Hipapatua / Reid's Farm Recreation...

Hipapatua / Reid's Farm Recreation Reserve Free Campsite




194 Rankers Reviews

130 Face-to-Face

302 Basic Camping

57 Taupo



Photo taken from a campsite
Plenty of nooks and crannies.
New toilets


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.


Feature Value Info


North IslandTaupo RegionTaupo


  • Basic Camping
  • Free

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.



  • 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.


Showing 13 reviews of 189.

Caro Del's avatar

Caro Del

Ranking: 7/10

Lovely settings and facilities, however the site was cramped (early February) so not our idea of freedom camping. We ended up leaving. Might be great off season.

Reviewed 13 days ago

Trudy Worboys's avatar

Trudy Worboys


Ranking: 10/10

Very busy, we got here late 10pm and were lucky to get a spot. Very quiet only portoloos, we left early but it was a nice sleep nonetheless. Thanks for having this spot available

Reviewed 22 days ago

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Tinker traveler's avatar

Tinker traveler

Ranking: 5/10

Main camp site is closed at night but another site with portaloos has been set up which was still nice to camp, with access to the main site and facilities open in the day time.
Main site is beautiful :)

Reviewed about 1 month ago

Hanna's avatar


Ranking: 8/10

First experience of free camping with the kids. Loved it! Lots of lots of people, but quiet after 22:00 (in the period we were there :)
Close to Huka falls, Taupo and the hot pool.

Reviewed 3 months ago

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Juliane's avatar


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 9 months ago

Peacock's avatar


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 10 months ago

Patty's avatar


Ranking: 7/10

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

Reviewed 11 months ago

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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 11 months ago

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 11 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 11 months ago

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Laura's avatar


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 11 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 11 months ago

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 11 months ago