Little Waipa Reserve

Little Waipa Reserve

Lake Karapiro


35 Rankers Reviews

2 Face-to-Face

4 Putaruru

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Little Waipa reserve is on the banks of Lake Karapiro and accessed via Horahora road, it’s a popular spot for day-trippers. It is slightly elevated with great views of the lake and a lovely grassy area leading down to a boat ramp at the lake shore and river inlet.

Self-contained caravans and campervans can stay the first two nights free then a camping permits is required for a longer stay. Camping in tents and vehicles required a camping permit. This requires a camping permit which can be purchased from the South Waikato District Council offices or the district’s Information Centres. Click Online Booking Button above.


Feature Value Info


South Waikato District Council

Local government organisation


North IslandWaikatoPutaruru


  • Freedom Camping
  • Free


  • 35 Rankers Reviews

    Quick Quotes

    • Have stayed here for 5 nights now.
    • Spacious local council site beside lake.
    • Free camping!
    • Quiet and beautiful place.
    • Very beautiful and safe place.

    Rating Distribution

    Rating Count Percentage
    10/10 17
    9/10 7
    8/10 1
    7/10 5
    6/10 2
    5/10 0
    4/10 1
    3/10 1
    2/10 0
    1/10 1
  • Reviewed 7 months ago


    toilets clean, but some people used them for damping their toilets.

    A nice spot on the river bank, but it was overcrowded on weekends, a lot of dogs and some not on the lash,

    Hot showers were unexpected nice surprise.

    Olga's avatar


  • Reviewed 7 months ago


    Have stayed here for 5 nights now.

    The info on rankers says it costs but it is actually free. You can stay for 2 nights, if longer apply online for a free permit. The toilets are clean, there are hot showers and the river is wonderful for swimming - easy access and sandy bottom. This is a 5 knot max speed area for boats so NO water skiing, NO jet skis. Lots of big trees for shade, friendly campers, quiet. We love it

    Max maxwell's avatar

    Max maxwell

  • Reviewed almost 2 years ago


    Awesome spot right on the river with lovely shade trees.

    We had river views through every window in our caravan and the numerous swans and ducks swimming by made it particularly picturesque. The track for cycling or walking starts from the camp area providing a great activity spot. There is a boat and kayak launch site as well. There are shower facilities, recycling and very clean toilets (non flush). Stayed 2 nights and will definitely be back again.

    Time Out's avatar

    Time Out

  • Reviewed over 2 years ago


    Under the site’s description it says no showers.

    We have just stayed there and yes there are showers. Great place to stay. Loved it. We freedom camped in our camper.

    Allen Goodall's avatar

    Allen Goodall

  • Reviewed over 3 years ago


    Amazing the new facilities at this camp now has showers (Cold but refreshing) and BBqs The facilities were as usual spotlessly clean.

    Lawns mowed and now showing signs of the hot weather. It has to be my favourite camp site on the Waikato river.

    Rod Brown's avatar

    Rod Brown

  • Reviewed over 3 years ago


    Beautiful spot.

    20+ MHs plus caravans & tents but tons of space. Very peaceful even though a lot of people there. No cellphone cover but is that a bad that’s not a bad thing.

    John Plane's avatar

    John Plane

    New Zealand

  • Reviewed over 3 years ago


    Lovely place at riverside and pretty well equipped (toilets and BBQ).

    Will soon get showers and a 2nd BBQ.

    Easy and fast application for free permit via website

    Roland Hänni's avatar

    Roland Hänni

  • Reviewed over 4 years ago


    Cute little spot next to the river.

    Very peaceful and quiet. Two long drop toilets. Watch out for sandflies.

    Alyson Reid's avatar

    Alyson Reid

  • Reviewed about 5 years ago


    Beautiful location but didn't end up staying the night because of other park guests.

    Did not feel safe.

    Haley Everitt's avatar

    Haley Everitt

  • Reviewed over 5 years ago


    Amazing location and family friendly.

    We spent two nights over Waitangi Weekend and it was amazingly relaxing. For those into mountain biking the trails around are fantastic including a crazy long boardwalk area. Bring toilet paper!!

    Only downside is no water but other than that was a sensational spot.

    Helen Quirk's avatar

    Helen Quirk

  • Reviewed over 5 years ago


    Spaceous campground.

    Stayed here in January, I guess there were about 30 vans and cars around but it didn't really feel crowded. Longdrops are very clean and no need to take your waste with you. Very close to Hobbiton!

    Superfriendly Dutch (Frysian) campwarden lives at the end of the road, came by to say hi to all campers when I was there. Since I was travelling alone he told me that I could always come see them if I needed any help, that made me feel really safe.

    Nice views on the lake, easy to find. One of the best free campgrounds I encountered in NZ.

    Maaike Goudriaan's avatar

    Maaike Goudriaan


  • Reviewed over 5 years ago


    We stayed two wonderful nights in out family tent on the water-front.

    Quiet all night - expect for the birds and fish jumping [fantastic]. We had a great time kayaking and walking the river trail., No trouble launching kayaks in the water by the ramp at the north end of the camp. We are experienced, so have wheels for the kayak because you never know how far you have to launch from the car, but if you don't you could always drive your kayak up to the ramp. Happy to have the Warden there, so rules are obeyed and there is no issues to deal with. Camping by permit although a few days you can stay without before you require this. Other guys with boats, but just for fishing etc, because there is a strict 5 knot speed limit. Little bit of water weed around the banks but a few areas you can swim near the boat ramp. Didn't see any free roaming dogs, except for some self contained pets that were well managed, self contained, and not an issue for anybody. Couldn't find any fault with this site. Remember to pack enough water for the duration of your stay.

    Mark's avatar


    New Zealand

  • Reviewed over 5 years ago


    First night in New Zealand, excited about free camp site as per Camping NZ App.

    On arrival told by camp "warden" can't tent camp in certain spot in shade as reserved for camper vans. So not "first in first served" unless you have a van. Not sure why vans get shade priority. Also says pet free camp site but many regular camper van owners with yapping dogs. Difficult to access water as camper vans parked alway along the water front. Wouldn't recommend it if your tenting, very unfriendly. Great if your in a van looking for doggy friendly camping.

    Alison Males's avatar

    Alison Males

  • Reviewed about 6 years ago


    Lovely large grassy, treed area right on the river.

    Was very wet when we were there, but ground was still firm enough to take 2 motorhomes without bogging or digging up the grass. Long drop toilets were very clean. Signs indicate that a permit is needed to camp there, but we arrived late in the afternoon and didn't have a permit. No one approached us for the required info.

    Very nice spot.

    Michelle Smit's avatar

    Michelle Smit


  • Reviewed about 6 years ago


    Beautiful spot and really easy to find, just watch out as the sign on the main road is close to the turn off so it's easy to miss.

    Loads of space and really peaceful.

    Lauren Smith's avatar

    Lauren Smith

  • Reviewed about 6 years ago


    A large campground right on the Waikato River Trail.

    We stayed in this lovely treed spot on the river's edge for two nights while we cycled to the north and south on the bike trail. There were several other campers when we stayed in April.

    Denise Farr's avatar

    Denise Farr

  • Reviewed about 6 years ago


    We were the only campervan on the site.

    After 1 hour two cars came, driving very fast around the campsite and left. It looked a bit suspicious but we didn't pay much attention. However, 1 hour later, a red "sport car" (old model - tried to read the registration but was too fast) came and drifted around in the campsite, getting dangerously close to our van, they did that during 10 minutes and at the end they stopped next to us, shouted something, and drove off very fast. Horror.

    Wiola and Nico's avatar

    Wiola and Nico

  • Reviewed over 6 years ago


    We stayed only one night best wished we could have stayed longer.

    There is a nice gravel running/biking trail that goes a very good distance. The toilet was well maintained but there is no running water on the site so bring your own.

    Trent Davis's avatar

    Trent Davis

  • Reviewed over 6 years ago


    Very beautiful and safe place.

    Clean toilets, I recommend this camping site.

    Fernando Silva's avatar

    Fernando Silva

  • Reviewed over 6 years ago


    What you would expect for a free site.

    Went there and spent a night and it was pissing down so didn't really do or see a lot. Long drop toilets were clean though.

    Bryant Faaola's avatar

    Bryant Faaola

    New Zealand