Canaan Downs Campsite

Canaan Downs Campsite

Canaan Downs Scenic Reserve


21 Rankers Reviews

12 Face-to-Face


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Cannon Downs Camping Ground


Remote DOC campsite, small fee, basic facilities

The Canaan Downs Camping Ground is a small campsite accessible by a steep gravel windy road - definitely not suitable for large camper vans.

There is a toilet - lots of wasps at the end of summer, and running water.

Though the site is in a sheltered area the weather can change rapidly due to the mountain conditions.

A great location for mountain biking, hiking and caving in Harwoods Hole for experienced cavers.


  • Wasp control in Motueka and Golden Bay Area

    A wasp control operation using Vespex poison will be carried out in the following areas:

    Mt Richmond Forest Park: Hacket Track, Bushy Top to Top Wairoa Hut (Te Araroa Trail).

    Kahurangi National Park: Sylvester Track, Lake Peel Track, Trilobite Hut to Chaffey Hut – Cobb Valley, Splugeons Rock Shelter to Crow Hut – Leslie/Karamea Valleys, Wangapeka Campsites – Siberia Flat, Courthouse Flat, Rolling Junction to Kings Creek Hut – Wangapeka Track, Granity Pass and Blue Creek Track – Wangapeka Valley, Baton Valley Tracks – Ellis and Flanagans Huts. 

    Abel Tasman National Park: Abel Tasman Coast Track and associated great walk campsites, Totaranui Campground, Abel Tasman Inland Track and all access points, Awaroa Village, Torrent Bay Village, Falls River Track, Gibbs Hill Track, Harwoods Hole Track – Canaan Downs, Rameka Track – Canaan Downs.

    Motueka Area: Cable Bay Track, Eves Valley Track, Kaiteriteri Track.

    The bait will be in bait stations. All public access points will display warning signs. This operation will be in place until 30 April 2021.

    First published on 22 February 2022.


Feature Value Info


DOC Nelson/Tasman

Central government organisation


South IslandNelson RegionGolden Bay


  • Basic Camping


Showing 13 reviews of 21.

Georgia's avatar


Ranking: 8/10

Great campsite, gravel road but perfectly manageable. Plenty of space for shady set up, toilets were a bit dirty but overall fine. There are cheeky wekas around so be sure to pack food away. Lots of taps, no bins so rubbish needs to be taken with you. Lots of walks close by. Quite a few sandflies around also. Overall a really good campsite.

Reviewed 4 months ago

Casey's avatar


Ranking: 9/10

Was a great stay! A bit hard to get to but well worth it for Harwoods hole walk. Would give 10/10 but -1 point for getting attacked by a Weka.

Reviewed 6 months ago

Mike Howe's avatar

Mike Howe

New Zealand

Ranking: 8/10

This site is off the beaten track. The road is a bit on the rough side so the larger camper and don’t end up here. Quite nice really.

It’s also basically on top of a mountain (but tucked down a bit). So the weather can be a bit extreme.

Good space and nice walks. Enjoy! 🌞

Reviewed almost 2 years ago

Chrissy's avatar


Ranking: 9/10

Basic campsite, 2 toliets but 1 was out of service while there. Clean & not smelly. Water available (boil 1st). Very few wasps around, pest control doing a great job. Great walks & mountain biking. Gravel road in not too bad, did see some large campervans come in but not a lot if passing areas if someone coming the other way. Friendly weka's (please don't feed them). Only 2 other overnight campers but was middle of the week. Watch out for the mosquitoes at night.

Reviewed over 2 years ago

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Dave Reynolds's avatar

Dave Reynolds

New Zealand

Ranking: 8/10

Gravel road isnt for beginners ;) its very thin and sheer drops in places. Long way to go on a difficult road for such a basic campsite, but if you are after cheap (6 bucks an adult, 4 for kids) and cheerful then this is probably the best option around the Takaka area. Campsite is very quiet and picturesque, basic toilet facilities (pretty clean though) as to be expected. Plenty of space for tents. Its not the best campsite you will see in the south island but I would take this over the holiday park alternatives any day.

Reviewed over 3 years ago

NZroadtrippers's avatar


Ranking: 10/10

It is an adventure by itself to get there, a long gravel road trough fields with sheep. We stopped to say hello to a group of alpacas that where on a field behind a gate.

Camping ground is good, toilets are clean. We took some really nice hikes in the area. There is an amazing view point!

Reviewed over 3 years ago

Geart-Jan Benedictus's avatar

Geart-Jan Benedictus

Ranking: 7/10

It's an adventure to get to this campsite! It's a long (but nice) gravel road that can be pretty narrow at some points (big campervans, watch out). Just keep going until the road stops and you'll find it! It was quite busy over the weekend: some walking and mountainbike tracks start from the campsite. The walk to the hole and viewpoint is really good and gives an amazing view over the valley (but the climbing may be dangerous if you have kids).
At $6 per person it's very cheap, but drop loos are quite smelly and the many sheep and lambs might keep you awake during the night when you're there in spring like us. Still, fine campsite and happy we did the walk!

Reviewed over 4 years ago

Louisa Theimann's avatar

Louisa Theimann


Ranking: 10/10

From the Canaan Downs Camping Ground, you walk about half an hour to a viewpoint and is one of the best walks I have done in New Zealand so far!! It leads through native and untouched forest. Sometimes you have to climb around rocks and branches but it is fun and not that hard. At the end you are on top of a hill and can climb until the rim of a platform where you see the spectacular Abel Tasman. I felt on top of the world, it was amazing!

Reviewed about 5 years ago and experienced in December 2016

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Alexander's avatar



Ranking: 8/10

11km gravel road. The trail to Harwood's Hole is great. There are many tracks for walking and mountain biking.

Reviewed almost 6 years ago and experienced in January 2016

Max Brunner's avatar

Max Brunner

Ranking: 9/10

There is a long gravel road to get there. The place is quiet with basic toilets and water. Some walkways start there.

Reviewed over 6 years ago

Sander and Eliza Hembrarskamp's avatar

Sander and Eliza Hembrarskamp


Ranking: 9/10

The way there is quite tricky since its a very narrow one-lane gravel road with sometimes BIG rocks. Keep driving until you cannot go further. Free (in July 2014) as people kept stealing the fees from the box. You'll notice as there are no camping forms available. Very cold during winter, our water bottles froze from inside the car. Great and proper hikes available starting from the campsite. Definitely worth the visit!! Vault toilets and water tap from creeks.

Reviewed almost 8 years ago

Camille Gagnant's avatar

Camille Gagnant


Ranking: 10/10

Very great location, all the facilities in a green way (donation $5 per person).

Reviewed almost 8 years ago and experienced in January 2014

Greg Fischer's avatar

Greg Fischer

United States

Ranking: 9/10

Not over priced (Doc) Nice and secluded-toilets.

Reviewed about 8 years ago and experienced in January 2014

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