Maybe I should say “camping” with quotes, since we did not pitch a tent or rent an RV. We stayed in a cabin at Hot Water Beach Top 10 Holiday Park. This campground is one of 50 locations in the Top 10 Holiday Park campground brand throughout New Zealand.
Hot Water Beach Top 10 Holiday Park is located just across the street from Hot Water Beach in the Coromandel Peninsula. In fact, had it not been raining almost the whole time we were there, we could have just walked to the beach.
Getting to the campground was a bit hairy, though. The route from Rotorua goes through some hills/mountains with hairpin turns. Add in some rain and driving on the opposite side of the highway, and we were all relieved when we finally arrived.
In addition to RV hookup spaces and tent camping areas, the campground had a variety of cabins. Some had bathrooms, but most did not.
We splurged on a 3-bedroom cabin (or “motel unit” as it was called).
The cabin had a living room with TV:
A twin bedroom:
Two bedrooms with King-size beds:
And a kitchen and eating area:
All of the beds had heated mattress pads, so that was a first for us.
The cabin had two full bathrooms, and it was plenty big for my family of five. But to be honest, we still felt like we were camping. If we left even a tiny crumb on the counter, it would be swarming with ants quickly. Because of the sand, rain and mud, we tracked a lot of dirt into the cabin. The whole experience was quite different from our hotels and rental home.
Hot Water Beach Top 10 Holiday Park had a small general store with a few groceries and necessities. We could also rent shovels to dig our hot tubs at the beach.
The community building had a lounge, dining area and large kitchen that guests could use to prepare meals.
The campground was pretty empty when we were there since it was winter in New Zealand, but the few guests that were there congregated in the community building.
Outside, there was a playground area. We didn’t see any other kids at the campground during our two-night stay.
My kids’ favorite campground amenity was the jumping pillow. Wheee! (But notice all the mud!)
On Friday and Saturday nights, the Fish ‘n Chips grill was open for business. Since it was the only food available in town at night, it was very popular. (Note: On Thursday night, we had to drive to the next town and find the only single restaurant there. Everyone from the campground was there. Talk about remote!)
Final Thoughts on Camping in New Zealand
I’m glad we stayed in a campground for a few nights. Camping in New Zealand is very popular with both Kiwis and international visitors. I don’t think I could have stayed in a campground for our entire two-week trip, though. The bugs and dirt were a bit more than I could handle for an extended period. But, if you’re visiting Hot Water Beach, this campground is in the perfect location.
Have you gone camping in New Zealand or another international destination? Do you enjoy camping, or do you prefer hotels?
Nancy lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and three kids. Her favorite vacations include the beach, cruising and everything Disney.