Whatamango Bay Campsite

Whatamango Bay Campsite



46 Rankers Reviews

8 Face-to-Face


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Whatamango Bay
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Port Underwood Rd, Queen Charlotte Sound.

Windy roads lead to Whatamango Bay, a massive grassy camping area right on the water's edge. You can find a few more private spots in amongst the flax bushes, otherwise it's all pretty open. There is a little creek running through the site, please note there is a total fire ban at this site and no rubbish bins so carry everything out with you.

The judder bars leading in are easily missed, you have been warned!


Feature Value Info


DOC Marlborough

Central government organisation


South IslandMarlboroughPicton / Marlborough Sounds


  • Basic Camping


Showing 13 reviews of 45.

Clive's avatar


Ranking: 7/10

Beautiful scenic spot, bay dries to mud at low tides, toilets are good, a wide variety of sites to either nestle into or pitch up at with trees and shrubbery. Probably suffers from being close to Picton, so can get abused, had 6 x of the rooftop-tent-4wd-crew arrive at 1am and wake up the whole site. Scenic spot in the sounds.

Reviewed over 1 year ago

Teesh K's avatar

Teesh K

Ranking: 8/10

Great spot near Picton. Arrived late after the evening ferry. Woke up to rain but very impressed with the spot. Lots of shelter with trees. The toilets were clean. Recommend the 20min drive, it's worth it!

Reviewed over 1 year ago

Paul's avatar


Ranking: 1/10

Beautiful spot however I had a similar experience to another reviewer...the DOC lady woke me up at 7am by aggressively slaming her hand on all four windows of my van then started shaking it...for 5 minutes. Never once said anything to identify herself or what she was after. Just slaming violently. Was scared to go outside. Totally unnecessary considering considering I didnt have any change for the $20 and was hoping to catch her anyway in the morning to sort out payment...very rude and no common sense / benefit of the doubt for those who are genuinely trying to pay. Would be useful to have a credit card slip on the payment ticket. Or to come round at a more reasonable hour (ie 8am) and politely introduce herself in order to sort out payment.

Reviewed over 2 years ago

Megan Belanger 's avatar

Megan Belanger

Ranking: 9/10

Clean bathrooms, nice views over the water, great place to stop and camp near Picton. We stayed two nights and had a great time.

Reviewed over 3 years ago

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Henk Sjon's avatar

Henk Sjon


Ranking: 9/10

A great site to stay when you arrive of the ferry in picton. Its a 15 min drive from the ferry.
There a lot of places to put up your tent or park your caravan. The view over the lake is nice and there are a lot of Tui's going wild on the plants. Beware to pay your fees because there are frequent check ups.

Reviewed over 3 years ago and experienced in November 2018

Grizzly Girl's avatar

Grizzly Girl

Ranking: 6/10

This looks like it would be a lovely site in the summer. However, when driving into it in October I thought I was the only person until I happened upon a little corner where two startled people exchanging stuff between their car windows were located. Back in the States I would have said I had stumbled across a drug deal. And just like there I promptly left. So very sketchy vibes in the early spring and I would be hesitant to stay there alone.

Reviewed almost 4 years ago

Lucy Kucharik's avatar

Lucy Kucharik

Ranking: 9/10

Nice big campsite with plenty of options to pitch/park. Wasn't too busy on the one night we stayed. Water quality good for drinking, toilets clean (but no lights) and wasn't particularly windy. Lots of native birds about and nice views of the water. Partner noted noise from the road and seabirds but I didn't find these a problem. Great site for the price.

Reviewed over 4 years ago

Helen Bond's avatar

Helen Bond

United Kingdom

Ranking: 7/10

Great for last night stop over as long as you don't mind windy road, though not much traffic.Very quiet when we stayed. Beautiful location next to the Sound. Good bird watching. 8dolls pp was quite expensive for facilities offered - public toilet and water tap. Provision of showers would help a lot. Portakabin would do, gas to power and slot to pay.No power on site, but not a problem.

Reviewed over 4 years ago and experienced in January 2018

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Rob & Colleen Elwood's avatar

Rob & Colleen Elwood

New Zealand

Ranking: 10/10

Whatamango Bay DOC camp is a big camping area with lots of sheltered corners to park in. It has a good water supply and flush toilets. The DOC overseer did a walk around in the late afternoon and again very early in the morning which explains the absence of freedom camper mess. The road from Waikawa is sealed but it is winding and very narrow in places. The tide goes out a long way and the beach frontage isn't particularly attractive but there's easy water access for kayaks and dinghys. Yes, Whatamango bay is a wind funnel and needs to be treated accordingly.

Reviewed over 4 years ago

Hamish's avatar


New Zealand

Ranking: 6/10

Stayed 10 nights in a large group, as a base to access the sounds. Very popular as a one night stop for Ferry passengers.
Positives: Cheap & Large campground, Firm ground for anchoring tents, Flush toilet, Bird call from Tui, Bellbird & Morepork, Views.
Negatives: Can get extremely windy as valley funnels wind from South & the Bay funnels wind from the North.
Toilet urinal blocked, no lights in toilet block, water taps around the campground ran dry as fed from tank, portaloos overfull, toilet block not maintained well. Needs more bush planting for shelter.
Overall we enjoyed our stay despite a bit of bad weather.
I disagree that DOC has done a good job here though. They receive a hefty amount of $ from travellers every night yet simple things like lighting in toilets isn’t in place??
We were asked for change from a $20 note ($16 for two) many times by travellers...so my suggestion is make it $10 night per camper and reinvest significantly; Connect the campground taps to the stream pump, tidy the toilets, consider hot water for toilet block sink & taps, do more planting. Perhaps even a small kids area?

Reviewed over 4 years ago

Bill's avatar


United Kingdom

Ranking: 10/10

What you'd hope for from a low cost DOC site. Nice open area next to the sound with a bit of bush for privacy. Very flat, flush toilets, wonderfully peaceful, close to Picton.

Reviewed over 4 years ago

Lukas and Katka's avatar

Lukas and Katka

Ranking: 9/10

Very spacious campground. Close to the ferry. Well maintained. Clean toilet, drinkable water. One of the best DOC campground for $8pp we have seen so far. Thank you DOC.

Reviewed almost 5 years ago

Fifi and Jay's avatar

Fifi and Jay

Ranking: 9/10

DOC site, with 2 flushable toilets. About a 15-20min drive out of Picton. Little alcoves to drive into for shelter from the wind and plenty of space for everyone as this place is huge! Also picnic tables scattered around. The views are amazing and it was hard to find in the dark but just after the bridge on the left hand side turn in. It was definitely worth the drive.

Reviewed about 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