Cowshed Bay Campsite

Cowshed Bay Campsite

Pelorus Sound


24 Rankers Reviews

17 Face-to-Face


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Cowshed Bay Camping Ground


Portage Bay Recreation Reserve, Kenepuru Sound, near the Portage Resort

Getting here involves a winding but very scenic drive until you get to Portage Bay Recreation Reserve, the Cowshed Bay Camping Ground is right on the waterfront just before Portage Resort.
Brand new toilet blocks, showers (cold) and cooking shelters make this popular spot an even nicer place to stay. An easy walk to the Queen Charlotte Track from the back of the campground.


  • Kenepuru Road closed due to a slip

    There is a slip just before the entrance to Cowshed Bay campsite on Kenepuru Road. The road is open but reduced to one lane at the slip site.

    Drivers heading for Cowshed Bay, Nikau Cove, Picnic Bay, Kenepuru Head and Waimaru campsites, and Mt Stokes Track are affected. Anyone planning to use these campsites should:

    First published on 12 July 2022.


Feature Value Info


DOC Marlborough

Central government organisation


South IslandMarlboroughPicton / Marlborough Sounds


  • Basic Camping


Showing 13 reviews of 22.

Gina Schopfer 's avatar

Gina Schopfer

Ranking: 2/10

The campsite is currently closed because the road suffered a slip.

Reviewed 7 months ago

Vander Plancke Julien's avatar

Vander Plancke Julien


Ranking: 10/10

What a place to stop close to the Sound. The road to drive there is hard but ok. The camping ground is divided in two on each part of the road. Facilities are very clean.

Reviewed almost 5 years ago

Rebecca Lindsey's avatar

Rebecca Lindsey

United States

Ranking: 8/10

Our first experience at a DOC campground did not disappoint. This campsite was a fun place to stop over after taking the ferry in to Picton that morning.
There are two halves to the campsite, one right on the water and one up across the road. We scored a spot right next to the water, which was also convenient to the sink and bathrooms. The site seems well-maintained and has an easy vibe. The location is quite pretty, but watch out for the wekas! They are very present and will happily steal anything you leave out for them. They also have no problem climbing up into your vehicle if you leave it open, so beware. Sand flies were a pain here as well. With friendly campers as neighbors, we had a very nice stay here and enjoyed the varied bird life and their songs.
We paid $13 per person to stay here. Also, word to the wise: the roads getting here are true NZ - verrrrry windy with lots of blind turns! So drive safely!

Reviewed over 5 years ago and experienced in January 2017

Maura O'Connell's avatar

Maura O'Connell

Ranking: 10/10

Beautiful location, cold showers, excellent facilities - clean flush toilets, kitchen area, sinks and benches. Sheltered too.

Reviewed almost 6 years ago

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Sue Harrington's avatar

Sue Harrington

Ranking: 8/10

We stayed here two nights in August while we walked some of the Queen Charlotte Track. It's a beautiful little site, very peaceful and right on the water's edge, with extra space the other side of the road when it's busy. The water needs treating before you can drink it. The toilets are modern and clean. There is a path from the back of the site up to the Queen Charlotte Track, which is about half a km. You can buy passes at the Portage Hotel...5 minutes from the site.

Reviewed almost 6 years ago

Mathieu Brunel's avatar

Mathieu Brunel


Ranking: 8/10

It was clean! A good view of the sea.

Reviewed over 7 years ago and experienced in December 2014

Wolfgang Rank's avatar

Wolfgang Rank

Ranking: 10/10

We found lovely hosts at the Sounds paradise. Staying at the waterfront at this nice place was so enjoyable. Everything new and absolutely clean. The entrance to Queen Charlotte Track is very close by.

Reviewed over 7 years ago

Sona's avatar


Ranking: 7/10

We decided to spend the whole day here, but if you do not join Queen Charlotte, there is not much else to do. Winds were strong, tides significant and the gravel beach not exactly attractive for swimming. Next time we would probably spare the drive.

Reviewed over 7 years ago

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thibaut vernelle's avatar

thibaut vernelle


Ranking: 9/10

Very good facilities, location also really nice.

Reviewed almost 8 years ago and experienced in March 2014

Sanne Sprogoe Borgaa's avatar

Sanne Sprogoe Borgaa


Ranking: 10/10

A really nice and beautiful DOC campsite with a beautiful view and a cold shower. Maybe solar energy would be great to supply hot water. However toilets were really great - modern.

Reviewed about 8 years ago and experienced in January 2014

Kristine and William's avatar

Kristine and William


Ranking: 6/10

Quite small and crowded, however we found a nice spot all the way up the top.

Reviewed over 9 years ago

Stein and Elisabeth's avatar

Stein and Elisabeth


Ranking: 7/10

Crowded but nice.

Reviewed over 9 years ago

Lauret Stulemeyer's avatar

Lauret Stulemeyer


Ranking: 8/10

Good toilet facility. Nice birds on campground, nice views of the bay, paid $12.

Reviewed over 9 years ago and experienced in December 2012

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