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Our field notes

The most amazing waterfront camping spots close to Auckland

November 9, 2020

There’s nothing quite like leaving behind the big smoke for a few days to reconnect with nature. Let the gentle noise of the breaking waves and the salt in the air instantly transport you into a state of relaxation. Wherever you go, you don’t have to venture too far out of Auckland to find a waterfront camping spot.

WORDS: KIMBERLY HINDS

Grab your camping gear or ours, round up your gang and pick one of the most amazing camping spots from our “Top 5 waterfront campsites around Auckland” list for your next getaway.

Tawharanui

A 90-minute drive from Auckland or a 20-minute drive east from Matakana and you will stumble upon Tawharanui Regional Park. Located alongside a stunning white sandy beach within a protected wildlife area, with the coastal areas being a marine sanctuary, makes for great snorkelling and lots of wildlife in the rock pools.

There are a variety of walks to take in spectacular views of the bays and marine sanctuary, which provides a good time for divers, snorkelers and bird watchers.

Book your campsite at Tawharanui East Camping Ground, a tent-only campground on the northern coast behind the sand dunes between Phoenix Reef and Comet Rock.

If you’re partial to the idea of camping but not so hot on borrowing your mate Joe’s hotchpotch camp gear collection and sleeping on a hard squab on the ground, we suggest hiring our Complete Camping Package. This is designed to kit out two people in a 4m bell tent and delivers plush comforts such as a super-soft air mattress, premium quality linen, outdoor lights, a sturdy hammock, plus all the cooking and dining accessories you could need. No leaky tents, rusty pots or broken can openers to be seen here! Sorry Joe.

Book here

 

Whananaki

There’s an absolute gem of a campsite waiting for you a bit further up north at Motutara Farm Camp in Whananaki. You can reach this magical spot in the east coast of Northland via a scenic 3-hour drive from Auckland.

Motutara Farm Camp is a 75-hectare farm owned by Bruce and Helen Barron. The camping is along two beautiful Pohutukawa fringed beaches, Kings Beach and Barrons Beach. The campsite is extensive, spacious and picturesque with a unique layout.

Pitch a tent on Barrons Cliff and enjoy an exquisite view along Barrons Beach and over the expanse of the Pacific Ocean to the Poor Knights Islands. Barrons Valley also gives shelter from the weather.

Relax in the shade of Pohutukawa trees and dream of the next fishing expedition or wax the board ready for the surf. Kings Riverside, Kings Valley and Kings Bayou are large areas – great camping space for the young family or the larger group. You have the best of both worlds, a short distance to Kings Ocean Beach sand and surf or the quiet, safe swimming of Kings Riverside Beach.

For this majestic expedition along one of New Zealand’s most breathtaking coastlines, we really think it warrants a decent set up in terms of your wheels and kit. We recommend considering our Fully Kitted Defender Package, which will see you fixed up in a Defender Adventure vehicle (the ultimate ideal off-road companion) plus all the essential kit you need for camping. You name it, we’ve thought of it! Think – a luxurious high-quality bell tent, super comfy air mattress and premium linen bedding, as well as a barbecue, cooking appliances, outdoor chairs and table and picnic blankets. Sorted!

Book here

 

Uretiti

Just a 1.5-hour drive north of Auckland will find you at Whangarei’s Uretiti Beach, Waipu. This is a pristine, fine-powder sand beach popular for swimming, surfing and fishing, with some truly majestic coastal walks to be had.

Uretiti is an easy driving distance to the Waipu shops, which means you can enjoy hot fish and chips on the beach in the early evening or pop in to eat at one of the Kiwiana cafes in the township during the day. Sure beats baked beans in a can!

We give a giant thumbs up to Uretiti Beach campground – it’s in a truly stunning setting positioned directly behind the rolling sand dunes of the beach.

This campground is one charming, top-notch location and one of our absolute favourite spots, which is why we’ve chosen to offer our own luxe pop-up camping experience here. This experience is designed for those who appreciate nature but also the trappings of luxury; it strikes the balance between a traditional kiwi beach holiday and all the comforts of being at home.

Imagine waking up to a sunrise on this magnificent unspoiled beach in a cosy bell tent with all your homely creature comforts. All you need to bring is your food, drinks and your lucky lucky self.

To book this pampered camping stay, simply secure your spot at the Uretiti campsite and then book your experience through LandRoamer.

Book here

Tapapakanga Regional Park

Roughly a 1-hour drive from Auckland, Tapapakanga is yet another idyllic quick getaway from the big smoke. It is a working coastal farm as well as a regional park, particularly popular with walkers, birdwatchers and kayakers.

Set in a charming location and hilly terrain, Tapapakanga offers majestic views of the Firth of Thames. It’s small wonder why this spot has been chosen to host the annual Splore Festival since its inception in 1998.

The beach is set in a peaceful and sheltered bay and its calm waters are ideal for young children, swimming and kayaking. Pitch up at the small campground here and explore the coastline at your leisure, either by foot or by sea.

For this trip, we recommend bringing along some lightweight kayaks which are easy to transport – they will transform your holiday. We recommend the Oru foldable kayaks, which are extremely lightweight and perfect for beginners or more experienced users alike. If you aren’t up for the commitment of owning one, you can hire them directly from us here. Set out for a daily adventure in your vessel with a paddle in hand, sun beaming down, afloat the salty ocean. Bliss.

Book here

Pakiri

Another super easy and dreamy mini vacay spot (a 1.5-hour drive from Auckland) is Pakiri, offering the best of the picturesque north.

Set on 9km of pristine white sand, Pakiri Beach offers plenty to do for everyone. Laze on the sand, fish or snorkel in the crystal blue water; take a horse trek; or just take time out with a good book by your tent. There are also some great walks and longer hikes all around the area.

Superbly located alongside the tranquil white sands of the beach is Pakiri Beach Holiday Park. This well-established seaside camping ground offers an abundance of activities such as swimming, surfing, beach fishing and kayaking.

Nestled within a peaceful rural landscape, this is the perfect environment for a family holiday or the chance to unwind and rejuvenate.

Enjoy the sunrise and views of the ocean from the beachfront camping areas where you pitch your tent. Soak in the sheer magic of the surrounding nature, it will have you feeling relaxed in no time.

So, what are you waiting for? Start packing up the car now so you can immerse yourself in the native beauty of Aotearoa. Or why not let Landroamer do this for you? Let’s face it, the checklist and packing are always the least adventurous part of any camping trip. Campers – it’s time to make for sweet glorious nature.

Book here