Marlborough campsites are waiting for you

Department of Conservation —  24/12/2013

By Clare Moore, Community Relations Ranger, Marlborough

If you’re not keen on camping you obviously haven’t explored one of our lovely Marlborough conservation campsites.

Family campers walking at Momorangi campsite.

Momorangi campsite

I know campers can be a bit picky, so we cater to a range of campers and camping styles; from lush forest settings, to sandy beaches and shimmering lakes.

You can camp in scenic surroundings from as little as $6 a night.

Wilderness wanderer

For the wilderness wanderer, camping is definitely about getting away from it all. A bit of bush or forest perhaps, or maybe a tranquil lake or a bubbling brook… Ah, the serenity!

To satisfy your quest for peace and quiet, campsites off the beaten track are your best bet. They have toilets and a water supply (possibly a stream), and that’s probably it! You don’t need to book them either and some are even free.

In Marlborough there lots of campsites which would suit the wilderness wanderer, especially those in the Marlborough Sounds which you need a boat to reach, like Putanui Point, South Arm and Tawa Bay.

Awatere Valley in Molesworth Station. Photo: Gregor Ronald (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Molesworth Station. Photo: Gregor Ronald

If you are travelling by car you could visit Titirangi Farm Park in the outer Kenepuru Sound, Cob Cottage in Molesworth or Whatamango Bay on the Port Underwood Rd.

Family camper

Family campers have young ones that can dictate where you can go.

To keep them happy, and yourself sane, you’ll need access to activities in the area to occupy them—and it wouldn’t hurt to have a few facilities to help make things simpler.

Most family campers don’t mind having other families and campers around, and like the idea that an ice-cream treat isn’t too far away!

Pelorus Bridge and Whites Bay are perfect for families – good facilities, safe swimming areas, plenty of walks and not too far to travel.

White's Bay beach at the White's Bay campsite.

White’s Bay beach


If the thought of camping freaks you out a little, because you don’t want to use a long drop and would rather not go without a shower, then you might just be a glamper (glamour camper). You know that camping is a fun, social summer ‘must-do’, but you want to ease in to it gently.

At these sites there may not be cell phone reception, and there won’t be a power plug for your hair straightener sorry, but you will find showers and won’t be too far from an ice cream, or a coffee if you’re lucky!

Glampers in Marlborough should check out French Pass campsite or Momorangi Bay.

The beach at the French Pass campsite.

French Pass campsite

Check out the DOC website to find links to more conservation campsites in Marlborough, and the rest of New Zealand, and dust off your tent, air out the chilly bin, and get out and create some long-lasting memories in our great outdoors.

2 responses to Marlborough campsites are waiting for you

    Ernest Dunwoody 01/01/2014 at 7:21 pm


    Instead of throwing a bunch of pretty pictures of camp sites up on the “Where to go camping web page” in an attempt to randomly tempt us, why don’t you adopt a more rational approach, for those of us that like to make rational as opposed to spur of the moment decisions, so we could narrow down our options in a systematic, thoughtful and deliberative way.

    Such an approach would use a simple Decision Tree that the user followed or clicked on so that you could narrow down your camping/hiking options to a short list (e.g. Number and age in party, Wilderness vs Serviced, Nth Island vs Sth Island, marine vs inland, etc etc.) then you could look at each of these in detail. DOC also needs to explain what its different categories of ticketing mean. Outsiders don’t know and shouldn’t have to know what Dept. jargon about different categories of trails and tickets mean.

    I have been exceedingly disappointed in the amount of time I have had to spend to try and plan a simple 3 week holiday trip to NZ. I began it with a cheery optimistic attitude and now I am very depressed before leaving because of all the hassle I’ve had. I still have no confidence that my precious time and money will be well spent, from my point of view.

    Of course that may not matter from a NZ point of view, so long as it is spent.

    Fairly sure I’ll just do a domestic holiday in future.

    I may be a lone voice but that is my “rational” input.

    Ernest Dunwoody


      Thanks for your feedback Ernest. We’re really sorry that you’ve had so much trouble planning your New Zealand holiday. Hopefully your actual experience in our beautiful country will convince you that your time and money have been well spent.

      You’ll be pleased to know that the DOC website is changing this year. One of the changes being rolled out (there are many) is the ability for you to narrow down options by filtering content (the filters chosen mirror some of your suggestions and were created based on extensive user research and feedback).

      We’re also rewriting a lot of our information to make it easier to read and to understand.

      So, we can assure you that when you come to plan your next New Zealand holiday, you’ll have a much better DOC website to help you.