Purakaunui Bay Campsite

Purakaunui Bay Campsite - Catlins Coast

Purakaunui Bay Campsite

Catlins Coast


74 Rankers Reviews

35 Face-to-Face

9 Owaka


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What more is there to say?
Purakaunui Bay - primo
Plenty of room
Purakaunui Bay Camping Ground


Camp on the coast at this standard campsite.

What a place! Not too far off the main road, down a narrow unsealed section - watch out for sheep. Beautiful beach, vast grassy areas, seals, striking cliffs as well as a good surf beach. The famous Purakaunui Falls are not far away. This camp site is definitely well worth the trip.

Striking cliff faces can be seen and Purakaunui Falls are not far. There is a good surf beach south of the camp.

Cosgrove Island, a wildlife refuge, is off the coast and Jacks Blowhole is 10 km to the north.

Bookings are open for stays from 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2022.
From November 2020, bookings are required all year.

Book Purakaunui Bay Campsite online.
A $10 service fee applies to all phone, email and in-person bookings.

Your booking will be for the number of people in your party – there are no designated sites. Find space for your party on arrival.


Feature Value Info


DOC Otago

Central government organisation


South IslandSouthlandOwaka


  • Basic Camping


Showing 8 reviews of 74.

Rod K's avatar

Rod K

Ranking: 10/10

I'm giving this campsite a 10 because it was near deserted when we stayed there and made this an awesome quiet spot for the night.
Its such a beautiful area I imagine during peak times this place would be heaving and noisy so pick your moment to come stay here.
We have a small 4x4 so drove along the beach for two minutes and scored one of the flat grassy sites against the cliff and away from everyone. You are literally on the mouth to the stream/ocean intersection and the sunrise is amazing. Just have to remember you'll lose the sun earlier in the evening compared to the rest of the campground because of the cliffs.
Toilets are pretty standard DOC, they'll do.
There's a tap with clean water which is free. You'll have to treat it first if you want to drink it.
So when your planning your Catlins tour, make this a must stop destination.

Reviewed 5 months ago

Ellie Richards's avatar

Ellie Richards

New Zealand

Ranking: 8/10

Beautiful campsite, really back to basics, able to park overlooking the beach for stunning views. Great surfing beach, nice chilled out vibes even though was fairly busy on easter monday and saw a sea lion on the beach. Basic long drop toilet, no locks on 2 out of 3 but did have toilet paper. Untreated water good enough for cooking but not nice to drink so advise bringing some fresh water.

Reviewed over 1 year ago

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Ambili's avatar


Ranking: 9/10

The most stunning scenery of any campsite we’ve been to! We got a flat site right on the beach (you have to drive down on to the beach, and around the corner then up again to find these) and got amazing sunset and sunrises right through the door of our tent. Lots of beach space, ok surf, cool exposed reef to explore and plenty of space for everyone to spread out. There was even a resident sea lion sleeping on the beach on our first two days! The road there is gravel and narrow and the sandy paths to the beach became increasingly rugged as cars drive up and down them but there were no bugs to worry about and the toilets were relatively clean and odor free. BYO Toilet paper to be safe tho. No sinks to wash dishes (only a few taps) and no cooking areas but that wasn’t an issue for us. Loved it!

Reviewed over 1 year ago

Campingwithmable's avatar


Ranking: 10/10

Amazing spot, stayed two nights. Very busy with 30 other camping groups but enough room to spread out. Lots of mozzies and nightly show from the sea lions coming in to rest. Bring everything you need including drinking water. Paradise.

Reviewed over 1 year ago

Monkeyalan's avatar


Ranking: 8/10

Great spot after a 10 minute drive from the turn off. Great scenery but limited parking if the ground is wet. Easy access to the water and the surf. Big shame to see most people who stayed didn't pay the DOC fees or show any pass. Note there is likely to be sheep grazing nearby.

Reviewed almost 2 years ago

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Ross's avatar


Ranking: 6/10

Incredible location, the cliffs are stunning. The road in is fine for larger campervans. Early winter and it was still busy. There are very few flat areas for campervans, the grass is a no go at this time of year or after rain. Toilets are smelly but I gather this is a popular site.

Reviewed about 2 years ago

Lauren's avatar


Ranking: 9/10

Probably our most favourite camping spot to date, which we’ve been to several times throughout the year. Standard DOC campsite with a block of drop toilets at the entrance to the campground. Plenty of flat campsites at sea level with a few spots up the top on the hill for those with smaller vans.
Great surf spot with easy access. Usually a few seals on the beach and a big sea lion or two!

Reviewed about 2 years ago and experienced in February 2020

Rebecka's avatar


Ranking: 10/10

Stunning view! Majestic cliffs and ruff sea. Camping area is very big, was quit a few vehicles here, 20-25. But still lots of space. Saw 2 sea lions hanging out in the sand dunes.

Reviewed over 2 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