A testament to Auckland’s explosive past, over 50 volcanic cones contour its dramatic landscape while also offering excellent vantage points for scenic selfies.
Bordered by the Waitakere Ranges in the west and the magnificent Waitemata Harbour to the east, Auckland is New Zealand’s largest city housing over 1.6 million people. It’s also one of the country’s most scenic — with a spectacular combination of sparkling waters, heavenly beaches and lush bush.
The Auckland region also offers a range of accessible regional parks, campgrounds and holiday parks — making it ideal for exploring in a motorhome.
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Why Auckland is a great place for a camping holiday
Known as Tāmaki Makaurau in Māori, meaning desired by many, Auckland is perfect for motorhomers and campers as it can provide the best of all worlds, including:
- Stunning natural landscapes — both coastal and rural
- Fine dining, sublime casual eateries, galleries, museums and entertainment
- Outdoor activities — from ziplining and surfing to kayaking and canyoning to walking and cycle trails
- All the urban amenities and diversions you’d expect from a major city.
Check out our top ten things to do in Auckland blog for more inspiration.
Most campervan hire companies have their main depots in Auckland. If you organise your campervan hire in Auckland, whichever direction you decide to drive, you’re barely an hour or two from a unique slice of camping paradise.
When is the best time of year to camp in Auckland?
Auckland is an excellent all-season motorhome destination because the weather is pretty consistent. The average low in winter is a not-so-chilly 14 degrees Celsius — while in summer the mercury sits at around 23 degrees.
Warmer months lend themselves to beachside fun but you can still enjoy Auckland’s coast in winter — and popular spots will be less crowded. Imagine having a local beach and bush walk virtually all to yourself?
Take a read of our blog on the best time to see New Zealand in a campervan.
Camping ground options in Auckland
Auckland offers a wide variety of accommodation for campervan travel — from basic cost-effective sites in rural areas to privately owned holiday parks with all the amenities.
It’s easy to travel from one place to another in under a few hours, which means you can experience a wide range of the city’s myriad charms.
But before you set off, if you haven’t rented a campervan before, or you need a refresher, check out our guide to motorhome camping in New Zealand.
Holiday parks are like more luxurious campsites. They tend to have higher quality facilities and a wider array of accommodation options. You may even find a swimming pool or barbecue area at these campgrounds.
Takapuna Beach Holiday Park
This laidback campsite is right by Takapuna Beach on Auckland’s North Shore — just 10km from the CBD.
With iconic Rangitoto Island on the horizon and close enough to kayak to, the bustling township of Takapuna is just a few minutes walk away. There you can enjoy fine dining, bars, shopping and even a movie or live theatre.
This camping ground is paradise with:
- Excellent facilities — including a kitchen, ablutions and laundry
- Plenty of playgrounds — plus walks and bike paths nearby
- A dog friendly attitude.
As for Takapuna Beach Café right next door, they serve up an incredible selection of gourmet ice cream.
Piha Domain Motor Camp
Piha is one of the west coast’s most loved beaches, and it’s only 40km from downtown Auckland. Accessed via winding bush-fringed roads, Piha Domain Motor Camp has all the amenities you’ll need — including a toilet and shower block that could win architectural awards.
At Piha Domain, you’ll also find a:
- Playground and a basketball court
- Skateboard ramp
- Football field
- Tennis court and a bowling green.
With the beach right in front of you, maybe borrow a bodyboard and hit the waves. Or with the bush directly behind you, enjoy a short stroll or longer hike through the forest. One popular walk will take you to picturesque Kitekite Falls.
Be sure to take extra care on the drive over to Piha, as well as in the surf which has a notorious reputation for getting swimmers into trouble.
Martin’s Bay Holiday Park
Martin’s Bay is on the balmy east coast just 70km north of Auckland. Located just beyond the historic riverside township of Warkworth, try to book one of the powered beachfront sites. Then settle in to enjoy some of the best views in the world.
Facilities are plentiful and include a:
- Kitchen — along with barbecue areas
- Playground — complete with a trampoline
- TV lounge — for socialising when there’s a sports match on.
You can also hire kayaks, stand up paddle boards (SUPs) or pedal karts. And masks, snorkels and boogie boards can be borrowed from reception.
Regional parks in the vicinity include Scandrett, Mahurangi and pest-free Tāwharanui. All of them are paradise for bird lovers with non-powered sites bookable through the Auckland Council.
Clarks Beach Holiday Park
Offering guests a warm welcome on the south side of Manukau Harbour is Clarks Beach Holiday Park. It’s located about 45 minutes drive south of Auckland Airport.
With all the amenities expected from a top-rated holiday park, you’ll have access to a:
- Swimming pool
- Barbecue area
- Playground and toys for the kids
- Mini golf course for bigger kids.
The golf course next door will add to the attractiveness of Clarks Beach — especially if you’re into golf.
Miranda Holiday Park
Miranda Holiday Park is a relaxing stopover for a night or two — and only an hour south of the airport. The park features:
- Barbecue spaces
- A playground and a flying fox
- Mini golf and a tennis court
- Trike hire and a BMX track
- Mineral hot pools.
In New Zealand, regional parks are owned and managed by regional councils. Expect them to have fewer facilities than commercial campsites or holiday parks.
Āwhitu Regional Park
Set on the western shores of the Manukau Harbour about 84km southwest of Auckland Airport is Āwhitu Regional Park. It provides unpowered campsites with basic amenities.
Part of a working farm, Āwhitu Regional Park is open from October 10 to May 30 annually and is reached via pleasantly undulating rural roads. The basic campground has:
- Beach access
- Drinking water.
After you make camp, you’ll have options to set off and explore wetlands, swim at nearby beaches or ride mountain bike trails. For more New Zealand biking info, take a look at our North Island bike road trip itinerary.
Ōmana Regional Park
Set on a working farm, Ōmana Regional Park offers panoramic views of the inner Hauraki Gulf Harbour. A mere 32km east of Auckland Airport, the park has basic facilities — but what’s lacking in modcons is made up for with scenic beauty.
Play in the boughs of majestic pōhutukawa trees, swim in the ocean, or watch the kids frolic in the excellent playground. Other facilities you’ll find include:
- Orienteering and farmland walks — one of which is a 2.5km perimeter walk that crosses paddocks, mangroves and estuary habitats
- Seven gas barbecues
- Basic toilets
- Picnic tables.
Ōmana Regional Park is bliss for kayakers, bird watchers and beach lovers.
Shakespear Regional Park
Nestled behind the sand dunes of a sweeping white sand beach, Te Haruhi Bay Campground is in Shakespear Regional Park at the end of the Whangaparaoa Peninsula.
About 73km from Auckland Airport, the park is a super relaxed place to enjoy sheltered camping with views across the Hauraki Gulf towards the city. At Shakespear, you’ll find:
- Cold showers and flush toilets
- Changing rooms
- Tap water — which should be boiled before drinking
- Walks galore — plenty of trails to stroll the day away, ranging from 15min to two hours.
Shakespear Regional Park is only a short drive to the townships of Stanmore Bay, Manly and Gulf Harbour.
Whakanewha Regional Park
If you’re not daunted by the additional effort (and cost) of taking your motorhome hire on a ferry, travelling to Waiheke Island in the Hauraki Gulf is a great option.
One of the best motorhome camps is Poukaraka Flats Campground in Whakanewha Regional Park — also managed by Auckland Council. It features:
- A roomy sheltered camping area
- Drinkable water
- Toilets and cold showers
From this campground, you can explore everything the island has to offer — from stunning vineyards to gorgeous white-sand beaches and incredible bush walks through regenerating native bush and forest.
Whakanewha is open year round and is perfect if you’re an explorer who wants to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Council-run regional park campsites
Responsible freedom camping is allowed in Auckland and you can park up for the night at specific council-controlled locations — as long as you have a certified self-contained (CSC) vehicle. Check with your rental operator that their campervans or motorhomes are CSC before hiring.
Gulf Harbour Car Park
Set amongst a little seaside town is this scenic freedom camping spot — right next to the local marina.
Although the maximum stay here is two nights, the facilities available include public toilets and the car parking space itself is large.
Highlight: Relaxing spot for early morning walks
Location: Laurie Southwick Parade Ferry Terminal — Gulf Harbour
Booking: Free — first in, first served
Head south of Auckland Airport and take the road all the way to the west coast. This isolated freedom camping location will feel like pure bliss as you wander up and down the remote beach. Facilities include:
- Outdoor shower.
Cox’s Bay Esplanade
Available to freedom campers in CSC vehicles, this small overnight park up is super close to the centre of Auckland.
A simple car parking area, there aren’t any facilities here at Cox’s Bay — but there is access to the nearby bay for an early morning swim.
It’s important to understand the local freedom camping bylaws before you decide to park up in a public park for the night in Auckland — to avoid getting fined.
In general, to enjoy freedom camping in Auckland you must:
- Be in a CSC vehicle
- Stay no more than two nights in the same spot
- Vacate your parking space by 9am on leaving day
- Not return to the same road or off-road parking area within a two-week period
- Comply with any special rules for freedom camping in restricted areas
- Meet other rules about disposal of waste and responsible freedom camping.