Considering getting out of the city this weekend and going on a fun, but achievable, micro-adventure? We have some options for you!
Travel to each of these 13 campgrounds in Auckland, and you will enjoy a lifetime of fun in the span of a single weekend, without pushing the budget. Perfect for exploring on your own, as a couple, with children or friends — all you really need is a tent and a passion for the great outdoors.
There are actually close to 100 campsites in Auckland, and that is without even beginning to discuss holiday parks and caravan parks which also offer camping, (which might be better options to consider if you are looking for cooking or other communal facilities). We have focused on beautiful natural vistas and feelings of serenity when curating this list.
Camping in Auckland is surprisingly varied, with a lot more choice than you would think. An inexpensive way to catch a mini-break, we’ve tried and tested some of our dream campgrounds, situated in the most beautiful and secluded spots around.
Some of these campsites are little more than basic flat land, but most we have mentioned include at least toilets and water nearby. That only adds to the adventure after all.
If you’re expecting to wake up next to the ocean, to the sound of roaring waves, or in native bush with Tūī flying overhead, these great camping spots have got you (literally) pegged. Although there are lots of great campsites outside Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland), we have only included those within the supercity limit.
This list of campsites within Auckland will make you feel worlds away from the big smoke, without spending too long behind the wheel.
Ambury Regional Park Campground
First up, we have the Ambury Regional Park Campground, a basic campsite located only 35 minutes from the Auckland CBD inside a working farm on the Manukau Harbour.
Popular with families whose children will love getting up close and personal with the sheep, pigs, cows and horses, there is also an excellent bike trail and nature path along the foreshore to explore. It goes all the way to the historic Ōtuataua Stonefields should you be feeling particularly energetic.
While there is a west-facing volcanic beach right next door, swimming isn’t really an option — but the vivid sunsets more than make up for it. All under the watchful gaze of Māngere Mountain, you will find toilets and drinking water easily accessible.
One of the most popular campgrounds in Auckland, make sure you book well in advance during peak periods. Like most Auckland Council campgrounds, you will get a combination code to open the locked access gates before you arrive.
Ātiu Creek Campground
A hidden treasure that just sits close to the border with Northland region is the Ātiu Creek Regional Park, and thankfully there is a basic Ātiu Creek campground.
It is more popular with motorhomes, but does allow spaces for tents and camping — and is an exceptionally tranquil oasis on the edge of the Kaipara Harbour. There are lots of different walking tracks, along with cycling and horse riding tracks. If you have a horse, they can actually stay overnight too with a specific holding paddock on site.
There are stunning bush walks, freshwater streams and a unique take on the west coast for all to enjoy while staying here. Most Aucklanders wouldn’t even know this regional park exists, which is very much part of the allure!
There is a no drinkable (potable) water, and one toilet block with three unisex toilets. If you decide against camping but want to stay the night anyway, there is also a modern farm homestead with four bedrooms available to book.
Clifftop / Ōmana Regional Park Campground
Ōmana Regional Park is an ideal place to enjoy a weekend camping escape close to Auckland. It’s not even too far a drive from East Auckland, being located just before the coastal Maraetai township.
The Clifftop campground is situated on a gently sloping site with rows of tall trees forming a useful wind-break, just a short distance from the beach. There is drinkable water onsite and basic long drop toilets. If you start to crave modernity, you’ll be glad to know that fish and chips is just a short walk away.
There is a pleasant swimming spot, rock pools to discover, pet animals to feed, a children’s playground, large open lawn areas for social sports, boardwalks and bicycle paths, and lots of picnic and BBQ facilities.
The remainder of the 40 hectares of the property has a hybrid of open fields, regenerating woodland, pohutukawa-fringed cliff tops, mangrove mudflats, rocky seashore and quiet sandy beach. Perfect for spending a day or two exploring!
A simple campground designed and developed for use by walkers of the Hillary Trail and perfect for those who want to really get off the grid.
The camping area is an open grassed area adjacent to the old Craw Homestead site on top of a ridge off Anawhata Road. Tap water is available from tank supply (which you should still boil water), and there is a composting toilet.
Bigger groups could consider hiring the Craw Homestead and having some people camp at the campground. It’s very peaceful and calming, and you will often be the only campers here.
A lovely spot near Anawhata Beach, but younger children might struggle with the 1-hour walk. The isolation of the bush is key to the appeal; which is why so many trampers love to stay here.
Great Barrier Island Campground
While you will either need to take the car-ferry or fly here, Great Barrier is a fabulous option for a weekend escape. And like nowhere else in the Auckland region.
While several privately operated campsites are open, camping facilities on Great Barrier Island are primarily provided by the Department of Conservation. Our favourite spot is the Akapoua Bay Campsite, a popular family camping area near the protected waters of Port Fitzroy with convenient access to many of the island’s walking trails.
There is cold showers, composting toilets and shelter for cooking. Camp hosts are even onsite during the busy season that ruins from Christmas until the end of January.
There are so many highlights to magical Great Barrier Island, and while this camping spot in Auckland will require a little more effort and planning, it is well worth the hassle.
Muriwai Beach Campground
Muriwai Beach Campground (formerly Muriwai Motorcamp) is a big, spacious campground adjacent to 60 km long Muriwai Beach and located within the 380 hectare Muriwai Regional Park.
The campground is currently under new ownership and has undergone a significant renovation to include several modern amenities. The Muriwai Beach Campground is focussed on motorhomes, but there are still nice flat camping sites for you to set up on.
There is even an option to rent a tent to make everything that much more comfortable, with three ‘rooms’, air beds, dining table, pantry to store your food, five-day chilly bin, chairs and LED lanterns. All you will need to bring is your bedding, towels, and cooking utensils.
There is also a professionally fitted kitchen and shower, tables, toilets, and shower services. Compared to many of the other options for camping in Auckland, this is luxury — and might be a good option for those who are new to camping and not wanting to go without their creature comforts just yet.
In the surrounding area there is plenty to do, including the Hillary Trail, Muriwai Gannet Colony and mountain bike trails. Or just spend the day surfing, swimming and sunbathing on the deep black sand.
Piggott’s / Hunua Ranges Campground
The Hunua Ranges on the southern boundary of Auckland offers incredible hiking, lush forests and more than six different campgrounds.
Each is little more than grass clearing amongst dense scrub and bush, which is precisely why we love it. The serenity of these exceptional-basic campsites — which you will frequently have all to yourself — is only added to by the various streams, waterfalls and magnificent vistas on offer. Piggott’s campground is our favourite spot, and only accessible by foot. There is steam water nearby and toilets on site.
A natural playground to disconnect from it all, the only noise you’ll be disturbed by is the Kokako singing around you in the morning.
This large public family-friendly campground in the heart of Piha Village is a great place to escape to on the weekend.
In a prime location, two minute’s walk to Piha Beach, the campsite has access to the lagoon, children’s playground and even tennis courts. There is cook facilities – located in a former radar station structure – hot showers (what a luxury!), flush toilets and a coin-operated barbecue. A small grocery store and excellent cafe are also nearby if you want to treat yourself.
Very popular in the summer, this Piha Campground is the perfect jumping-off point for the many bush and beach walks nearby, and one of Auckland’s most popular campgrounds.
Poukaraka Flats / Waiheke Island Campground
Waiheke might typically be more associated with glamorous restaurants and expansive wineries, but there is also superb nature here and plenty of unbelievable beaches to explore. There are a few camping options on Waiheke Island, but the most popular is the Poukaraka Flats campground in Whakanewha Regional Park.
An open, wide and flat campground set back from a gorgeous bay, with plenty of native plantings allowing tent-side viewing of the birdlife. There is drinkable water, cold showers, toilets and even a free gas barbecue available to use. The nearest bus stop is a 30-minute walk away if you are looking to visit with no car, or you could take a taxi from the ferry station.
While the Waiheke campgrounds are frequently sold out in peak season a little trick is to schedule a stay from March through to May. You’ll more than likely have mild warm weather and have the entire place to yourself.
Situated on the eastern end of the Tāwharanui Peninsula, this park features some of the most spectacular white sand beaches in New Zealand, gorgeous rolling pastures, stony bays, ancient coastal forests and regenerating wetlands.
Perfectly positioned to enjoy all this is a large campground situated within the Tāwharanui Open Sanctuary, on the northeast coast tucked in behind the sand dunes.
The campground is split into five areas connected with a central path, with plenty of water taps (that need to be boiled) and flat grass surfaces. There is a toilet block but no shower facilities. Not that you will need them in the peak of summer with the beach just a hop, skip and a jump away. In the morning you get called by the birds, and in the evening you evening have the chance of spotting kiwis.
Many families have been taking an annual pilgrimage to this gorgeous campground for generations, so you will need to book far in advance if you want to avoid missing out.
Te Haruhi Bay / Shakespear Regional Park Campground
Situated at the end of the slender Whangaparaoa Peninsula, Shakespear Regional Park provides expansive views of Hauraki Gulf and a variety of hiking trails.
Te Haruhi Bay is the biggest and most popular beach here, and the location for a small but popular campground with large grassy fields, mature trees, low sand dunes and many places to relax with a book. You will need to drive through suburbia to get here, but the trade-off is drinkable bore water, two cold outside showers and a toilet block.
Being another predator-proof open sanctuary as well, birds are abundant here, many of which just hang around the campgrounds. There is quick access to a safe beach and even a phosphorescent sparkle in the waves at night (at certain times of the year).
Wenderholm Piwakawaka Eco Glamping
Camping for those who don’t like camping, this luxurious eco structure tent is located in the Wenderholm Regional Park overlooking the Puhoi River Estuary.
While the price point is far higher than any of these other Auckland camping options, these trendy tents offer greater warmth and comfort and are ideal for year-round glamping. Each tent can hold up to four people and features a spacious queen-size bed and two single beds with clean sheets and towels.
There is internal lighting, a kitchen set up with BBQ and outdoor solar shower and shower tent. You might be paying as much (or more) than a hotel on Queen Street, but the views here are genuinely surreal and perfect for a romantic weekend away.
Wenderholm was also the first regional park in Auckland and contains some of our best examples of mainland coastal forest with plenty of hiking trails and tempting swimming spots.
One of the most stunning natural locations in Auckland, Whatipū is an untouched black-sand beach backed by coastal dunes, wetlands, native forest and dense cliffs. There are numerous trails and stunning vistas to explore, though being on the west coast swimming is hazardous and not advised as no lifeguards are present.
A wild escape from the rat race, the Whatipū Campground contains numerous spacious, flat campsites operates on a 1st in, best spot, basis. The campground facilities are simple with no electricity or hot water, but there are three composting toilets, two cold showers and several water taps. The nearest shop is at Huia, 10 kilometres away from Whatipu, so be sure to bring supplies with you.
There is also a second, very unique campsite, located at the end of the Whatipu Caves Track, around 20 minute’s walk from the carpark. You will find a small grass patch outside the caves. No drinking water available here, but there is one composting toilet.
For the truly adventurous, there is absolutely nothing else like it.
So there you have it. The best places for camping in Auckland. It’s fair to say there is something for everyone, with a range of amenities and options. We couldn’t possibly choose our favourite – and nor would we expect you to.
So why not just try them all?