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North IslandTaupo RegionTaupo

Free Campsite on the Waikato River just out of Taupo.

Please note: Hipapatua / Reid's Farm Recreation Reserve is closed to campers between May 1 and October 1 for site maintenance, in line with its reserve management plan.

Free camping is permitted on this recreation reserve. All campers, including those in certified self-contained vehicles, can stay for a maximum of three nights and/or four days in any 14 night period before they need to move on.

This campsite is close to town, and can be a popular party venue, especially on New Year's Eve. It's used a lot by travellers and sometimes by school groups. It can be a bit boggy after lots of rain. Quite a few sandflys as it is right on the river.

There is a permanent fire ban on this campsite (NO FIRES), and a complete liquor ban between noon on 27 December and 7am on 4 January.

This is a very popular spot for people learning how to white water kayak, and is the end point for guided kayak tours on the Waikato River.

Facilities are basic - the only water supply is the Waikato River, so we suggest that all drinking water is boiled first. There are no showers or cooking facilities.

Campers must take all their rubbish with them as a 'pack it in, pack it out' arrangement is in place to help protect the land and river. Campers should take their rubbish to the nearest refuse location - find out more about refuse locations and prices at www.taupo.govt.nz/rubbish.

Three older toilets have been removed and replaced with a lovely new triple unit, one cubicle of which has disability access. Two other toilets have also been refurbished making the whole experience much more pleasant. During busy periods, there can be queues for the best toilets so it pays to get up early.

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Contact

Taupo Address:
5km north of Taupo Township

Operating Season And Hours: Hipapatua / Reid's Farm Recreation Reserve is closed to campers between May 1 and October 1 for site maintenance, in line with its reserve management plan.

185 reviews with the most recent first, showing page 1 of 15.

Juliane's avatar

Juliane

Ranking: 6/10

Very busy and crowded even in off season. But a good spot to go to the Hukafalls in the early morning.

Reviewed 5 months ago

Peacock's avatar

Peacock

Ranking: 7/10

We used to camp here just by the river 5 years ago but this time we went back you only can camp other side which doesn’t have the river view. Arrived at 6 pm and the whole area was packed. The toilet are just long drop and porta-loo, so you know what it’s like.

Reviewed 6 months ago

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Patty's avatar

Patty

Ranking: 7/10

Beautiful spot. Porta Loos which are disgusting. Very cramped camping. Noisey because of other campers. Get in early.

Reviewed 7 months ago

Maddie F's avatar

Maddie F

Ranking: 6/10

Very noisy, very busy. Toilets not really clean. Water point for clean dishes. Near to Huka Falls.

Reviewed 7 months ago

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Sean McLaren's avatar

Sean McLaren

Ranking: 5/10

First spot we stayed while in NZ. Very primitive and busy due to proximity to lake taupo. There are several spots near the lake that are free but you have to be self contained. That seemed to be the issue and why most people were here at this site.
It is dirty, there a porta potties that are pretty bad.
But it is free and it is available. Would stay here again if I was in a pinch but would rather pay for a cheap site for $10 a person to stay at a spot that is clean.

Reviewed 7 months ago

Andrew Flanagan's avatar

Andrew Flanagan

Ranking: 2/10

Avoid unless you have no other option! The other positive is the convenient location.
This is an extremely busy camp site, the busiest and most crowded we stayed at! It was just like a big car park with vehicles a doors width apart.
If you have a tent get here early before ignorant camper vans take the grassed areas. Not many good places for tents but it is a fairly big site. Most of it fenced off on the lower part and camping is not allowed close to the river where the ideal tent sites are.
There are several toilets, bins and recycling units and also a dish washing facility on the lower section which is open 7am - 6pm for vehicles to park and enjoy the river, no over night stays on that section.
There were several loud and rude backpackers making noise past 1.30am. Police had to be called on some aggressive campers from Germany but they didn't show up. People were afraid for their safety and well being when backpackers/campers were shouting very loud and chanting. They would not reduce their noise when asked by a few different people and responded with aggression. Even though this site is popular with German visitors hopefully this is rare!

Reviewed 7 months ago

Avoid Camping Fines!

The only camping map where each location is approved by every regional council in NZ. So if it shows on the map, you’re allowed to stay.

The Rankers Camping NZ app, is also in association with…

Laura's avatar

Laura

Ranking: 8/10

Great location right next to Taupo and Huka Falls.
Many long drop toilets but no facilities.
Try to get a spot on the hill in the back! We had a good night -quiet and lots of space left (March).
It’s a good spot and it’s free, I think you shouldn’t judge a campground by the people who camp there!

Reviewed 7 months ago

Magenta McHalick's avatar

Magenta McHalick

Ranking: 9/10

Free, beautiful swimming spot and very close to Taupo (pronounced Toe-Paw don't mess it up!) and Huka falls. Only downside is it is not a well kept secret. Every freedom camper and their dog wants to stay there so be prepared to share personal space. Toilets were worse than most music festival portaloos so take jandals. My best tip would be to stay in the smaller area which most people overlook and so has more space. When driving in turn at the driveway a few metres over from the main entry (on the Taupo side).

Reviewed 7 months ago

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Simon Springett's avatar

Simon Springett

Ranking: 6/10

Exceptionally busy and over crowded. Lower lot closed to camping, upper lot has portable toilets.

Reviewed 7 months ago

Amy Lord's avatar

Amy Lord

Ranking: 7/10

Great location! The newer toilets were nice and there was lots of extra port-a-potties closet to the campgrounds. They have a sink for washing dishes. There was plenty of room but very busy at this free spot.

Reviewed 8 months ago

Zelie Frechin's avatar

Zelie Frechin

Ranking: 8/10

Busy campground but quiet at night. Close to the river but we didn't see any mosquitos. Many toilets available and fairly clean.

Reviewed 10 months ago

Annina Jarvinen's avatar

Annina Jarvinen

Ranking: 3/10

Hippie camping and feels like a Coachella festival gone bad. Almost fell into the river while doing dishes and toilets were a mess. The ground is like a swamp so when using a tent I would recommend not to stay in the lower parts as we did. You will get flushed away if it rains. Which it obviously did when we stayed. There was a man standing and laughing at our baby for five minutes at one point? Don't know, don't ask...
But the camping was at least free!

Reviewed 11 months ago

mike panther's avatar

mike panther

New Zealand

Ranking: 3/10

the Taupo council have chained off most of Rieds farm , you can no longer camp by the river side , the max 7 night stay is gone and it a max 3 night stay now, they have allso changed the name , what once was a cool spot to stay isnt so cool anymore . And as of this date that im writing this review 90% of the place is still under chain . what a shame Taupo council !

Reviewed about 1 year ago

  • Unpowered Campsites

    FREE. Basic toilet facilities and a large number of campsites. There is no power or potable water supply. Water can be taken from the river but should be boiled before drinking.

185 reviews with the most recent first, showing page 1 of 15.

Juliane's avatar

Juliane

Ranking: 6/10

Very busy and crowded even in off season. But a good spot to go to the Hukafalls in the early morning.

Reviewed 5 months ago

Peacock's avatar

Peacock

Ranking: 7/10

We used to camp here just by the river 5 years ago but this time we went back you only can camp other side which doesn’t have the river view. Arrived at 6 pm and the whole area was packed. The toilet are just long drop and porta-loo, so you know what it’s like.

Reviewed 6 months ago

Conservation Campsite Pass

Save up to 70% on campsite fees! Support conservation and experience the natural beauty of NZ. 93 Department of Conservation campsites, one convenient pass.

Get the Pass

Patty's avatar

Patty

Ranking: 7/10

Beautiful spot. Porta Loos which are disgusting. Very cramped camping. Noisey because of other campers. Get in early.

Reviewed 7 months ago

Maddie F's avatar

Maddie F

Ranking: 6/10

Very noisy, very busy. Toilets not really clean. Water point for clean dishes. Near to Huka Falls.

Reviewed 7 months ago

Top Ranked NZ Deals Pass

Access savings worth hundreds of $$ on Top Ranked NZ Accommodation and Activities for just $1 per day.

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Sean McLaren's avatar

Sean McLaren

Ranking: 5/10

First spot we stayed while in NZ. Very primitive and busy due to proximity to lake taupo. There are several spots near the lake that are free but you have to be self contained. That seemed to be the issue and why most people were here at this site.
It is dirty, there a porta potties that are pretty bad.
But it is free and it is available. Would stay here again if I was in a pinch but would rather pay for a cheap site for $10 a person to stay at a spot that is clean.

Reviewed 7 months ago

Andrew Flanagan's avatar

Andrew Flanagan

Ranking: 2/10

Avoid unless you have no other option! The other positive is the convenient location.
This is an extremely busy camp site, the busiest and most crowded we stayed at! It was just like a big car park with vehicles a doors width apart.
If you have a tent get here early before ignorant camper vans take the grassed areas. Not many good places for tents but it is a fairly big site. Most of it fenced off on the lower part and camping is not allowed close to the river where the ideal tent sites are.
There are several toilets, bins and recycling units and also a dish washing facility on the lower section which is open 7am - 6pm for vehicles to park and enjoy the river, no over night stays on that section.
There were several loud and rude backpackers making noise past 1.30am. Police had to be called on some aggressive campers from Germany but they didn't show up. People were afraid for their safety and well being when backpackers/campers were shouting very loud and chanting. They would not reduce their noise when asked by a few different people and responded with aggression. Even though this site is popular with German visitors hopefully this is rare!

Reviewed 7 months ago

Avoid Camping Fines!

The only camping map where each location is approved by every regional council in NZ. So if it shows on the map, you’re allowed to stay.

The Rankers Camping NZ app, is also in association with…

Laura's avatar

Laura

Ranking: 8/10

Great location right next to Taupo and Huka Falls.
Many long drop toilets but no facilities.
Try to get a spot on the hill in the back! We had a good night -quiet and lots of space left (March).
It’s a good spot and it’s free, I think you shouldn’t judge a campground by the people who camp there!

Reviewed 7 months ago

Magenta McHalick's avatar

Magenta McHalick

Ranking: 9/10

Free, beautiful swimming spot and very close to Taupo (pronounced Toe-Paw don't mess it up!) and Huka falls. Only downside is it is not a well kept secret. Every freedom camper and their dog wants to stay there so be prepared to share personal space. Toilets were worse than most music festival portaloos so take jandals. My best tip would be to stay in the smaller area which most people overlook and so has more space. When driving in turn at the driveway a few metres over from the main entry (on the Taupo side).

Reviewed 7 months ago

Camping NZ App Icon

Camping NZ App

Every camping site on your iPhone™, iPad™ or Android™ phone or tablet. Avoid camping penalties using this council approved app. Featuring offline maps.

Download from the App Store Download Android app on Google Play

Simon Springett's avatar

Simon Springett

Ranking: 6/10

Exceptionally busy and over crowded. Lower lot closed to camping, upper lot has portable toilets.

Reviewed 7 months ago

Amy Lord's avatar

Amy Lord

Ranking: 7/10

Great location! The newer toilets were nice and there was lots of extra port-a-potties closet to the campgrounds. They have a sink for washing dishes. There was plenty of room but very busy at this free spot.

Reviewed 8 months ago

Zelie Frechin's avatar

Zelie Frechin

Ranking: 8/10

Busy campground but quiet at night. Close to the river but we didn't see any mosquitos. Many toilets available and fairly clean.

Reviewed 10 months ago

Annina Jarvinen's avatar

Annina Jarvinen

Ranking: 3/10

Hippie camping and feels like a Coachella festival gone bad. Almost fell into the river while doing dishes and toilets were a mess. The ground is like a swamp so when using a tent I would recommend not to stay in the lower parts as we did. You will get flushed away if it rains. Which it obviously did when we stayed. There was a man standing and laughing at our baby for five minutes at one point? Don't know, don't ask...
But the camping was at least free!

Reviewed 11 months ago

mike panther's avatar

mike panther

New Zealand

Ranking: 3/10

the Taupo council have chained off most of Rieds farm , you can no longer camp by the river side , the max 7 night stay is gone and it a max 3 night stay now, they have allso changed the name , what once was a cool spot to stay isnt so cool anymore . And as of this date that im writing this review 90% of the place is still under chain . what a shame Taupo council !

Reviewed about 1 year ago