The Northland region of New Zealand has a remote, sparsely developed coastline with oceanfront environments that are pure heaven for campers. Otamure Bay Campground is located on the east coast of Northland near the town of Whananaki North, about 40 kilometers from Whangarei or 200 kilometers from Auckland. The Department of Conservation Campground has a hundred campsites on grassy plots just inland from the beach at Otamure Bay and backed by bucolic green hills.
The 131 sites at Otamure Bay Campground (Otamure Bay Conservation Campsite) are $10 per adult per night or $5 for children ages 5 to 17 (younger ones are free). You are required to pan an additional $2 for a rubbish bag to offset the costs of disposing the garbage and recycling. The campground has vault toilets, cold showers (free), dishwashing basins, drinking water, and rubbish disposal bins.
As you bed down for the night, you’ll have a lullaby of rolling waves to coax you to sleep. Exit the fenced-in campground and you’re just a few meters from a sandy cove in Otamure Recreation Reserve. A wall of rocks to the north blocks walking up the coast to Tauwhara Bay, which can be reached via Watkin Powell Track, a lovely short walk that begins near the campground entrance. You can walk south down the beach a good way. Gaze out across the Pacific Ocean where large and small rock islands just offshore give Otamure Bay a remote and rugged charm.
Book a site online or by calling the Otamure Bay Camp Office at +64 9 433 8402. The camp office is open daily from 7:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. There is a gate at the entrance to the campground, which is locked from 9 p.m. to 7:30 a.m.
To get to the campground: Take SH 1 to Whananaki North Road and drive west toward the coast. The signed road to Whananaki North comes 180 kilometers north of Auckland and 19 kilometers north of Whangarei. After 23 kilometers on Whananaki North Road, continue onto Rockwell Road. The campground entrance will be on the right after 2.4 kilometers. If you cross a creek and reach the start of the Watkin Powell Track, you’ve gone 300 meters too far.
Campground address: Rockell Road, Whananaki, Northland, 0181, New Zealand
Campground coordinates: -35.49218, 174.462493 (35° 29′ 31.84″S 174° 27′ 44.97″E)
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|Watkin Powell Track|
This short track crosses through bush to reach a secluded beach in Tauwhara Bay where you can continue walking up the coast.