Lake Maraetai Camping Reserve

Lake Maraetai Camping Reserve




26 Rankers Reviews

1 Face-to-Face

44 Basic Camping

2 Tokoroa


Get the best out of it. Here's how…



Free camping on the Mangakino Recreation reserve on the shore of Lake Maraetai.

This reserve is located in Mangakino township on the edge of Lake Maraetai at the end of Lake Road. The main camping area is close to the toilet block, and a limited number of power outlets are available here. Self-contained vehicles with their own toilet facilities can camp further around the lake shore. There is no charge for camping here. Campers may stay a maximum of 2 nights, but this is reduced to 1 night between Christmas day and 10 January.

This camping area is close to Lake Maraetai's launching ramp and jetty, and within walking distance of Mangakino village. The Bus Stop Cafe is on-site and can provide excellent coffee and food to campers.


Feature Value Info


North IslandWaikatoTokoroa


  • Basic Camping
  • Free




Showing 13 reviews of 26.

Get the best out of it. Here's how…

Teghan's avatar


Ranking: 9/10

Quite busy and noisy around the main camping area. Toilets are nice and clean. If you have your own toilet facility, drive down the shore a bit to a beautiful, quiet area to camp.

Reviewed 8 months ago

Rocinante's avatar


Ranking: 10/10

Our first night in a free camping site and if we find more like this one we will be very very happy. Toilets were immaculate, other campers were great and not withstanding there was an annual event on the following day there was plenty of room between the lake and the golf course.

Reviewed 8 months ago

Conservation Campsite Pass

Save up to 70% on campsite fees! Support conservation and experience the natural beauty of NZ. 78 Department of Conservation campsites, one convenient pass.

Get the Pass

Richard and Anne Amphlett's avatar

Richard and Anne Amphlett


Ranking: 10/10

There is an area next to the Bus Stop Café, where there were several campervans pulled up, close to the public toilets. We chose to move further south to a very large secluded area, bounded on one side by the lake, and the other by the golf course.
We had a huge area all to ourselves, and we were entertained by quite a variety of bird life.
There is a lovely walkway along by the lake which is used by locals to walk their dogs.
This is a really nice free camp -- highly recommended!

Reviewed 11 months ago

Brigid's avatar


Ranking: 10/10

I stayed for a couple of nights, a bit further round from where the toilets and showers are, on what a local called 'Dog Island' within the dog walking area as I had 3 dogs with me while en route between Gisborne and New Plymouth. A very beautiful and peaceful part of the country I have not been to before. While it rained heavily on the day that I spent there it was great to be in a spot where the dogs were safe. Also very glad I spoke to the local chap before parking the caravan as he warned me bits could get very boggy in rain.

Reviewed over 1 year 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

Kristen's avatar


Ranking: 9/10

Can't believe this campsite is free! It isn't a huge space and a lot of larger RVs frequent the area, so i would say to arrive early. We got there around 4pm on a weekend and were able to snag the last lake front spot.
You can swim in the lake or rent kayaks from the small cafe that's onsite. It seems to be an area popular with families.
$2 showers (4 minutes) are available and the flush toilets were clean. There was also a large sink and a seperate small drinking water fountain availble.

Reviewed over 1 year ago

Kirsty Brewin's avatar

Kirsty Brewin

New Zealand

Ranking: 10/10

Stayed here a couple of nights just after boxing day. I got a park overlooking the lake. A nice place to bring the kids and has a cute little cafe onsite. Would stay again.

Reviewed over 1 year ago and experienced in December 2018

QueeenBeee's avatar


Ranking: 10/10

If you like sleeping next to a beautiful lake, surely try this one! The place is great, with good toilets, showers for coins and on top of that - free BBQ!

Reviewed over 1 year ago

Avoid Camping Fines!

Each camping location is approved by a 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…

Rob's avatar


Ranking: 9/10

This would be one of the nicest spots I've found in the North Island after 2 years travelling in my motorhome.

Reviewed over 1 year ago

Zoe M's avatar

Zoe M

Ranking: 9/10

Great camping spot. Flush toilet, water, wash up sink, and a hot shower could be bought for $2 from the portable shower unit. The Waikato River bike trail can be accessed from here, great ride or walk out to the suspension bridge or dam. Beautiful calm morning on the lake, great for swimming.

Reviewed over 1 year ago

Julie's avatar


Ranking: 9/10

Great spot right beside the lake. Flush toilets with a sink. Grass areas to park on with lake views. Lake was really nice to swim in and popular with the locals. There is a shop beside the lake selling food and renting kayaks. There is also a play ground. Only downside was there was a lot of people coming and going to access the lake.

Reviewed almost 2 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

Ed's avatar


Ranking: 9/10

Nice spot for camping. Good facilities and cafe owner is very friendly

Reviewed almost 2 years ago

Viola Cube's avatar

Viola Cube

Ranking: 9/10

Nice and cheap spot.
Good for non- self contained vans. Right at a beautiful lake. Nice little cafe close by. Flush toilets and the best, you can have power for $5pp which is really rare in NZ.
Don't come too late, not much space at the power plugs.

Reviewed about 3 years ago

Maartje Mulders's avatar

Maartje Mulders

Ranking: 7/10

Stayed here on a very rainy day which may have influenced the rating. Cafe turned out to be closed (we stayed early April, so it may only run during summer), and one guy sleeping in his car came across a little sketchy. However: heaps of other campervans parked too, and the toilets were very clean! On a sunny day would probably be busier, as during big pouring down already had a little crowd. View of the lake is gorgeous and when weather (and season) allow you can rent kayaks to go on the lake which is awesome! Only downside: no shower facilities.

Reviewed over 3 years ago