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North IslandHawkes BayNapier

A free, basic campsite with its own hot springs nestled within native bush.
What's the catch?!
We suppose the 1 hour gravel access road would be it - Unsuited to large campervans and caravans.

Relax at the nearby thermal springs or go tramping, fishing, swimming or rafting. Hunt sika and red deer in the park. The river offers rainbow and brown trout.

Photos

Maps

Contact

Phone: (06) 834 3111

Phone (intl): +64 6 834 3111

Napier Address:
Kaweka Forest Park, Hawkes Bay

15 reviews with the most recent first, showing page 1 of 2.

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 😍

Sean McLaren's avatar

Sean McLaren

Ranking: 10/10

This was one of my most favorite spot. Quiet. Not busy on the week days in February when we were there. Clean. Primitive but nice. Pit toilet. Water is from a stream. Have to boil or filter yourself.

Camp host was very nice.

The river is a 5 min walk from the campsite. But it is quite a steep hill. The hot tubs are 2 min walk from the campsite with a some what steep hill but better than the walk to the river.

MOST important is the drive into campsite. The road from Napier is curvy and long. Then you drive on a gravel road for 30 mins which feels like an hour. At which point you are on a single lane steep hills and tight turns a supreme caution is necessary or else you could die or be seriously injured. When your on this road the cliff is probably 600-800 feet down.

Be sure if you are uncomfortably driving on non paved wilderness roads this may not be for you. They road is well maintained in my opinion. I made it in a Toyota Estima no problem. I saw a Nissan Versa and Audi station wagon. I never bottomed out or hit any part of the frame.

But beautiful spot. Possibly one of my most loved.

Also beware of the bugs at dusk to night time.

Reviewed 4 months ago

Jess's avatar

Jess

Ranking: 6/10

Be warned there is a Ford about 5km before the campsite which had red indicators saying do not cross. I walked it and it really didn't seem doable without a 4x4 so we couldn't get to the site although we`d done a 90 min d-tour to get to it. Shame as I'm sure it is a great place to camp. There were were signs all the way there suggesting the road was open so there could certainly be better advice here!

Reviewed 4 months ago

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Angela Parody's avatar

Angela Parody

Ranking: 9/10

I definitely recommend this place! Nice space to camp, some tables for picnic, and hot pools! Besides the toilet is quite nice (ample) compering to the typical tiny camping toilets. Just maybe quite crowded in peak seasons.

Reviewed over 1 year ago

Asta Reiter's avatar

Asta Reiter

Ranking: 10/10

One of the best spots so far in the North Island. Many New Zealanders. Not many tourists. Nice camp warden. Clean toilet, with the smell of citrus. And beautiful hot pools. To cool down you can climb down to the river and jump in.

Reviewed over 2 years ago

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Waldo Andersen's avatar

Waldo Andersen

New Zealand

Ranking: 3/10

Great spot to relax. I have been coming to this spot for over 15 years and previously you would not find another person at the pools. Now there is always people there and some times very crowded. Tourist and others are leaving large amounts of rubbish there and not cleaning up. Don't waste your time driving over rutted rocky gravel road just to sit in this hot pool.
If how ever you going to actually do some hiking / tramping or hunting / fishing it is a good spot to start from. BUT PICK UP YOUR RUBBISH.
Also have seen a few cars broken into while people sitting in the hot pools and with no cell phone signal you may be stranded if you break down.

Reviewed over 2 years ago and experienced in October 2015

Blair Anderson's avatar

Blair Anderson

New Zealand

Ranking: 10/10

Amazing place

Reviewed almost 3 years ago and experienced in January 2015

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…

Yang Zhang's avatar

Yang Zhang

New Zealand

Ranking: 8/10

Nice place with natural hot pool! Remember there are more campsites if you go on driving after you see the campsite sign. And more sites within the bushes as well. Bring your own coal for the BBQ. No drinking water or tap water.

Reviewed over 3 years ago

Leith Hayllar's avatar

Leith Hayllar

Ranking: 10/10

One of the best spots for free. Toilet facilities, BBQs views over native bush and the mighty Mohaka and to top it off great maintained easy to access hot pools, also over looking native bush.

Reviewed over 3 years ago

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

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Adele Grandguillot's avatar

Adele Grandguillot

France

Ranking: 8/10

Quiet, BBQ, stream, long gravel access.

Reviewed almost 4 years ago and experienced in March 2014

Drame Mahmadou's avatar

Drame Mahmadou

France

Ranking: 10/10

Good swim, in the wild, good BBQ.

Reviewed almost 4 years ago and experienced in March 2014

Margreth Lydie's avatar

Margreth Lydie

France

Ranking: 7/10

No drinking water access, but completely FREE.

Reviewed almost 4 years ago and experienced in January 2014

Lea Bulle's avatar

Lea Bulle

France

Ranking: 10/10

Very good campsite for free with hot pools.

Reviewed almost 5 years ago and experienced in February 2013

Tony and Helene's avatar

Tony and Helene

France

Ranking: 10/10

It was awesome to relax in the natural hot springs with a beautiful view of the mountains.

Reviewed about 5 years ago and experienced in February 2013

  • Unpowered Campsite

    Number of tent sites - 10. Picnic shelter available. No campervans.

15 reviews with the most recent first, showing page 1 of 2.

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 😍

Sean McLaren's avatar

Sean McLaren

Ranking: 10/10

This was one of my most favorite spot. Quiet. Not busy on the week days in February when we were there. Clean. Primitive but nice. Pit toilet. Water is from a stream. Have to boil or filter yourself.

Camp host was very nice.

The river is a 5 min walk from the campsite. But it is quite a steep hill. The hot tubs are 2 min walk from the campsite with a some what steep hill but better than the walk to the river.

MOST important is the drive into campsite. The road from Napier is curvy and long. Then you drive on a gravel road for 30 mins which feels like an hour. At which point you are on a single lane steep hills and tight turns a supreme caution is necessary or else you could die or be seriously injured. When your on this road the cliff is probably 600-800 feet down.

Be sure if you are uncomfortably driving on non paved wilderness roads this may not be for you. They road is well maintained in my opinion. I made it in a Toyota Estima no problem. I saw a Nissan Versa and Audi station wagon. I never bottomed out or hit any part of the frame.

But beautiful spot. Possibly one of my most loved.

Also beware of the bugs at dusk to night time.

Reviewed 4 months ago

Jess's avatar

Jess

Ranking: 6/10

Be warned there is a Ford about 5km before the campsite which had red indicators saying do not cross. I walked it and it really didn't seem doable without a 4x4 so we couldn't get to the site although we`d done a 90 min d-tour to get to it. Shame as I'm sure it is a great place to camp. There were were signs all the way there suggesting the road was open so there could certainly be better advice here!

Reviewed 4 months ago

Conservation Campsite Pass

Save up to 70% on campsite fees! Support conservation and experience the natural beauty of NZ. 96 Department of Conservation campsites, one convenient pass.

Get the Pass

Angela Parody's avatar

Angela Parody

Ranking: 9/10

I definitely recommend this place! Nice space to camp, some tables for picnic, and hot pools! Besides the toilet is quite nice (ample) compering to the typical tiny camping toilets. Just maybe quite crowded in peak seasons.

Reviewed over 1 year ago

Asta Reiter's avatar

Asta Reiter

Ranking: 10/10

One of the best spots so far in the North Island. Many New Zealanders. Not many tourists. Nice camp warden. Clean toilet, with the smell of citrus. And beautiful hot pools. To cool down you can climb down to the river and jump in.

Reviewed over 2 years ago

Top Ranked NZ Deals Pass

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

Get deals pass

Waldo Andersen's avatar

Waldo Andersen

New Zealand

Ranking: 3/10

Great spot to relax. I have been coming to this spot for over 15 years and previously you would not find another person at the pools. Now there is always people there and some times very crowded. Tourist and others are leaving large amounts of rubbish there and not cleaning up. Don't waste your time driving over rutted rocky gravel road just to sit in this hot pool.
If how ever you going to actually do some hiking / tramping or hunting / fishing it is a good spot to start from. BUT PICK UP YOUR RUBBISH.
Also have seen a few cars broken into while people sitting in the hot pools and with no cell phone signal you may be stranded if you break down.

Reviewed over 2 years ago and experienced in October 2015

Blair Anderson's avatar

Blair Anderson

New Zealand

Ranking: 10/10

Amazing place

Reviewed almost 3 years ago and experienced in January 2015

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…

Yang Zhang's avatar

Yang Zhang

New Zealand

Ranking: 8/10

Nice place with natural hot pool! Remember there are more campsites if you go on driving after you see the campsite sign. And more sites within the bushes as well. Bring your own coal for the BBQ. No drinking water or tap water.

Reviewed over 3 years ago

Leith Hayllar's avatar

Leith Hayllar

Ranking: 10/10

One of the best spots for free. Toilet facilities, BBQs views over native bush and the mighty Mohaka and to top it off great maintained easy to access hot pools, also over looking native bush.

Reviewed over 3 years 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

Adele Grandguillot's avatar

Adele Grandguillot

France

Ranking: 8/10

Quiet, BBQ, stream, long gravel access.

Reviewed almost 4 years ago and experienced in March 2014

Drame Mahmadou's avatar

Drame Mahmadou

France

Ranking: 10/10

Good swim, in the wild, good BBQ.

Reviewed almost 4 years ago and experienced in March 2014

Margreth Lydie's avatar

Margreth Lydie

France

Ranking: 7/10

No drinking water access, but completely FREE.

Reviewed almost 4 years ago and experienced in January 2014

Lea Bulle's avatar

Lea Bulle

France

Ranking: 10/10

Very good campsite for free with hot pools.

Reviewed almost 5 years ago and experienced in February 2013

Tony and Helene's avatar

Tony and Helene

France

Ranking: 10/10

It was awesome to relax in the natural hot springs with a beautiful view of the mountains.

Reviewed about 5 years ago and experienced in February 2013