Archives For campsites

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.

Like loads of other New Zealanders (and many visitors to our shores) I love spending time out and about exploring our beautiful national parks, forests and reserves.

When I was growing up, it didn’t matter where we went, the green and yellow DOC signs were always there—an iconic part of holidays, camps, hunting trips and adventures into the bush. However, I never realised the huge job that DOC does to look after so many huts, campsites, tracks and places around the country.

DOC’s recent Annual Report helps shed some light on the range of things DOC looks after and shows how many New Zealanders are getting out and enjoying what’s on offer. Take a look, you might be surprised:


You can also read about what DOC has been doing to look after our historic heritage in last week’s blog post

Check out the DOC website for more information about:

DOC’s latest Annual Report

Parks and recreation

Summer. It’s finally here, and one of the things I’m most looking forward to is a camping getaway. Do you still do that? The great New Zealand summer camping holiday? I get the feeling that not so many people do these days – which I think is a real shame.

Camping: Our tent looking out onto trees.

Our trusty family tent

I love camping. It’s the best. And I guess you might expect to hear that from someone who works at DOC, but I’m not really that kind of DOCer. My endurance tests are more likely to be in front of a computer, or waiting in line for my latte at Memphis Belle, than climbing a mountain.

My kind of camping has nothing to do with hardship or endurance (except maybe the time we camped in Scotland in spring – I had no idea it could get that cold). No, for me, camping is luxury. The luxury of a slower pace and a simpler world. Back to fresh air, basic food, good conversation and real books (those paper things) under a starry sky, by the light of the citronella candle.

Camping. Our tent at dawn. Full moon in a clear sky.

I remember this morning well. So still, so cold, so beautiful, so very early!

So, here’s the lowdown. My top reasons why I love camping (and why you should too!):

  1. It’s cheap. Your money goes further so you can stay away longer – and longer holidays are good, right? My family (hubbie and two young sons) spent six glorious months tripping around some of the more expensive places in the Northern Hemisphere a few years back. If we hadn’t camped, then we would’ve been home (for a New Zealand winter) after about a month.
Camping. The view from our tent in Sorrento, Italy.

The view from our campsite in Sorrento (Italy). You can’t tell me you’d get a better view at a hotel.

  1. It’s communal. I travel to experience new places, but also to meet new people – and camping is the best way I know to do both.Kids are especially good at connecting with other kids. Normally, within half an hour of arriving at a campsite, my guys (including one little girl these days) find some likely “besties”. I’ve also made friends that I continue to write to, send Christmas gifts to, and even stay with. We meet while brushing teeth, washing the dishes, or watching kids. Family camping just builds that kind of community.
Camping. Young one-year-old boy in a bucket bath with tent.

Camping with young kids is actually kinda cool. My second son, Sebastian,  grew quite accustomed to his bath in a bucket when he was young.
Clockwise from top: Italy, Canada, Scotland, USA

  1. It’s simple. I have a lot in my life (as most of us do) and for me, camping strips life back to the basics. I’m happiest with the basics. Less stuff = less to lose and less to think about. It’s liberating. And when you’ve got a small old sedan, a five person family, and a (not very big) tent that takes up half the boot/trunk there’s no alternative but to keep it simple.
Camping, tent and lots of laundry.

Laundry. One job that follows me wherever I go

So, they are some of the reasons I love camping. Why do you love camping? What’s your best New Zealand camping spot? Where are you heading this summer? Tell me everything!

If you’re stuck for ideas check out: DOC manage some lovely campsites, in some stunning places. Go forth and make some great summer camping memories.