Wairau Diversion Reserve

Wairau Diversion Reserve

Overnight Campervan Parking


66 Rankers Reviews

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Wairau Diversion is a worth a diversion.


Due to recent flood events the Responsible Camping site has moved inland by a few hundred metres.

Look for the Green Camping Zone signs about 1km along the gravel road after entering the reserve from Neal Road.

Some parts of the riverbank are unstable.

Note from Rankers;
This is our experience in January 2022.
Area is smaller than it was previously and being further from the ocean, it's more of a walk to the good stuff.
The best sites in this new area are definitely closest to the ocean.
Less feng shui than previously, but it's still a handy park over spot in between ferry crossings.

Toilets are still operational, but are now a longer walk toward the ocean.

Please don't go the the toilet around the camping area. We saw some evidence of people doing this. It really effects the people that come behind you. At the least, hold on, and walk quickly toward the ocean to use the facilities there.


Overnight Freedom Camping on the coast at Wairau Diversion Reserve. Great fishing and white-baiting spot. Good surfing too when there's an easterly swell. Self contained vehicles only and maximum stay of 2 nights in any four week period.

NOTE - Marlborough generally gets particularly parched over summer, so please - NO FIRES

The Wairau Diversion area is located on the northern side of the lower reach of the Diversion. It is
accessed from the intersection of Thomas Road and Neal Road.

The area of the Wairau Diversion at the eastern end of the site is a restricted area for responsible camping. The Wairau Diversion Reserve Restricted Area is part of the reserve from the eastern boundary of the prohibited area adjacent to the Hinepango Wetland stretching in an easterly direction to the Wairau Diversion day use area. The area permitting responsible camping has a fence on its eastern boundary between the day use and the camping area.

No person may responsible camp except in the area shown and must be in a certified self-contained

There is clear signage into the area directing campers to the area allocated for camping.

Vehicle numbers are limited to 75 vehicles.


Feature Value Info


Marlborough District Council

Local government organisation


South IslandMarlboroughBlenheim


  • Freedom Camping
  • Free


Showing 13 reviews of 66.

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Marianne's avatar


Ranking: 2/10

The road to the camping area has been blocked off with concrete blocks. There is a small area along the river where camping is permitted, approximately 1km from the original camping area and toilet. The toilet appears to be unmaintained.

Reviewed 6 months ago

Cymen Crick's avatar

Cymen Crick

New Zealand

Ranking: 7/10

This is an updated review since the recent flooding mid 2021.
The details around this Responsible Camping location is likely to change, when the council chooses its next move, but here's where it's at in late 2021 and into early 2022.

We've stayed here for around 15 years in between hopping on and off the ferry. It's always been a location of choice due to proximity to the Ferry and the fantastic location (Fishing / Surfing / Swimming and the rest).

This new change has pulled the location away from the ocean, so it's more of a walk to where we like to be. Plus the camping area isn't nearly as nice as the places closer to the beach. But in saying that, we greatly appreciated laying our heads down in this location after departing the ferry very late in the evening.

Thus I still give it a 7/10, but it's worth considering the Rarangi and Whites Bay DOC sites nearby, which are very close to the beach and have a much nicer vibe. Check the app for details. Chur.

Reviewed 6 months ago

EvaBelle's avatar


Ranking: 9/10


But was an awesome spot when I first visited! Heaps of space, toilets weren't great, but the river was picturesque enough to make up for it

Reviewed 7 months ago

Alicia's avatar


Ranking: 7/10

Council has moved CSC camping further from the beach, by river diversion. Quiet and plenty of space for parking. Not a lot of trees for shade and public toilets a bit far. Lovely sunrises. Nice walk to the beach.

Reviewed 7 months ago

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Vanessa's avatar


Ranking: 8/10

Large area under the pine trees to park up. Only 25mins to Picton so great when getting off the Ferry. Long drop toilets are a short walk away. Also walking distance to the beach. Nice area not far off the main road which makes for a nice quiet spot.

Reviewed about 1 year ago

La Vie's avatar

La Vie

Ranking: 10/10

WiFi coverage ✔️
Spacious ✔️
Saturday night stay

Reviewed over 1 year ago

Valg's avatar


Ranking: 7/10

Not a bad place to stop off, a large grassy area with pine trees for shelter or more open at the end. A little scruffy in parts and toilets poorly maintained. Close to the river and beach, views of the mountains.

Reviewed over 1 year ago

Adventure B4 Dementia's avatar

Adventure B4 Dementia

Ranking: 7/10

A very nice and quiet area at this time of year (Early March). The district council have posted "No Camping" signage along the first half of the river so make sure you don't camp in those areas as the fine is $200.
The toilets are clean and tidy if needed.

Reviewed over 1 year ago

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Liv's avatar


Ranking: 9/10

Great freedom site with lots of space, close to the beach and sheltered in the trees. The toilets aren’t the nicest but it’s a perfect rest stop if you have just got the ferry in from Picton :)

Reviewed over 1 year ago

Susan's avatar


Ranking: 9/10

Spent two nights. So much space for everyone. You are in the woods, so you can spread out your camp area. It's a short walk to the beach and long drop toilets with hand sanitizer. Water from the river going into the ocean was refreshing for a swim! You can see the bottom of the north island from the beach, which was cool.

Reviewed over 1 year ago

Felix's avatar


Ranking: 8/10

Really nice picturesque spot with heaps of spaces. Great views. Long drop toilets but clean and tidy. Recommend for a stay after getting the night ferry from Wellington.

Reviewed over 1 year ago

Shalamar's avatar


Ranking: 8/10

This was another great wee spot close to the sea. Ample of space and shade. You can only camp in a certain area and not beyond the signs as it is a $200 fine. However close walking distance to the toilets. Only con would be the state the toilets were in and one but obviously all good being self contained. Definitely recommend checking it out.

Reviewed over 1 year ago

Tammy & Nigel's avatar

Tammy & Nigel

Ranking: 10/10

Beautiful spot great seeing waitbaiters and fishing. There is a guy who comes around to check so don’t ruin it but disobeying the signs. We sat up by the mouth and drove past the signs to camp after dinner. Amazing sunset and sunrise 😁

Reviewed over 1 year ago