Vinegar Hill Reserve

Vinegar Hill Reserve - Overnight Campervan Parking

(Putai Ngahere)

Vinegar Hill Reserve

Overnight Campervan Parking


15 Rankers Reviews

4 Face-to-Face

20 Basic Camping

1 Marton


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The southern camping area when it's very busy.


One of the district's most popular and well-used picnic and camping reserves.

The name of the reserve, "Putai Ngahere" or "Putai's Forest" is named in remembrance of Putai, the ancestor of Utiku Potaka, a prominent Ngati Hauiti rangatira of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The Putai Ngahere reserve is situated on an expanse of land known as Otamakapua which is an integral part of the Ngati Hauiti tribal estate. Some culturally significant sites in the immediate vicinity of the reserve
include the cemetery of Manukahoka (father of Putai) and the river crossing called Tauahuruhuru (named after an incident involving Hauiti's mother Paratuae).

At the northern end of the reserve itself are the rapids known as Hauhau which were notoriously hazardous to the old totara dug-out canoes traditionally used on the Rangitikei River.

The other name "Vinegar Hill" was derived after a bullock cart carrying barrels of vinegar overturned on the muddy track on the hillside, covering the hillside in vinegar.

There are large open grass areas to recreate and a great river for swimming, canoeing, and fishing. There are two main camping areas shown on the map.

This is a beautiful and special site. Please help us care for and protect it.

Main attractions

The bush entrance to the reserve features giant redwood, totara and other native species. The reserve provides for a range of recreation activities including swimming, fishing, whitewater rafting and canoeing. It is a popular holiday camping spot for families and large groups. There are three main camping areas but people can camp where they wish. There are showers (cold) available but no BBQ's.

We have been working hard to ensure we provide a safe and enjoyable place for everyone over summer so we ask that you read and respect the following guidelines:

• Use the litter bins provided or take your litter away with you.
• Be considerate. Other people have the right to stay here as well.
• Please keep noise down to a respectful level after 11pm. For New Year's Eve this will be after 2am.
• Bonfires and the use of wood fires is prohibited.
• Drink driving laws apply within the reserve.
• No dogs are permitted on the reserve between Labour weekend and Easter weekend.

Summer season

Vinegar Hill is the place to be over the Summer months. It is the hub for our LGBTQ community over New Years as well. Fees to stay at Vinegar Hill come into effect December 15th through to February 9th. Outside of that period camping is free.


Feature Value Info


Vinegar Hill Reserve

Commercial organisation


North IslandManawatu - WanganuiMarton


  • Basic Camping


Showing 8 reviews of 15.

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Bette Cosgrove's avatar

Bette Cosgrove

Ranking: 10/10

So much space! Toilets and showers very well maintained. Great quiet winter stop over with very few people, and North end only is open over winter months. Walking along the river, and through the bush is lovely. Imagine this is super popular in summer. River current dangerously strong in the wet months. History of the area is very interesting. Perfect stop over if you're doing the Manawatu Scenic Route loop through the Rangitikei and Manawatu.

Reviewed 11 months ago

Mike Howe's avatar

Mike Howe

New Zealand

Ranking: 8/10

Huge grassy area alongside a beautiful river. Plenty space to find your own private campsite. We found a spot in the trees overlooking the river. No road noise unless you park near the bridge.

Clean toilets and cold showers.

Unfortunately some locals seem to use this space as a Saturday night haunt and they aren’t interested in cleaning up after their riverside fires and booze fests. We did our bit and picked up a couple of bags of cans and broken bottles once they had their fun.

Reviewed about 3 years ago and experienced in March 2018

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Joseph Staples's avatar

Joseph Staples


Ranking: 10/10

Absolutely beautiful -- stayed two nights. Parked our rented camper overlooking the river and listened to the water rushing by 24/7. Flush toilets and cold showers provided. Cost $6 per person. Not crowded, but enough people nearby to feel comfortable. We understand that it can be rather crowded Christmas/New Years, but was most pleasant late January. Will be back!

Reviewed over 5 years ago

Henny Lee's avatar

Henny Lee

Ranking: 10/10

Secluded valley. For self-contained vehicles only. Woke up to beautiful sound of birds. Nature at its best. When you come out of the very small road through the woods, check out the left side then the right side. Right side is better, we think. Very bright in the morning. Awesome view.

Reviewed about 6 years ago

Connie Hopper's avatar

Connie Hopper

Ranking: 10/10

This a great spot, right by the river, lots of space & toilets. Showers too but didn't test those, was too cold!

Reviewed over 6 years ago

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Natalia Lukito's avatar

Natalia Lukito

Ranking: 7/10

The area was nice and peaceful with the river just around. We had a lot of space. The toilet was very dark, it felt a bit creepy. But it was not too dirty. Theres a shower (cold water, you gotta be brave) which is a plus.

Reviewed over 7 years ago

Sola Freeman's avatar

Sola Freeman

Ranking: 8/10

Great swimming hole. Plenty of spaces to camp. Busy in weekends and can get bit loud during summer weekends, and therefore unfortunately there can be bit of rubbish around. New toilet block clean and tidy. Lovely place for families, can take pets and great to have fire to toast marshmallows!

Reviewed over 7 years ago

Tom Hill's avatar

Tom Hill

United Kingdom

Ranking: 8/10

Next to the river and could have campfires. Nice big grass area and showers/toilets.

Reviewed over 7 years ago and experienced in March 2014