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Where can I camp?
Great Lake Taupo has some of the best campsites in New Zealand. There are many holiday parks and campgrounds to choose from with excellent facilities and very reasonable prices.
Check out Great Lake Taupo's holiday parks and campgrounds. If you do decide to rough it out, you can find some important information about freedom camping here.
Camping on the Taupo lakefront, Taupo boat harbour and some reserves is not allowed under the Taupo District Council Freedom Camping bylaw. Look out for 'No Camping' signs or you could recieve a $200 fine.
Hipapatua / Reid's Farm Recreation Reserve
This popular summer freedom camping spot located on the banks of the Waikato River on Huka Falls Road is just five minutes north of Taupo. You can tent here or park your non-self-contained vehicle and stay for free for 3 nights in any 14 night period.
The top section of the reserve has are very basic toilet facilities, no showers and a limited number of campsites. No power or drinking water is available. There is a permanent fire ban on this campsite - no fires are allowed at any time - and a complete liquor ban between midday on 27 December and 7am on 4 January. The campsite is closed from 30 March to 1 October annually for maintenance.
The bottom section of the reserve, beside the Waikato River, is for day users only and is a popular spot for swimming and kayaking. The gates to this area are locked daily from 6pm to 7am. There are strong currents in the river so be careful in the water!
The campsite is dog friendly but please keep them under control and clean up after them.
Five Mile Bay Recreation Reserve (Amenity Area)
This is a Department of Conservation (DOC) managed campsite located 8kms south of Taupo town centre.
If you are in 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 Lake Taupo with picnic tables and a public toilet. Look for the sign on the main road pointing to the '5 Mile Bay Ski Lane'.
Whakaipo Bay Recreation Reserve
Whakaipo Bay is a Department of Conservation (DOC) managed campsite 10km from Taupo town centre. Despite only being a fifteen minute drive from Taupo township, Whakaipo Bay is a unique, unspoilt area treasured by locals and visitors alike for its serenity.
If you are in a self-contained campervan, you can stay for a maximum of four nights in a single calendar month. Please note that camping in tents are non self-contained campervans is no longer permitted at Whakaipo Bay. Find out more on the DOC website.
Mangakino Recreation Reserve
The Mangakino Recreation Reserve is located to the right of Lake Road and stretches to the edge of Lake Maraetai. The designated camping area is located between the Pouakani Marae and the bowling club. Entrance to this area is off Moana Crescent.
There are camping sites at the lakefront by the toilet block where power outlets are available for $5 per 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. No power is available. Campers may stay a maximum of two nights here.
The reserve is often used for events so may not be available for camping. The motocross park is beside the camping area and is open during daylight hours.
Whakamaru Recreation Reserve
This reserve is located near Whakamaru Village on Pokuru Road on the edge of Lake Whakamaru. The camping area is adjacent to the Whakamaru Ski Club building. Toilets are available but there is no power.
Only members of the Whakamaru Ski Club are able to use the reserve for camping between Christmas and 10 January. At other times of the year campers may stay for free for up to 2 nights.
Four Basic Rules for Freedom Camping
- Camping on private property is not allowed.
- Campervans must have their own toilets and fresh water; unless these are provided by the campsite.
- On-board toilets may only be emptied at dump stations (see locations below).
- Help us keep Great Lake Taupo clean by disposing of your rubbish and waste responsibly.
Rubbish and Waste
Where can I dispose of my recycling and rubbish?
You can dispose of rubbish and recycling at any of the landfill and transfer stations in the Great Lake Taupo region.
Find out the charges and opening hours of the landfill and transfer stations here.
Where can I dispose of my toilet waste?
Motorhome grey waste can be disposed of for free, 24 hours a day at the following dump stations.
Mata Place, Kinloch
Most commercial campgrounds and holiday parks have dump stations available for guests to use.
More information on responsible camping
Download this free app to find campsites, toilets and waste stations in New Zealand.
Holiday Parks & Campgrounds
Great Lake Taupo has many holiday parks & campgrounds to choose from with excellent facilities and very reasonable prices.
Great Lake Roadtrip
A road trip around Lake Taupo is short enough to do in half a day but there are so many gems worth exploring, why not make it an overnighter, writes Adele Thurlow.
Get that iconic photo with the #LoveTaupo lettering.