago and experienced in April 2013

ramy's avatar


United States

Ranking: 8/10

Campground was a nice quiet campground with lots of places to camp. Loved the Tui birds. There were fruit trees that I cannot identify and other unique vegetation. A nice free campground if you are self-contained and on your way North or South. There is a shelter house built to accommodate a fire in the center and seating along the outside for groups.

Reviewed about 9 years ago and experienced in April 2013

Mycall's avatar



Ranking: 8/10

Equally well resourced and looked after as many DOC sites that you have to pay for. This free site is very well situated if you are travelling on SH1. Just to update or correct other reviews, there are long drop toilets but not that many so I could imagine they might get a bit scuzzy if the site is busy. There is also a large shelter which has a purpose made opening in the roof to facilitate an open fire under cover. Nice touch.

Reviewed over 9 years ago

Dick Kooij's avatar

Dick Kooij


Ranking: 3/10

Along the river, grass was high, toilets were dirty, we drove away.

Reviewed over 9 years ago

rhoskin's avatar


New Zealand

Ranking: 9/10

excellent camp ground. quiet, even in the height of summer holidays you can still find a nice private area there. a nice small bush walk. good river. we were pleasantly surprised and will definitely go there again!

Reviewed over 9 years ago

sidcupjon's avatar


United Kingdom

Ranking: 7/10

A free DOC campsite, no different to some of the paid DOC campsites, so its a bargain!

Reviewed over 10 years ago

Andrew Hammond's avatar

Andrew Hammond


Ranking: 8/10

Very basic campsite but FREE. No toilets or showers but a great spot right beside the river.
Very quiet and had a nice fire.

Reviewed almost 12 years ago