Tips & Guides

5 Most Picturesque Campsites in New Zealand’s South Island4 min read

New Zealand has to be one of the most stunning countries in the world. Yep, it’s a grand statement but it’s true: from the awe-inspiring mountains to the wide, vibrant lakes, the power of nature really does overwhelm you in New Zealand. So really, there’s no better place to park up your RV and camp out under the stars each night. With all that beauty, it’s pretty hard to narrow it down to the five most picturesque campsites in New Zealand so I’ve focused purely on the South Island for this piece. Here goes!

Most Picturesque Campsites on the South Island

Lake Tekapo Motels & Holiday Park

Located on the banks of one of New Zealand’s most famous lakes, staying in this campsite means waking up to unparalleled views of the turquoise waters and the Southern Alps in the distance. But one of the most special things about Lake Tekapo Holiday Park can only be seen when the sun goes down. You see, it’s part of the only Dark Sky Reserve in the Southern Hemisphere and this means unbelievable starry nights. No matter how much you love your sleep, set your alarm for 3 am on a clear night and open the doors of your RV – you’ll never forget the sight that awaits you.


White Horse Hill Campsite

If alpine views are your idea of heaven, this camping spot couldn’t get any better. Surrounded by stunning snow-capped mountains and perfectly poised for hikes in the Mount Cook area – including the famous Hooker Valley track – this is a great place to pull up for a few days to kick back, relax and breathe in that fresh mountain air. Photography addicts could spend a few days gorging themselves silly on the unbelievable sights of the surrounding area, including the bright, milky waters of Lake Pukaki.

Opawa Retreat

Now this one is a little different. While it’s not one where you can just park up your RV and put your feet up, Opawa Retreat is a small but perfectly formed glamping site. Staying in one of the few comfortably kitted-out tents, hosted by Craig and Lisa, you’ll be located in the middle of the same Dark Sky Reserve as our first choice. You have use of a camping kitchen so heat up your dinner, pull up a deck chair and watch the sun go down to the sound of gently baa-ing sheep. Bliss.

Greymouth Kiwi Holiday Park

Greymouth is a quiet down without too much going on compared to other places on the list, aside from the famous Pancake Rocks in nearby Punakaiki. However, it’s a natural stop for many people traveling the South Island after a full day driving from Christchurch through the beautiful Arthurs Pass. Kiwi Holiday Parks is a reliable chain throughout New Zealand but the Greymouth site gets a big thumbs up for its unlimited free wifi (hard to come by in budget accommodation) and free use of the spa pool for all its guests so you can soak the strain of a hard days hiking away.

Milford Sound Lodge Rainforest Campervan Park

No trip to New Zealand is complete without visiting Milford Sound. This beautiful spot is a long drive away from – well, basically anywhere else! – so we’d definitely recommend dedicating a few nights to seeing the area. Here, you can camp among the trees with luxuries like an on-site cafe, free DVD rental, and a well-stocked kitchen. The only thing you’ll have to think about is whether you’re going to enjoy a leisurely boat trip or take on a kayaking adventure.

Post written by travel blogger Wander with Laura

The following two tabs change content below.
At RoverPass, we believe making campground reservations should be easy. We act on this belief by making RV reservations simple, with over 6,000 bookable campgrounds available on our platform. You can book at any of them for free by signing up for RoverPass Unlimited, the best RV booking membership out there.

Latest posts by RoverPass (see all)