Lake Maraetai Camping Reserve

Lake Maraetai Camping Reserve



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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 9 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 9 months ago

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 12 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

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

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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

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

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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

Kerutoto Nash's avatar

Kerutoto Nash

Ranking: 9/10

Stunning location right on the lake. Heaps of space. Toilets nice and clean and open all night. Friendly guy runs the cafe, hires bikes and kayaks. Awesome spot.

Reviewed almost 4 years ago

Denise Farr's avatar

Denise Farr

Ranking: 10/10

Lovely spot on the waters edge. Very handy if you want to cycle the Waikato River Trails.

Reviewed over 4 years ago

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Ellen Schmitz's avatar

Ellen Schmitz

Ranking: 9/10

Very nice area, kind of a park. Toilets available. A little cafe is there as well. A bit busy over the day, lots of locals spending their free time there. It's fun to watch the kiwis spending their time with their families and tiny boats with huge engines!!!! After dark, some local teenagers made some noise, but they weren't angry. So, nothing wrong with this place.

Reviewed almost 5 years ago

P Kolk's avatar

P Kolk


Ranking: 3/10

We did not feel safe.

Stayed here around april, travelling around New Zealand with a motorhome and staying at a mix of camspites (DOC, Free and paid). This was actually the first/ only place we did not feel safe and uncomfortable. Arriving at the place it felt like an excellent place to stay, it is very nicely situated on the lake ( during the day frequently visited by families and popular for wake boarding). However after dark there were other businesses going on. People driving in and out, drinking at the place. So maybe we were unlucky however we would never stay here again.

Reviewed over 5 years ago

James Webster's avatar

James Webster

Ranking: 10/10

Great campsite by a lake, lovely view at sunrise. 5 powered hookups available for a super cheap $5. Small cafe and toilets available too. Lovely spot!

Reviewed over 5 years ago

Roland Oldengarm's avatar

Roland Oldengarm

Ranking: 9/10

Lovely campground! A lot of space, even in summer (February). Next to the river, didn't look safe for swimming though. We stayed here and went to Hobbiton next day, only 25 minute drive.

Reviewed over 5 years ago

Lee Whitley's avatar

Lee Whitley

United Kingdom

Ranking: 10/10

This place is beautiful, so unreal, we arrived late at night in heavy fog, just drive straight to the end of Lake Road and the BUS STOP CAFE is where you can park, can go on around further but the toilets are beside the café, cleaned every morning and your right beside the lake. Gary the café owner very helpful just go speak to him and give you tips, we hired the kayak and went down the lake and it was unreal defo worth the adventure. There is power available though make sure you have long power cable to reach power units, ours was short but as had small camper we sneaked close to the rocks and made it reach. Stayed extra nights it was so beaut!

Reviewed over 6 years ago

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Peter elsleysams's avatar

Peter elsleysams


Ranking: 10/10

Very scenic with friendly people. Some power sites $5 per night.

Reviewed over 6 years ago and experienced in December 2013

Brian's avatar


United States

Ranking: 7/10

Very pretty lake. Lots of birds. Don't expect to plug in. No one there seemed to be aware of any powered sites in the park. Still a nice place to park and the location fit well in our travel plans.

Reviewed almost 7 years ago

David Restell's avatar

David Restell

United Kingdom

Ranking: 10/10

My girlfriend and I love this place, have stayed in summer, winter and plan to head back again.

+ Fantastically cheap, $5 power hookup and obviously free to not,
+ Toilets couch toilets and cleaned daily,
+ Right on the lake which is perfect for a swim in summer,
+ Right next to the bus stop cafe which has some awesome food and is reasonably priced,
+ Awesome views of the surrounding woods and lake

We love this place, it's a little out of traditional tourist stops but if you like quiet and calm head here for a stay.

Reviewed about 7 years ago

hoppy's avatar


New Zealand

Ranking: 8/10

Great to hear children playing in the playground even if a bit noisy. Also good early morning wakeup call as fishermen launch their boats, but a great place to stay overnight, with flush toilets on site!!! Great

Reviewed almost 8 years ago

Peekaboo's avatar



Ranking: 10/10

great spot for an autumn stop in the campervan. Small area to set up with basic toilets and access to power. Right next door is The Bus Stop Cafe serving wonderful hot chips and a mean coffee. Lovely view straight out to the lake - very tranquil this time of year though I hear it gets busy in Summer.

Reviewed over 8 years ago

Peter's avatar



Ranking: 8/10

A pretty spot, busy during the day with people using the lake for various recreational activities however it's really quiet and peaceful at night. Flush toilets and running water. If you want power you'll need to camp near the cafe otherwise you can get a little more secluded spot.

We loved watching the moon rise over the lake the night we were there.

Reviewed over 8 years ago