Waikawa Recreation Reserve

Waikawa Recreation Reserve

Overnight Campervan Parking

Reviews

Get the best out of it. Here's how…

Aniek's avatar

Aniek

Ranking: 7/10

Ok, field with opportunities to park. Tricky to find a flat spot. It got very crowded. Good location though and a nice view.

Reviewed 11 months ago

Cor Dekker's avatar

Cor Dekker

Ranking: 8/10

Great place but a bit muddy. Very clean toilets nearby. A nice museum across the street!

Reviewed about 1 year ago

Georgia's avatar

Georgia

Ranking: 9/10

Great spot in the Catlins! We had the most amazing sunrise there, beautiful pink skies. Toilets are great.

Reviewed over 1 year ago

WideEyedWanderer's avatar

WideEyedWanderer

Ranking: 9/10

Cozy area beside the bay tucked up against the forest. Fairly flat with a few mud puddles. 20 vans by the end made a full house, some lined up along the entrance road. Everyone was respectful but we were all parked close enough to hear several conversations. Nice flush toilets and potable water (rainwater) available behind the hall. Highly recommend exploring the forest path that starts just behind the fence separating the parking area from the field, there are informational signs about various native tree species and the short loop (if you take your first left after a bit) is very nice to stretch your legs after a day of driving. The bay is mostly mud at low tide but fills up nicely at high tide. Not many options for food or fuel nearby so take care of that on your way over (we recommend The Whistling Frog up by McLean Falls). The spot can get windy, which you should hope for because otherwise the sandflies are unbearable.

Reviewed almost 2 years ago

Sophie Skinner's avatar

Sophie Skinner

United Kingdom

Ranking: 8/10

Ideal free spot before/after visiting Curio Bay. Toilets are a 1min walk back to the road, site small ish and grassy. Flat enough. What you’d expect for a free site.

Reviewed about 2 years ago

Mischa's avatar

Mischa

Ranking: 8/10

This was beautiful but a bit crowded...it wasn’t our favorite but it was quiet.

Reviewed about 2 years ago

Claudia's avatar

Claudia

Ranking: 10/10

Lovely little spot! Public toilets very clean. Beautiful view. Very cute little town.

Reviewed about 2 years ago

Rachel's avatar

Rachel

Ranking: 10/10

Great site overlooking Porpoise Bay. A short drive round from Curio Bay, where freedom camping is prohibited.
There is some hard road, but otherwise muddy grass; no problem as we were the only van.
Rubbish can be left here.

Reviewed over 2 years ago

Benn's avatar

Benn

Ranking: 7/10

Nice free camp site. Toilets up near road 5 minutes walk. Site is grass so be careful not to get stuck, especially if it rains. It did get very gusty during the night. And the rain was horizontal. Make sure you batten down the hatches.

Reviewed over 2 years ago

Michael McMahon's avatar

Michael McMahon

United States

Ranking: 6/10

Came here because the last place was too windy. That was a mistake. The wind picked up at sunset and howled all night. It was not a restful night. The site is grass and mud but mostly mud in the rain. There is a slight pitch to most of the spots down to the water. The view is nice. The bathrooms were ok but not great. I'd pass on this if the weather is iffy.

Reviewed over 2 years ago

Jill Grimwood's avatar

Jill Grimwood

Ranking: 9/10

Nice location with great views, and close to Curio Bay, tricky to find a flat site to park. Nice walk through the forest nearby.

Reviewed over 2 years 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…

Dana Nunes's avatar

Dana Nunes

Ranking: 8/10

Hey! Buy a small basin to wash your dishes ! Stop doing dishes in bathroom sinks! Aside from using the handicapped toilets for your dishwashing, you leave food bits in the sinks for others to deal with. It’s not all about you!

Reviewed over 2 years ago

UK 50-something couple 's avatar

UK 50-something couple

Ranking: 8/10

Great little site - perfectly adequate toilets, and a nice view over the adjacent inlet. Note that the permitted camping area is now only the part by the water, not the large adjacent field. There were probably about 20 vans by the end, so it got a bit crowded - don’t leave it too late if you want a decent outlook. Great fish and chip van at the end of the road.

Reviewed almost 3 years ago

Michael Jayaranjan's avatar

Michael Jayaranjan

Ranking: 9/10

Beautiful and peaceful place for overnight! Very quiet if no wind. It got super windy for us the next morning and lots of sand flies. Not so much space so come early. Super clean toilets just 200m walk from the parking area.

Reviewed almost 3 years ago

Vander Plancke Julien's avatar

Vander Plancke Julien

France

Ranking: 7/10

Fish and chip shop was closed when we stopped. Good view of the bay. Bathrooms are clean.

Reviewed about 3 years ago

Harriet Smith's avatar

Harriet Smith

Ranking: 8/10

Perfect for a night's stop after Curio bay. Toilets are clean with flush, sinks, lights and a hand dryer! Drinking water is available from a tap behind the hall. Rubbish facilities too. Check the map next to the toilets carefully to make sure you set up camp in the right place. You can shelter from the wind by the hedge but be careful not to get bogged!

Reviewed over 3 years ago

Erich Brueggermann's avatar

Erich Brueggermann

Ranking: 6/10

Get in early for a good level space! See map by toilets, the whole area is not for freedom camping! Toilets & rubbish bins. We had lovely view over water (first there) by late evening we were 12!! Fish & chip van just by info/museum.

Reviewed almost 4 years ago

Philippa Buchanan's avatar

Philippa Buchanan

Ranking: 9/10

Great little overnight stop. There are public flushing toilets with lights that are clean and well maintained. Only a few spots get water views but the whole site is covered in thick lovely grass. Would recommend to a friend!

Reviewed over 4 years ago

Marina's avatar

Marina

Ranking: 9/10

Beautiful location right on the grass at the water's edge. Toilets and water nearby.

Reviewed almost 5 years ago

Sarah Gurney's avatar

Sarah Gurney

Ranking: 9/10

Nice big freedom camping area with the small hamlet of Waikawa on one side and native woodland on the other, as well as partly overlooking the harbour. The toilets were good (flush, water and a light) and there was a drinking water tap. We enjoyed the short walk through the woodland behind the site. The chip van is currently only open Friday-Sunday (mid November) so we didn't get to try any but it looked good! Nice site, would return.

Reviewed about 5 years ago

Andreas Liebe's avatar

Andreas Liebe

Germany

Ranking: 9/10

Clean toilets, nice view to a lake but we did not swim, free (donations apply), drinking water, but it is on a rough road, big place - much room.

Reviewed over 5 years ago and experienced in March 2014

Hanna Liebe's avatar

Hanna Liebe

Germany

Ranking: 7/10

Clean toilets.

Reviewed over 5 years ago and experienced in March 2014

Reinout  Schrijver's avatar

Reinout Schrijver

Ranking: 9/10

Very big campground with rain water tap and toilet block. Not only self contained! Small donation box outside of the museum building, donate if you like the place. Can be windy but depends on the direction. Two BBQ fireplaces but hard to find wood. Ask i-Site lady for directions if you can't find it but it's just in the village so easy :)

Reviewed almost 6 years 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

Benjamin Scherer's avatar

Benjamin Scherer

Ranking: 9/10

Nice stay on this quiet camping area! Good toilets with light, flush and paper. And clean! Good to stay for one night for free!

Reviewed almost 6 years ago

Pia Sander's avatar

Pia Sander

Denmark

Ranking: 10/10

Perfect spot. We went there after a visit to Curio Bay where we watched the yellow-eyed penguins and the petrified forest. The toilets were the best, clean and there was soap to wash your hands with. Very quiet. Woke up to the sound of the tui. One of our favourite overnight spots in NZ.

Reviewed almost 6 years ago

Kimberley Garrod's avatar

Kimberley Garrod

Ranking: 5/10

Toilet block, water available, close to houses, pretty views over the bay, some flat spots for parking, grass area, better than some sites we have seen.

Reviewed almost 6 years ago

Joanna Doran's avatar

Joanna Doran

United Kingdom

Ranking: 9/10

Great spot for Curio Bay, we arrived just before sunset and headed to the beach (short drive) to see the Yellow Eyed Penguins. We got there just in time to see 4 coming in to nest. Amazing! Doc ranger there was very helpful too and informative. The site is quite close to some houses but that didn't feel like an issue. You can park up near some trees and get some shelter from the winds. Lovely views. Very quiet spot and loos were fine, around 200 metres away.

Reviewed almost 6 years ago

Sander and Eliza Hembrarskamp's avatar

Sander and Eliza Hembrarskamp

Netherlands

Ranking: 7/10

Great place right next to the lake. The drive there was very windy but fine. Great (flushable) toilets with lights! (wow!) Nice and quiet in winter.

Reviewed over 6 years ago

Fraule-Emmanuelle De Rouqmout's avatar

Fraule-Emmanuelle De Rouqmout

Belgium

Ranking: 10/10

Beautiful place.

Reviewed over 6 years ago and experienced in February 2014

Joris Giullemot's avatar

Joris Giullemot

France

Ranking: 9/10

Nice place, toilets and drinking water.

Reviewed over 6 years ago and experienced in February 2014

Steve Warren's avatar

Steve Warren

Australia

Ranking: 10/10

Great spot by the bay. Very clean Toilet block on the entry road 50meter walk. Free camp, and we visited the Museum over the road in town, and met the local Lady s. What knowledge and gossip. Thanks for making our day.
The chish and fip caravan was closed as we were out of season. Houses are empty rentals.

Reviewed about 7 years ago

Florian's avatar

Florian

France

Ranking: 8/10

Not only for self-contained because there's toilets !!
Ask the lady at the I-site if you can stay there and that's it.
Not free but donation.
HUGE camground, lots of spaces, some with ocean view but really exposed to the wind.
Shelter as well.
When it's wet don't go to the bottom of the camp as you will stay there !!

Reviewed over 7 years ago

phudgb's avatar

phudgb

United Kingdom

Ranking: 4/10

Assuming we ended up at the right place! It was just a small patch of grass by the bay but overlooked by a number of residential properties. Overall it made us feel uncomfortable so we ended up staying somewhere else.

Reviewed about 8 years ago

Jochem Snyders's avatar

Jochem Snyders

Netherlands

Ranking: 8/10

A free park with no facilities. But back to basics in this country is great!!

Reviewed about 8 years ago and experienced in February 2012

Kirbyfamily's avatar

Kirbyfamily

New Zealand

Ranking: 7/10

This was a nice quiet area beside the harbour. The family enjoyed the bush walk adjacent to the reserve. Toilets were clean and open all night. Lots of rubbish bins beside toilet blocks for public use. The weren't any shops nearby so it would be advisable to be prepared with food supplies.

Reviewed over 8 years ago