The Best Campsites and Glampsites in Waitomo, New Zealand

Waitomo, New Zealand landscape
Waitomo, New Zealand landscape | © Antoine Hubert / Flickr
Photo of Thalita Alves
17 June 2018

Waitomo is the ultimate go-to for New Zealand travellers wanting to revel in the great outdoors. Whether there to view its famous glowworms or to enjoy the many adventures, staying amidst nature will make the experience even more memorable. The best thing is, you don’t always have to forego your everyday luxuries in order to do so.

Keeping it classic

Those who like the classic campsite experience needn’t look too far to find their ideal place to settle. If you want to stay in Waitomo Village, Waitomo Top 10 Holiday Park is worth checking out: along with being centrally located, the budget accommodation comprises a non-powered tent site as well as powered campervan facilities for those exploring the North Island on a motorhome.

Another alternative would be to head over to the closest town north, Otorohanga, to make the most of the camping and campervan facilities available at the Otorohanga Kiwi Holiday Park. As with the Waitomo park, this one is right at the heart of the township and has plenty of cheap accommodation offerings for visitors to check out.

Waitomo Top 10 Holiday Park | © Miamigod / Flickr

Freedom camping (i.e. camping for free on public land) is possible in certain areas, but you’ll need to keep your eyes peeled for any restrictions and regulations that might be in place. The Camping Our Way Website will help you find free and paid campgrounds throughout New Zealand; along with regional maps, the site also has an app you can download to help with navigation. And if you’re ever in doubt, just talk to the local Visitor Information Centre – they’re sure to point you in the right direction.

Landscapes surrounding the Waitomo Caves, New Zealand | © 家禎 張 / Flickr

Here’s a quick tip: there’s a free self-contained overnight camping spot just outside of Roselands Restaurant in Waitomo Village. This is located just down the road from the Top 10 Holiday Park and includes campervan parking too.

Freedom campers who are also looking to get their hiking fix during their Waitomo trip should definitely consider staying in Pureora Forest Park. This lush natural wilderness sits within an hour-and-half drive of Waitomo and has three designated public campsites that offer a good base for the best short walks and long treks in the vicinity.

Camping near Waitomo, New Zealand | © David Schmitz / Flickr

Glam(p)ing it up

For a fabulous take on a familiar theme, there’s always glamping. This is actually quite a new phenomenon in Waitomo, but one that is proving popular for romantic getaways and opulent weekend retreats. The biggest drawcard here is that glamping offers the optimal compromise for holidayers who like the idea of camping but don’t want the hassle of carrying a tent, sleeping on the ground or abandoning the everyday luxuries like indoor plumbing.

Waitomo Hilltop Glamping is the local provider for these lavish escapes. The glampsite is perched on top of a hilly farm and enjoys some incredible panoramas of its rolling pastures and picturesque landscapes. Guests are invited to stay in a large, custom-made safari tent that is fully insulated and fitted with fly nets, curtains, large windows, an en-suite bathroom, a kitchen and a queen-size bed.

Bookings are essential for this kind of accommodation. To give you an idea, by the time the first guests arrived in late 2017, the glampsite was already booked out until April the following year – such is people’s affinity for the glamorous side of nature.

Walking track to Waitomo Caves | © Bastian / Flickr

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