Papatowai Campsite

Papatowai Campsite

Catlins coastal area


34 Rankers Reviews

7 Face-to-Face

3 Papatowai


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This campsite at Papatowai on the Catlins coast is nestled in the bush. It has easy access to the beautiful beach and estuary, and there are short walks nearby.


Feature Value Info


Dunedin DOC Visitor Centre

Local government organisation


South IslandSouthlandPapatowai


  • Basic Camping


Showing 13 reviews of 34.

Ali's avatar


Ranking: 5/10

Not the place to go for a quiet New Years. Packed in like sardines, very unpleasant for a solo female traveler. Heaps of out of control uni students. Fireworks going off right next to my camper for two hours. Obviously a free for all, do as you like site. If everyone had paid, DOC would have done well but I find it hard to believe they allow fireworks at their sites.
Beautiful surroundings and beach.

Reviewed 6 months ago

Dr.A's avatar


New Zealand

Ranking: 10/10

This is a fantastic basic campsite with flushing loos and a kitchen area plus shelter for BYO BBQ. All were cleaned daily by friendly DOC staff. We had a flat site with trees surrounding that gave some privacy and shelter from the wind. There is no potable water so come prepared. Payment options include online or cash onsite at the registration booth.
Don't come thinking you can buy supplies as it's not currently open and the owner indicated she isn't planning on reopening it in the immediate future. However, you can by fuel using card facility.
Highly recommend a visit to the lost gypsy and coffee cart which are a short walk away as well as the estuary and beach/forest walks.

Reviewed over 1 year ago

Monkeyalan's avatar


Ranking: 8/10

Great stop off on way through Catlin's. The campsite has good amenities for a DOC site (proper flushing toilets etc) including a kitchen space and a few benches around the grounds. The local village has a few stores and cafe which are normally open during peak periods.

Reviewed over 1 year ago

Tea's avatar


Ranking: 10/10

Nice and quiet site, out the way. Was there at start of season, with a few people just arriving to settle for a few days, but with the space available everyone was very spread out. Good basic facilities, toilets and indoor seating area.

Nice beach to walk along, with track directly down from campsite. Had fun wandering through village spotting all the home made postboxes.

Reviewed over 2 years ago

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Ben and Liv 's avatar

Ben and Liv

Ranking: 9/10

Lovely, green grassy spot. Plenty of spaces but some sloping sites - finding a flat spot would be difficult in busy periods. We were there in shoulder season so it was only us and about 3 others! Facilities pretty old but clean. General store and fuel at entrance and short walks to beach nearby.
Only $8 per person - can’t complain!

Reviewed almost 3 years ago

JT's avatar


Ranking: 10/10

one of the best doc sites we have eher seen. lot of space and really good facilities. a cooking shelter ja available. 8$ per person is ok and much better than the scenic docs without everything

Reviewed over 3 years ago and experienced in January 2019

Kim  Erny 's avatar

Kim Erny


Ranking: 10/10

Reasonably priced campsite, $8 per person, plenty of flush toilets, you can disregard the previous comment about being pit toilets. Running water with nice roomy washing up facilities. Nice, green, grassy spots. Not too many lights.

Reviewed over 3 years ago

Grizzly Girl's avatar

Grizzly Girl

Ranking: 10/10

Great site with epic beaches views and the best smelling drop toilet I might have ever encountered. Only downside were all the people who showed up late with their blinding headlights and then left without paying. Shame on them. If you want to enjoy a nice beach with nice toilets please pay the measly $8.

Reviewed almost 4 years ago

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Mike's avatar


Ranking: 10/10

Great clean doc site just off of the main road behind the shop

Reviewed about 4 years ago

Paul Cooper's avatar

Paul Cooper

Ranking: 10/10

Beautiful campsite with walking access to the beach at during low tide, good fishing out off the rocks at the southern end off the beach, running water an flushing toilets, kitchen with benches, tables an chairs inside on out, camp site is well sheltered for tents. and it's pet friendly which is great.handy little shop out the front on road which also has petrol an diesel on pumps 24/7 bank card access been here many times and plan to stay again.

Reviewed over 4 years ago and experienced in September 2017

Luiz Gustavo Damasceno Ribeiro 's avatar

Luiz Gustavo Damasceno Ribeiro

Ranking: 8/10

Good - easy to find , a lot room, the camp provides a kitchen area and good toilets. It is conveniently located next to a general store.
Bad - I didn't have signal in my phone. Plenty of campsites even late in the day.

Reviewed over 4 years ago

Lizzie V's avatar

Lizzie V

New Zealand

Ranking: 8/10

Nice spot for camping, $10 a night for me and my tent. There is some nice bush and soft grass to find a pleasant spot to camp in. The facilities are basic, but clean.

Reviewed over 4 years ago

Samantha Brewin's avatar

Samantha Brewin

Ranking: 8/10

Lovely open grassey campground surrounded by Forrest, with clean toilet facilities. Bring cash to leave your DOC campground fees in the box at the entrance to park. Approx. $8 per person per night.

Reviewed over 4 years ago

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