Cobb River Campsite

Cobb River Campsite


17 Rankers Reviews

5 Face-to-Face

11 Golden Bay


Online Maps

FREE Header

Camping NZ NEW

Welcome to New Zealand's most comprehensive database of freely available camping information. This is the only travel map of its kind in NZ.


Cobb Valley
The reservoir below
Camp next to the river at the head of the reservoir.
The road heading up
The place to hide from the elements


A very steep and windy road up to a beautiful campsite. The views from up here are fantastic and you look down to the reservoir below. It is exposed at the top so choose your camp spot carefully, you can nestle into the trees for shelter.

This is a definite no go for large vehicles, the road is very narrow with no bays to pull over and let somebody past. You should also be comfortable driving on unsealed New Zealand roads, be solid at this before you attempt to ascend the 35km challenge - the drive takes about an hour.

A great swimming and fishing area. This is also the start of several walks. There is a small shelter.


Feature Value Info


DOC Nelson/Tasman

Central government organisation


South IslandNelson RegionGolden Bay


  • Basic Camping
  • Free


Showing 13 reviews of 16.

Nina's avatar


Ranking: 10/10

We got up the gravel road is Volkswagen t5 lwb and it was fine, was a little bit scary but not impossible. The camp ground is amazing and the river is super clear, definitely need good bug spray. A great place to fall off the face of the earth for a couple days. Also the local weka family is very friendly and hung out with us for the couple of days we were there.

Reviewed 7 months ago

Georgia's avatar


Ranking: 7/10

Beautiful swim spot only steps away from the campsite and amazing view of the stars. Quite a drive to get to the campsite and as other reviews mention the gravel road can be quite narrow, however we found it perfectly manageable (4wd ute). The sandflies are the biggest let down of the campsite as they are EVERYWHERE!! They went away once it was dark. Overall a good campsite and we would return, but with a lot more insect repellent.

Reviewed 7 months ago

Nikita's avatar


Ranking: 10/10

We read some reviews before coming here and were worried on how steep and shocking the roads sounded, and as we had a Toyota Hiace 2WD campervan, we were really torn if it was worth it. But we decided to do it, and in all honesty, the road was absolutely fine - it was like any NZ gravel road. We didn’t struggle at all, and it wasn’t as narrow as some had said. We just took it slow, enjoyed the beautiful drive, and had a huge area to park up, hardly anyone was around.
Huge selection of walks, which are stunning. Definitely cold, but so worth it.

Reviewed over 1 year ago

Renee Green's avatar

Renee Green

Ranking: 10/10

Words cannot even describe this place. This was my favourite site of all the places where we went on our trip. Would be uncomfortable without a solid 4WD. Toilet facilities available. Fires are allowed. PLENTY of room so you can have your own private area. Wekas will steal your unattended food so be aware haha. But hands down the best spot and well worth the drive out there!

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…

Siobhan's avatar


Ranking: 10/10

This place was awesome. The walks are worth the stunning views of the hills around. The drive on gravel is tiring but it's well worth the drive. Bring your own water or boil the river water. I would go back in a heart beat.

Reviewed over 1 year ago

Carol's avatar


Ranking: 9/10

Went out here to do some tramping,read in a travel book that DOC camp at the end. Didn't say anything about the road or signs saying no off we went,what a scary trip. We did get there and back and did heaps of walks,but will never tow anything again out there

Reviewed over 2 years ago

Kasey Elliot's avatar

Kasey Elliot

Ranking: 10/10

A camp site for the truly adventurous ! The drive is half the adventure - yes nearly 1.5 hour drive in and out. It is a single lane for the last 30-40 minutes of the drive (after crossing the bridge beside the dam. Be wary of oncoming traffic as you could be forced to reverse in very tight conditions to get passed each other. The first night we were the only people and we stayed as a group of five and there were high winds in the valley making it a bit tough to sleep in a tent. We sorted ourselves out the next day with tarps and were fine. There isn't much in the way of shade as it's an open field without any standing trees to park under. Within 200m walk you have at least 6 hiking tracks ranging from under an hour all the way up to full days hikes. Drop toilet was clean and well stocked. River was great source of water - not sure if drinkable but we boiled our water anyway. There are two separate fire-pits that could actually have two fires in each. Was very nice to be able to have a proper campfire for a change as it is very restricted throughout the rest of the country in the summer months. It was great to get away from the city and all of the pompous posh 'glampers' in their motor home caravans as well !

Will go back again and again !

Reviewed over 4 years ago

The Beans's avatar

The Beans

United Kingdom

Ranking: 5/10

Please think twice about attempting this drive in a campervan for just one night. It took almost 2 hours to reach the campsite. We were so tired and disillusioned with the long gravel road drive that we could not appreciate the serenity of the area. It was extremely windy and cold, and the only highlight of the night was being able to light a campfire and BBQ in the open. Lots of mosquitoes (and sand flies) so ensure you take repellent. Two weeks on and we are still covered in red welts! Recommended if you are planning to stay for more than one night and enjoy walks and tramping. If not, I highly recommend looking for somewhere less remote because it just wasn't worth the drive for us, regretfully.

Reviewed over 5 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

K C Costonis's avatar

K C Costonis

Ranking: 8/10

Long windy drive on gravel road to beautiful reservoir. Camp spots have a spot to have a fire. Sand flies were crazy in mid April. Water is beautiful though and fishing is good. BUG SPRAY MUST,

Reviewed over 7 years ago

FlyingKiwiGirl's avatar


New Zealand

Ranking: 9/10

Fabulous day trip and or camping site. Road is very, very narrow and steep after the powerhouse. NOT SUITABLE for anything other than a small van or car. NO MOTORHOMES. Amazing views & scenery and beautiful walks at the top of the range and at the end of the lake.

Reviewed over 7 years ago and experienced in August 2014

Friederike Kranzin's avatar

Friederike Kranzin


Ranking: 10/10

At the top end of the Cobb Reservoir. For FREE! Beautiful place between the mountains, but very long unsealed road - 35KM, very good for tracks and tramping, fireplaces - very nice!! Good toilets and a stream, two huts not far away.

Reviewed about 8 years ago and experienced in February 2014

Pei's avatar



Ranking: 8/10

Long drive with a good view, look out for cars at the end, just suitable for one way drive. Actually I got a better camping area just before the cobb reservoir with magnificent views. turn left when you see a sign says" Nelson Council of fishing" some kind like that, the cloest one to the reservoir cause there are lots of these signs of the same kind, go inside you will be amazed.

Reviewed almost 9 years ago and experienced in May 2013

Paul Liecke's avatar

Paul Liecke


Ranking: 10/10

Turn left at Upper Takaka and follow Cobb River Road until the very end. Beautiful free campsite with toilets. Good walks and stunning view of the stars at night. Ask at Motueka i-site for more information.

Reviewed about 9 years ago and experienced in February 2013

DOC Managed

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 😍

Cymen Crick's avatar

Cymen Crick

Rankers Owner