Monowai Campsite

Monowai Campsite

Lake Monowai


26 Rankers Reviews

4 Face-to-Face

15 Manapouri


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Tucked into trees
Lake Monowai camping area
Beautiful Lake Monowai
The lake through the trees


Monowai Camping Ground is a free DOC campsite beside a beautiful lake. There is a huge gravel parking area next to the boat ramp for large vehicles. For smaller vans, cruise up the hill or nestle next to the trees right next to the lake. There is little turning space in the trees and it can get quite boggy in wet weather. Very sheltered area and well worth the fairly long drive to get into it.


Feature Value Info


South IslandFiordlandManapouri


  • Basic Camping
  • Free


Showing 13 reviews of 26.

Spelelis's avatar


Ranking: 6/10

It's 14km off the main road & 8 of that is gravel. Positioned right above the beautiful lake, there's lot's of space for smaller vans/cars, but not after a heavy rain (very soft ground). I'd like to point out that there's LOADS of mice, mosquitoes & sandflies. When sandflies go to sleep, mosquitoes wake up so there's not a single minute of peace if you're not well prepared (we had mozzie sticks & spray repellent but it didn't help for more than a few minutes). We also got a few mice in the van, even on the bed. Oh and the toilet... Smelly, buzzy, one of the absolute worst we've come across. But the scenery is fantastic, there's a few walks near-by and the beech forest makes you feel like you're in a fairytail (if you keep on moving so the flies don't catch you - haha).

Reviewed almost 2 years ago

JT's avatar


Ranking: 7/10

if you love sandflies than this place will be perfect. but we had good conversations to other travellers and a campfire so it es quite ok for this expensive region. far away from the highway and gravel all the way

Reviewed over 2 years ago and experienced in January 2019

Alan's avatar


Ranking: 8/10

Great and very relaxing place with beautiful views. Sandflies can be an issue!

Reviewed over 2 years ago and experienced in September 2017

Mitchell's avatar


New Zealand

Ranking: 6/10

Well of the beaten track, stayed here on our way down to bluff. Toilets not maintained at all, heaps of sand flies, not a big place to park up.

Reviewed almost 3 years ago

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Karo's avatar


Ranking: 3/10

Long drop toilets weren't clean and full of sandflies and mosquitos. Pack your insect repellent! Directly at a lake

Reviewed almost 3 years ago

J wells's avatar

J wells

Ranking: 8/10

Nice spot tucked out of the way not a huge area for campers but smaller vehicles could tuck under the trees. Gravel road to reach the site and quite a few sand flies even in September.

Reviewed about 3 years ago

Rachel's avatar


Ranking: 10/10

Worth the long drive for the clean air & sheltered camp in the trees.
We tucked our van into the trees, & were careful to stay out of the mud.
There is a simple toilet.

Reviewed about 3 years ago

Florian's avatar


Ranking: 8/10

We arrived late, it was dark, was kinda hard to tell where to park. We saw a few cars parked amongst the trees. Ended up getting our 2wd van stuck and took a few of us and a lot of bad words to get it back up onto the road. Don’t go down between the trees unless it’s dry and it’s flat as it slopes down in most places and there’s lots of roots which make it hard to turn and get out again! Ended up following the road up a bit to a larger gravel parking area with lots of vans around, so that’s probably a safer option... toilets are decent and nice location as long as it doesn’t get too crowded but you should always be able to find a spot either way.

Reviewed over 3 years ago

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Matthew Henderson's avatar

Matthew Henderson

Ranking: 10/10

10/10 mint spot for a fish, have a couple of cold ones and meet great people!

Reviewed over 3 years ago

Jephthah Burns's avatar

Jephthah Burns

Ranking: 7/10

Enjoyed this site very much. Stayed 4 nights in January and every night the quantity of campers well exceeded the recommended number so to be expected that the loos weren't fantastic. They are serviced regularly and luxury as far as no-flush loos go, unfortunately many campers opting for their own spot in the bush so recommend children play in open spaces only. The views are gorgeous even from dam face, nearby bush walks are easy tracks for a relaxing outing.
Would give this a 10 were it not so heavily populated overnight.

Reviewed over 3 years ago

Xanthe Bowater's avatar

Xanthe Bowater

Ranking: 10/10

AMAZING! A bit of a long drive to get here but absolutely worth it. The view and whole atmosphere of the place is wonderful. The facilities are beyond horrendous, so better if you are self-contained, but even still, one of the greatest free (or paying!!) campsites we have stayed in.

Reviewed almost 5 years ago

Eric Pollard's avatar

Eric Pollard


Ranking: 7/10

Not a bad spot. A little far in but lovely trees. Better for tents then campers though. Long drop toilet was filthy and horribly smelly. Good walking trails around.

Reviewed about 5 years ago

Pamela Hoffman's avatar

Pamela Hoffman

Ranking: 6/10

Was very wet when we went there making the tree area unusable. Appeared to be very pretty but lots of sand flies and mosquitos even in mid April. Lots of other folks coming thru making it crowded for the small area. But is a good place for transitioning from Catlins to Te Anau.

Reviewed over 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 😍

Nick Morrison's avatar

Nick Morrison

Rankers owner