Oraka Reserve, Mahia

Oraka Reserve, Mahia

Freedom Camping Site


23 Rankers Reviews

2 Face-to-Face

2 Wairoa

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Feature Value Info


Wairoa District Council

Local government organisation


North IslandTairāwhiti GisborneWairoa


  • Freedom Camping
  • Free


Showing 13 reviews of 23.

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Paige's avatar


Ranking: 8/10

It's free, so you can't really complain :)
It's in a nice little spot and very peaceful. The camping area is quite small so you may struggle to find a space when it's busy and/or you arrive late. Public toilets are clean enough but cubicle doors don't shut properly or lock.

Reviewed 5 months ago

Jess's avatar


Ranking: 10/10

Beautiful place to camp, clear markings on where to camp, nice clean public toilet and there is water for dishes, not drinkable though. We spent 2 nights in tents, 5 kids, four adults and one dog. People came and went each day and we befriended a lot of our neighbours during our stay. The beach is beautiful, we hunted for kaimoana but the pipi were quite small so put them back. Would highly recommend and would return if ever back in Mahia.

Reviewed 6 months ago

John Robert O'Connell's avatar

John Robert O'Connell

Ranking: 10/10

I've just arrived got confused on were to put my motor home however I asked one of the nearby resident's and he put me right .he's meeting me later so our small dogs can meet how cools that. I don't make a big footprint as I'm self containd and it's restfull here . Going for a walk later. Can't do better than that for free.

Reviewed about 1 year ago

Olivia's avatar


Ranking: 8/10

This is a great free campsite right on the water. We stayed for 2 nights with our 2 children (8 & 11) and two small dogs.

We arrived around lunchtime and had almost the entire allocated camping area to choose from. By night time I counted 17 different groups staying on our first night and 12 on the 2nd.

They do come by once or twice a day to introduce themselves, answer questions, check on everyone and to make sure you are camped where you should be. We found it marked out easily so didn't need help.

The toilets are tidy for public toilets which are open 24/7. They have sensored lights that go on at night for those midnight toilet runs you may need to do with the kids.

There is a tap next to the bathrooms which we used for boiling and then doing dishes but we didn't drink it as we were unsure of the quality.

The water is a lagoon that flows into the sea and is good for exploring and seafood collecting. It remains shallow for a big portion of the shore and then drops off to 1.5metre - 2metre depending on the tide. This area flows more like a river out to sea so I would recommend only experienced swimmers or closely supervised children swim in this part. If you lift your feet you'll get swept towards the sea shoreline.

We did walk the length of the lagoon to the beach during mid and low tide. During hightide this is possible just a lot more splashing involved.

Dogs are allowed but not off their lead.

We'll go back again at some point.

Reviewed over 1 year ago

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The Dutchess's avatar

The Dutchess

Ranking: 10/10

Lovely little campground by the river with running toilets and water. It is (now?) clearly indicated where you can and cannot camp so you won’t get a fine as per reviews below. Close to amazing beaches, super relaxing atmosphere.

Reviewed almost 2 years ago

Jess's avatar


Ranking: 9/10

A lovely grass spot along the coast. A beautiful drive down there and a nice place to sit and watch the sunset, stars and sunrise. There are (flush) toilets and changing facilities as well as a bin. The camping area is clearly marked and there is plenty of space, while I stayed there were about 8 vehicles and there was space for double that if you are all in cars/campers and considerate of one another. Overall a lovely place to spend the night.

Reviewed over 2 years ago

Tom's avatar


Ranking: 10/10

Beautiful freedom camping spot with clean toilets and a rubbish bin, right next to a bay. Not a parking lot as I expected but a grassy field. Camping area is clearly indicated between the poles on the left. Fits 10 big motorhomes easily, or a lot more campervans. We were with 3 vans on a nice winter evening. Little bit of traffic on the road nearby but dies down in the night.

No idea what the (rather old) comments below are referring to. Camping area is now very clearly indicated on a map and on poles surrounding the area. Impossible to miss, even in the dark. Tens of people left possitive comments on other camping apps, so I wouldn't let the comments below scare you off. If in doubt, take a picture of your van and the poles indicating you're parked correctly.

Reviewed almost 3 years ago

Madis Manni's avatar

Madis Manni

Ranking: 1/10

What's up with these fines? This is just weird. Will skip and F**** you weird council ! Get a life! Omg who are these people ?

Reviewed over 3 years ago

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Sally - Oraka's avatar

Sally - Oraka

New Zealand

Ranking: 1/10

I live a few doors away from the Oraka Reserve. Until the last few days I have had no problem with the campers there. However, over the recent holiday weekend there were people staying there who had 2 quad bikes. They started up first thing each morning and continued until 10:30 pm (Friday night) and midnight (Sunday night). The noise was pretty much constant, and the damage done to the beach is unbelievable, including the area that is marked for nesting birds. I applaud the Wairoa District Council for their vigilance (I have read the earlier reviews) over correct choice of camping places, but wish they had been around to see what has been going on in this beautiful spot. I would love the council to find a way to ban vehicles from the beach!!

Reviewed over 3 years ago

Evgeny Rodygin's avatar

Evgeny Rodygin

New Zealand

Ranking: 1/10

DO NOT STAY HERE! Unfortunately we read previous two feedbacks already after received $200 fine from Wairoa district council for camping in a wrong place, otherwise we would avoid this campsite. We are very accurate and respectful travelers, prior to our stay there we checked the information on Wairoa council website about the area and even checked the map, it has two areas - green to camp and red to do not camp. We got there quite late, installed our tent on the side marked green on their map, just after the last camper and went to sleep. Nobody tried to let us know we are in a wrong spot. We got up early before sunrise to have a breakfast and continue our travel. Two weeks after we received $200 fine (ticket issued at 10pm) for "freedom camps where not permitted". I though I received it by mistake, but now reading previous reviews I see that this is the way how Wairoa council works and makes some extra money from travelers, deciding to save a little money and choose free site instead of staying in a holiday park. Do not repeat our mistake.

Reviewed over 4 years ago

Stu Williamson's avatar

Stu Williamson

New Zealand

Ranking: 1/10

WTF!!??? We camped here and even paid special attention to the green (camp here) and red (don't camp here) markings on the map so thought we were fine. We even camped opposite the post that had TENT on it. Last week we got a $200 fine from the Wairoa Council. You need to employ people who don't decide to randomly ruin people's perception of a beautiful place!! Apart from which it was the night of that huge storm between Xmas and New Year (27 Dec) and yet you had someone patrolling at 10:30pm? DO NOT SUPPORT THE WAIROA AREA BY SPENDING YOUR TOURIST DOLLARS HERE...

Reviewed over 4 years ago

India Clarke's avatar

India Clarke

United Kingdom

Ranking: 1/10

DO NOT STAY HERE!! This campsite was clean, tidy (noisy due to building site) but overall beautiful and very well maintained. However if it is dark when you arrive, beware. My partner and I had been driving all day when the Rankers app told us we could stay at this campsite. We got there when it was dark so it was quite difficult to see signs. What we could see was on the right hand side as we drove in, there were two or three big workers machines parked, opposite these was a patch of grass filled with campervans, then there were some wooden bollards and on the other side was empty other than one tent. We figured this was the spot made for campers in tents so we pitched our tent and went to bed. We left the campsite before 9am, so were not obstructing families or tourists. We later got a $200 fine for 'camping in the wrong spot'!! This is disgusting. I wrote back to the council explaining the circumstances and that had the sections been marked properly, we would have camped next to the campervans. Read a review further down saying the council knocked on their van to let them know they were in the wrong place- this would have been a very nice warning as we would have got up and moved there and then but apparently the council decide who they want to help and want to fine. (Our ticket was issued at 11pm, so not too late to let someone know they are in the wrong spot)They have declined our letter and the fine must still be paid. I feel that this is unfair as there was alot of work going on and no lights to see designated areas. As a backpacker i do not have $200 spare but i guess this is just how New Zealand works.

Reviewed over 4 years ago and experienced in November 2017

Jan Hiltermann's avatar

Jan Hiltermann


Ranking: 7/10

Although there is a clean toilet, we found the spot fairly busy (mid-November) and the views are nice but not the best we have seen. There are free spots for self contained vehicles (no facilities) along the nearby Ormond drive and Nuhaka Opoutama road with much nicer views (but without the toilets).

Reviewed over 4 years ago