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North IslandTaupo RegionTaupo

Free Campsite on the Waikato River just out of Taupo.

Please note: Reid’s Farm is closed to campers between May 1 and October 1 for site maintenance, in line with its reserve management plan. Part of Reid’s Farm will be reopened between Friday 9 June and Friday 14 July to accommodate DHL New Zealand Lions Series 2017 supporters who will pass through the district in campervans.

Free camping is permitted on this recreation reserve. Maximum length of stay up to 7 nights in any consecutive 14 night period.

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, but refuse and recycling bins are provided. 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.

Photo taken from a campsite

Photo taken from a campsite

Claire Taylor

Plenty of nooks and crannies.

Plenty of nooks and crannies.

New toilets

New toilets


Taupo Address:
5km north of Taupo Township

Operating Season And Hours: Reid’s Farm is closed to campers between May 1 and October 1 for site maintenance, in line with its reserve management plan. Part of Reid’s Farm will be reopened between Friday 9 June and Friday 14 July to accommodate DHL New Zealand Lions Series 2017 supporters who will pass through the district in campervans.


  • 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.

182 reviews with the most recent first, showing page 2 of 14.

Lucile Gendre's avatar

Lucile Gendre

Ranking: 7/10

OK it's free but no water supply, smelly toilets in the evening (better in the morning because someone came to clean). Quite noisy, a lot of room but always very busy. Really well located.

Freddy Gates's avatar

Freddy Gates

Ranking: 1/10

Hideous!! Trashed by unsavoury characters... disrespect to the max.

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Corinna Fischer's avatar

Corinna Fischer

Ranking: 5/10

The campsite itself is nice. Near Taupo and next to a river. A lot of people we there when we arrived at 5 pm but many arrived way later and still got a spot. The big minus was the long drop toilets that smelled so bad and was really dirty. Also there were many flies inside.

Brandon's avatar


Ranking: 9/10

Brilliant campsite right on the river. Would recommend this site.

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Josh Coombes's avatar

Josh Coombes

New Zealand

Ranking: 1/10

Suppose I didn't expect much from a free campsite, but this place should be dodged. Disgusting toilets, disrespectful campers, brazen thievery, loud cars all hours who only come into the campsite to sound thier horns at 3am. If you want peace and quiet, your better off sleeping in a music festival porta loo. Several police visits didn't stop foreign tourists from throwing bottles at people. Lived in taupo a long time and heard about this place, but my experience of it resembles a festering cesspool. What a shame for what seemed like a peaceful place. AVOID.

Harriet Smith's avatar

Harriet Smith

Ranking: 7/10

Very, very busy. Get here early for a good spot (February 2016). Toilets have paper and are reasonably clean. Use the super loo next to Taupo library for a $2 hot shower and use of a hairdryer!

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Megan Jurgensmeyer's avatar

Megan Jurgensmeyer

United States

Ranking: 6/10

We were very thankful for a free place to stay near Taupo! Very nice view and campsite but it was very crowded

Tai T's avatar

Tai T

Ranking: 7/10

If you want a great place to stay and like to meet a lot of people you can stay there. Otherwise it will be noisy at night. It's great to stay for one or two nights. The toilet is dirty so if you need to do your business you better look for an other toilet.

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Rima's avatar


Ranking: 10/10

Free!!!:) Clean toilets (long drop). Nice location, next to the river and quiet. If you get early you can get a nice spot. People normally arrive around 5pm. It does get crowded but it's normal because it's free.

Ernst Mayerhofer's avatar

Ernst Mayerhofer

Ranking: 8/10

Beautiful campsite near the river. We stayed there one night in low season. Despite a lot of people being there, cosy and not noisy. Only toilets and no tap water. We showered in the Taupo iSite for $2,50 pp. (Open from 9am to 4.30pm).

Diandra Buesen's avatar

Diandra Buesen

Ranking: 6/10

The campsite is right at a river, that's really nice. But it is really crowded and very noisy. Prepare yourself that you might have some party people here who don't really care about other campers when it comes to being quiet as it gets later. The toilets are ok, but really smelly. Good thing is that you have rubbish bins here and that this campsite is free.

Jan B's avatar

Jan B

Czech Republic

Ranking: 4/10

Good that it is for everyone. On the other hand, very crowded, noisy and dirty. Often a party place.

Sarah Dial's avatar

Sarah Dial

United Kingdom

Ranking: 10/10

Awesome. Lots of room, lots of riverside spaces. You can go swimming on a sunny day. Lots of ducks around. Clean long drops with hand sanitiser. Bring your own water. Oh, and it's free!