Freedom Camping in Taupo
There are several freedom camping sites in the Great Lake Taupo region, perfect for those with self-contained campervans.
We support responsible camping and encourage the use of our many commercial camping grounds, so if you would prefer to have amenities close at hand or are traveling in a non-self-contained vehicle, contact one of our fantastic local holiday parks. Most holiday parks offer superb facilities including bicycle hire, swimming pools and the all important hot shower. However, if you do decide to rough it out, you can find some important information about freedom camping listed below.
Hipapatua / Reid's Farm Recreation Reserve
Please note: Hipapatua / Reid’s Farm is temporarily closed to overnight campers from 1 May to 30 September for maintenance work. The reserve is still open for day visitors.
Reid’s Farm is a popular freedom camping spot located on the banks of the Waikato River on Huka Falls Road, five minutes north of Taupo. You can tent here or park your non-self-contained vehicle and stay for free.
There are basic toilet facilities, showers and a large number of campsites, but no power or potable water supply. There is a permanent fire ban on this campsite - no fires are allowed at any time - and a complete liquor ban between noon on 27 December and 7am on 4 January.
Reid's farm is a popular spot for swimming and kayaking. It is the ideal location to learn how to white water kayak and is the end point for guided kayak tours on the Waikato River.
The campsite is dog friendly but please keep them under control and clean up after them.
Huka-Aratiatia Amenity Area
This is a Department of Conservation (DOC) managed campsite situated right next to the Aratiatia Dam. It has very basic car parking area restricted to self contained vehicles. You can camp here for 4 nights maximum in a single calendar month.
This campsite is very peaceful, with just the birds chirping away and very little road noise. Bring your mosquito repellent as they can be fairly prevalent here. There are many nice walks you can access from this campsite such as the Aratiatia to Huka Falls walk.
Five Mile Bay Recreation Reserve (Amenity Area)
This is a Department of Conservation (DOC) managed campsite located 8kms south of the town. If you are a self-contained campervan, you can stay for a maximum of four nights in a single calendar month. It's an awesome spot right on the edge of the lake with lots of areas to park up, plenty of picnic tables and a public toilet. Look for the sign on the main road pointing to the '5 Mile Bay Ski lane', follow that and you'll get there.
The lake is very safe for swimming and if you purchase a licence for fishing, you can try and catch some for dinner. There is a river mouth a little bit south from here that is quite popular with fly-fishing anglers, as the trout position themselves near the river mouth in order to catch any insects that come down the stream. Here’s how you can purchase your fishing license.
While it’s located right next to State Highway 1, it’s far enough away to be out of earshot. It’s a busy road for trucks around here as forestry is big in the area, however these won’t bother you and the site is actually quite peaceful.
Ferry Road is a freedom camping site in Taupo, located just past the traffic lights towards the lake. You must be in a self-contained vehicle as there are no amenities here. You can park here for up to two nights between 5pm and 10am daily. Ferry Road is very central, Taupo’s town centre and the SuperLoo; with paid showers and toilets are just a couple of minutes walk. The library is also walking distance, located behind the Taupo i-SITE with toilets and free Wi-Fi facilities.
Towards the marina on Ferry Road is another freedom camping spot. The rules here are the same as Ferry Road, but here you will find toilets and clean drinking water. While you are camping in town please be a tidy kiwi and clean up after yourself and be sure to abide by the liquor ban regulations in place on Ferry Road on all Public Holidays and between 4pm Thursdays to 7am Monday year-round.
Mangakino Recreation Reserve
The Mangakino Recreation Reserve is located on the right of Lake Road and down to the edge of Lake Maraetai in Mangakino. The designated camping area is located between the Pouakani Marae and ‘Bowling Club’. Entrance to this area is off Moana Crescent.
There is very limited camping space close to the toilet block at the lake front, where power outlets are available for $5/night (paid to The Bus Stop Café). Campers may stay a maximum of two nights, or one night between Christmas Day and the 10th of January.
Located between Mangakino and Whakamaru on the edge of Lake Maraetai, this camping area is in the paddock near the toilet block with no power available. Campers may stay a maximum of two nights here, but this reserve is often used for events so please check the events page to make sure it is available for camping. The Motocross Park is adjacent to the camping area and is open during daylight hours.
Whakamaru Recreation Reserve
The Whakamaru Reserve is located on Pokuru Road on the edge of Lake Whakamaru, adjacent to the Whakamaru Ski Club building. There are toilets onsite but no power available. Campers can set up camp for up to two nights year round except between Christmas Day and the 10th of January when the site is reserved for members of the Whakamaru Ski Club only.
All you need to know when backpacking around our region