Summer camping from mountain to sea

Nina Mercer —  19/01/2015

As part of our summer holiday this year we had the pleasure of visiting two very different conservation campsites, Mangawhero campsite on the southern side of Mount Ruapehu and Anaura Bay campsite on the East Coast.

Nina's family standing in front of the Waitonga Falls Walk sign.

Exploring around Mangawhero campsite

Nina and her children at Waitonga Falls.

Waitonga Falls

It was a repeat visit to Mangawhero. We had had a night there in July and, in beautiful weather, mountain biked the Old Coach Road, excellent fun.

This time we took the kids on the Waitonga Falls Walk, a beautiful walk that passes through mountain beech forest and across alpine wetlands. We were lucky to have the pleasure of watching a kākā have dinner on a beech tree beside the track.

A bonus of this campsite is its close proximity to Ohakune township, we enjoyed a slap up dinner in a local restaurant before heading back to the caravan.

Andrew Mercer biking along a bridge on the Old Coach Road.

Stay at Mangawhero and mountain bike the Old Coach Road

Anaura Bay is stunning and definitely my favourite stop on the East Coast. The campsite is open from Labour Weekend until Easter Weekend and you need to be self contained (bring you own dunny).

Tents and caravans at Anaura Bay campsite in the early morning.

Early morning at Anaura Bay campsite

Anaura Bay is sheltered and calm making it safe for swimming. A reef at the northern end provided us with fun explorations and snorkelling opportunities. People were friendly and there was a lovely feel about the place, we will be heading back there!

Kids swimming in the waves at Anaura Bay beach.

Kids enjoying the waves at Anaura Bay

Now, which conservation campsite to visit next?

Nina Mercer and her children at Anaura Bay at sunset.

Sunset at Anaura Bay

Nina Mercer


Nina is a Partnerships Ranger based in Palmerston North who has worked in conservation for more than twenty years. She has a passion for our natural environment and loves exploring the outdoors, especially with her family.