12 of the best Rotorua campgrounds

The city of Rotorua is situated within the Bay of Plenty and is a truly beautiful destination to visit.

Whether you’re headed to Rotorua for its famous geothermal activity, stunning beauty (largely thanks to pristine lakes and forests), adventure activities or family fun, you’ll find plenty of things to do in this awesome city.

With such a wide variety of activities, unfortunately, costs have to be cut somewhere, and camping is the perfect way to do just that!

You’ll have the choice to stay in a top-of-the-range holiday park, or a cheap camping spot if you fancy stretching your money even further.

So keep some of those dollars in your pocket, and head to some of the best Rotorua camping grounds – all whilst creating memories to last a lifetime.

Some businesses are experiencing staffing challenges post-COVID. If you want to guarantee a space at a restaurant or attraction, we suggest pre-booking.

The Top Rotorua Campgrounds

To help you find the best campgrounds in Rotorua, we’ve put together a list for you.

There are a variety of sites to choose from, with each one offering something unique.

So, in no particular order, let’s take a look at the top Rotorua camping grounds!

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1. All Seasons Holiday Park Rotorua

The All Seasons Holiday Park in Rotorua is one of the best options when it comes to staying in Rotorua. You’ll find it on the shores of Lake Rotorua, on the outskirts of town — an easy 15 minute drive from all the action.

With powered and unpowered campsites, cabins, family units, and studios, it’s the perfect site for everyone.

All Seasons has well-equipped communal kitchens if you want to cook up a storm, but you’ll also find lots of familiar dining options nearby if you want the night off.

Best of all, guests have free access to a wide variety of recreational facilities including a tennis court, children’s playground and a heated swimming pool & spa complex. Sounds like heaven right?

The All Seasons holiday park is also the perfect place to keep the little ones entertained with 19 life-sized dinosaurs located on-site.

Yep, you heard us right – if anything, you’ll never get them to leave!

Without a doubt, this is one of the best Rotorua camping grounds.

50-58 Lee Road, Hannahs Bay, Rotorua

A person lying down on a pool chair beside a swimming pool with retractable shelter.

2. Rotorua Thermal Holiday Park

Rotorua Thermal Holiday Park is the closest holiday park to the famous Whakarewarewa Forest. It’s also only a couple of minutes from the city centre, so is in the perfect location.

They have affordable accommodation for everyone including campsites, cabins, backpacker dorms and motel units.

To make your sure stay the best it can be, there is also a range of facilities including a kitchen, lounge area, BBQ, TV room and children’s playground.

As if that wasn’t amazing already, we haven’t even told you the best part…

The Rotorua Thermal Holiday Park has on-site hot mineral pools which are free and accessible to all guests. They also have a heated swimming pool and a games room – so literally everything you could need for the ultimate family-friendly camping experience.

463 Old Taupō Road, Rotorua

Eco cabins with similar designs.

3. Willowhaven Holiday Park

Willowhaven Holiday Park is situated on the shores of Lake Rotorua and is close to many of the city’s popular tourist attractions.

It’s another well-located holiday park that offers cost-effective accommodation including powered and non-powered accommodation, campervan sites, flats and cabins.

Willowhaven is also a dog-friendly campground, so there’s no need to leave your pup at home.

As well as its beautiful surroundings, this holiday park also has a tidy toilet block, shower facilities, a children’s playground, as well as a boat ramp.

That’s right – if you’ve got a boat, or kayak make sure to bring it with you too.

31 Beaumont Road, Bay of Plenty 3010

A pontoon extending on the water of a lake in Willowhaven.

4. Holdens Bay Holiday Park

The Holdens Bay Holiday Park offers something for every budget with tent sites, powered campsites, cabins and motel units on-site.

With a variety of amenities including a BBQ area, shared kitchen, a laundry area and a children’s playground, it has everything you could need for a great family camping experience. The facilities are also kept clean and tidy, and camping here is at a reasonable price.

It’s also situated in a very scenic location, with a creek running through the site. If you’re lucky you might even spot some trout running up the stream!

However, the best part?

Holdens Bay Holiday Park has an outdoor swimming pool and indoor hot pools for you to enjoy. This is the perfect way to unwind after an exciting day exploring Rotorua.

5 Stonebridge Park Dr, Holdens Bay, Rotorua

Tourists dipping in the outdoor swimming pool of Holdens Bay.

5. Rotorua Family Holiday Park

Rotorua Family Holiday Park is within walking distance to Lake Rotorua, Ngongotaha village, and plenty of tourist attractions.

With powered campsites, cabins, motel units, and 1 or 2-bedroom units, there is a variety of accommodation available for everyone’s needs.

This holiday park is especially perfect for families, with an on-site playground, a netted trampoline, and a TV/games room.

If you visit between November and May, you can also use the solar-heated swimming pool or hire out the park’s spa pool.

The Rotorua Family Holiday Park is another of the city’s pet-friendly holiday parks, so don’t forget your pooch!

22 Beaumont Road, Ngongotaha, Rotorua

A playground in Rotorua Family Holiday Park.

6. Waiteti Trout Stream Holiday Park

The Waiteti Trout Stream Holiday Park is just a short drive outside of the city centre.

It is situated on the banks of the Waiteti Trout Fishing Stream and is set in 2 acres of trees and gardens, making it a very peaceful setting for your holiday.

If fishing is a big hobby of yours, this is the place to stay in Rotorua. Not only can you fish along the stream, but there is affordable fishing tuition and charter available on-site.

However, if fishing isn’t your thing there are plenty of other facilities available too.

Kayaks and dinghies are free to use on the river, and there is a hot spa located at the park for a relaxing finish to your day.

The facilities there are clean and tidy (though don’t expect anything brand new), making this a good choice whilst camping in Rotorua.

14 Okona Crescent, Ngongotaha

A young kid holding a fish near a river.

7. Blue Lake TOP 10 Holiday Park

The Blue Lake TOP 10 Holiday Park is located along the beautiful Lake Tikitapu.

With its crystal clear waters, guests love the many activities available at the lake including swimming, kayaking, stand up paddle-boarding, fishing and water sports.

The Blue Lake Top 10 Holiday Park is also located close to the world-famous Whakarewarewa Forest which is perfect for walking or mountain-biking.

If the location itself isn’t enough to convince you there are also plenty of facilities available there.

These include a kitchen and dining room, recreation room, children’s playground, an on-site shop and a private hot tub available to hire.

Being a TOP 10 Holiday Park, you’d expect only the very best in terms of buildings and facilities and you’d be absolutely right.

723 Tarawera Road, Lake Okareka 3040

The hidden Blue Lake of Rotorua that is surrounded by trees and a few houses at the entrance.

8. Boyes Beach Reserve

If you’re looking for a particularly affordable camping spot near Rotorua, then Boyes Beach Reserve is a great choice.

It’s only a 15-minute drive from the city centre and is located on one of the largest beaches along Lake Ōkareka.

This campground is particularly popular during the summer months when the weather is warm enough to swim.

It really is a beautiful spot and one of the best swimming places in Rotorua!

On-site facilities include a picnic area, BBQs, a children’s playground and a toilet and shower area.

Although this is a much simpler campground than many of the others on this list, the Boyes Beach Reserve is a peaceful area to park your campervan.

The only problem with this site is that no tents are allowed so keep this in mind.

Millar Road, RD 5, Lake Ōkareka, Rotorua

9. Lake Ōkāreka DOC Campsite

The Lake Ōkāreka DOC Campsite is a 16-minute drive from Rotorua and is one of the cheapest sites in the area.

Although the site only has toilet facilities and a shelter for cooking, it offers plenty of awesome activities for guests.

Lake Ōkāreka is a popular spot for swimming, kayaking and paddleboarding, as well as fishing (although you’ll need a license).

If you don’t fancy getting in the water, there is also the Lake Ōkāreka Scenic Reserve community track. This walking track is 2km long and links this campsite to Boyes Beach Reserve. It’s relatively flat and takes you along a beach and through native forest.

At nighttime, find a dark spot at Lake Ōkareka and try your hand at some astrophotography.

Lake Ōkareka is a beautiful part of Rotorua, and for this reason, we highly recommend visiting.

104/302 Millar Road, Lake Ōkareka, Rotorua 3076

Kids playing a ball while their parents are sitting down talking near their tent in Lake Okareka Campsite.
Photo credit: DOC.

10. Trout Pool Reserve Campground

If you own a campervan or are self-contained then Trout Pool Road is the perfect place to camp for free.

Again tents aren’t permitted so unfortunately, you’ll have to look elsewhere if you aren’t in a vehicle.

This reserve is a 22-minute drive outside of Rotorua and is in the perfect location to explore the area around Okere Falls. The Okere Falls Track also runs from this spot so it’s a great place to take a walk.

You can even watch people go white water rafting on the largest commercially rafted falls in the world!

During your stay, you’ll also have the bonus of waking up to the wonderful sound of the water crashing over Trout Pool Falls.

Another bonus of this free spot? There are toilets on-site so you don’t have to use your onboard toilet (though you do need to be self-contained).

103 Trout Pool Rd, Okere Falls

11. Hot Water Beach Campsite (Te Rātā Bay)

The Hot Water Beach Campsite (Te Rātā Bay) is a 22-minute drive from the city of Rotorua and is another affordable spot to camp near the city.

Although this campground only has toilet facilities and a shelter for cooking, it makes up for it in other ways!

The Hot Water Beach Campsite is located on the shores of Lake Tarawera which is perfect for swimming and water sports.

There are also a couple of tracks to walk in the area if you fancy a hike.

However, the absolute best part about this site is the natural hot springs at Te Rātā Bay.

If you’re looking for a simple Rotorua camping ground (that provides easy access to some great attractions at night or day), this is your place!

Lake Tarawera Scenic Reserve, Waimangu 3076

Boats docked on the shores while camping tents are scattered nearby.
Photo credit: Whakarewarewa.

12. Waikite Valley Thermal Pools Campground

The Waikite Valley Thermal Pools Campground is another site with access to stunning local hot pools.

They are free for guests to use, whilst offering scenic views of the Waikite Valley and the Otamakokore Stream. There are also private hot pools available to book at an additional cost if you want a more personal experience.

Now this by itself is enough to convince anyone, however, there’s more!

There is a licensed cafe at the Waikite Valley Thermal Pools Campground called ‘Pukeko in a Ponga Tree’. They serves snacks, casual meals and drinks.

You literally don’t even need to move from the site if you don’t want to!

In addition, there is also a short walking track to Te Manaroa Spring, where you’ll get to see the geothermal spring water bubbling to the grounds’ surface.

The campground is only a 24-minute drive from Rotorua.

648 Waikite Valley Road, RD1, Rotorua 3077

As you can see there are a variety of brilliant Rotorua camping grounds. Some are located by the city, whilst some are situated in quieter areas nearby.

Each of them offers a great alternative to spending a wad of cash on expensive hotel accommodation.

We hope this list has given you a good idea of the options and facilities available to you! Another thing to try is freedom camping where you camp in a public environment that is not specifically designated for this purpose.

Have you visited any of these campgrounds before?

If you have, we’d love to hear about your experience in the comments below.

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All photos are from the campsites mentioned, unless otherwise stated.

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