Government Gardens Thermal Area

Government Gardens Thermal Area

Overnight Campervan Parking



33 Rankers Reviews

1 Face-to-Face

239 Freedom Camping

39 Rotorua


Get the best out of it. Here's how…



Self-Containment Warrant and Responsible Camper stickers must be displayed at all times on your vehicle.
Please take your rubbish with you.
Alcohol may not be consumed in any public places.


Feature Value Info


North IslandRotorua RegionRotorua


  • Freedom Camping
  • Free


Showing 13 reviews of 33.

Get the best out of it. Here's how…

Celeste's avatar


Ranking: 8/10

After reading some reviews for the two free camping sites in Rotorua we went straight to Hatupatu carpark as recommended by others. It's not entirely clear if it's a freedom camping spot as there were no signs related to camping, but it was very busy there with at least 30 campervans and motor homes plus two tents. The coastguard drove through around 8:30pm but didn't take any notice of all the parked vehicles. The toilets were close and open when we needed them (20:15 and 07:00) and didn't appear to have been closed during the night. In the evening we had no trouble with bugs but there were swarms of them in the morning. It's a beautiful place to park up for the night and we would recommend staying here if you're looking for a site near Rotorua.

Reviewed about 1 month ago

Emily's avatar


Ranking: 7/10

Place got full around 4, so it is very hard to get a spot. We didn’t get one at all, and we stayed there for three nights. Toilets are a 5 minute walk away, but get locked at night.
We ended up staying at Sudima car park like everyone else, and that’s a 10 minute walk from the toilets. Other than that, a pretty decent place to stay, just a shame there’s not more parks. To the people complaining about the smell, it’s Rotorua! That’s the fun of it :))

Reviewed about 1 month ago

Conservation Campsite Pass

Save up to 70% on campsite fees! Support conservation and experience the natural beauty of NZ. 78 Department of Conservation campsites, one convenient pass.

Get the Pass

Serena's avatar


Ranking: 6/10

This campsite was full when we got there at 2pm, but there is another overflow campsite by the hotel which the security guard kindly showed us. Make sure you only park in designated areas as they do check. Quite smelly but this is inevitable in Rotorua and street lights mean it’s lit up all night. No toilets, but there is another car park with loos 5 minute drive further through the Government gardens (we moved here for breakfast as much more scenic right by Lake Rotorua)

Reviewed about 1 month ago

Almudena's avatar


Ranking: 3/10

The smell from the lake was terrible even we had our campervan totally closed (we couldn’t sleep because of it).
It’s well located in the town.
It’s small, we arrived at 5pm and took the last place.

Reviewed 2 months ago

Top Ranked NZ Deals Pass

Access savings worth hundreds of $$ on Top Ranked NZ Accommodation and Activities for just $1 per day.

Get deals pass

Mike Smith's avatar

Mike Smith

Ranking: 7/10

Paved car park right by government gardens. We were worried after reading other reviews we wouldn’t get a spot but we got the last open spot at about 1530pm in January high season. Easy walk to downtown restaurants and bars. Public toilet is close but not sure if open late...can go to close by shops if necessary. In the morning there were a few campers parked outside the allowed camping spots with no problems.

Reviewed 2 months ago

Silly American 's avatar

Silly American

Ranking: 9/10

If you’re lucky enough to get a spot here it’s convenient to everything and gets patrolled often so you can feel safe. If you’re unlucky like myself and don’t get a spot, don’t worry: drive north up to the peninsula of the park and the cops let you park in the parking lot associated with the bathrooms and boat ramp. A little loud because of the local hooligans playing music late but a nice little parking lot on the water with bathrooms. No potable water was available as of Dec 2019

Reviewed 3 months ago

Bert's avatar


Ranking: 7/10

Good spot in the middle of a beautifull park. A bit far from the public toilets, which are closed at night time.

Reviewed 4 months 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…

Isadora's avatar


Ranking: 8/10

Nice place, 17 spots, toilet not far way, but full around 4 pm.

Reviewed 4 months ago

Stuart's avatar


Ranking: 7/10

Was full when we got there but saw a review saying an overflow car park owned by the council by the Sudima Hotel which can confirm is true (just a 30 second drive away). No rangers so we were unclear as to whether it was an official freedom camping spot, but at least 8 campervans there. Only downfall is you’re about a 5-10 walk from a toilet, which locks overnight. In probably the nicest part of Rotorua near the Government gardens, and yes it does smell of sulphur.

Reviewed 4 months ago

Luis Vigil Vidal's avatar

Luis Vigil Vidal

Ranking: 6/10

It's free, its well located at the city centre and public toilet walking distance (open from sunrise till sunset). There is vigilance at night. Ok place to stay in Rotorua.

Reviewed 5 months 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

Lianne's avatar


Ranking: 8/10

Central and nice spot near the park, heaps of space (around 18?). Though, we came here at 3:30 and took the last spot. Make sure to be on time!

Reviewed 5 months ago

Steve Mac's avatar

Steve Mac

Ranking: 7/10

Nice location, but spots are hard to get later in the arvo. We tried to squeeze in without actually being in a parking spot. But at about 8pm security knocked on our door and told us to move on. He kindly told us that the Sudima hotel, which is only a stone's throw away, happily take the overflow. Sudima was nice and quiet, and huge

Reviewed 6 months ago

Sven's avatar


Ranking: 7/10

Parking lot in the centre of the governmental garden. Filled up very fast even though its off season We recommend a visit to the Polynesian spa.

Reviewed 7 months ago