Rays Rest

With the long weekend approaching we planned on escaping before the madness of Auckland’s traffic hit the motorways. At the same time I didn’t feel like driving a long distance on the first day so suggested to Sarah that we make our first stop at one of the most popular freedom camping spots just out of Auckland. Rays Rest is located on the Firth of Thames just south of Kaiaua which has long been home of one of the most famous fish and chip shops in New Zealand.

Usually we would approach the coast either coming up from SH2 or coming down the coast from Clevedon but this time we decided to take the turn off at Maramarua next to the Red Fox Tavern and drive over the hills. This is a narrow country road winding through farms but was completely devoid of traffic and offered some great views of the coast as you started the descent down to the water.


For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of staying here. You can stay here for a maximum of two nights with the sign stating that camping is only allowed between 6 pm and 10 am so I guess the rest of the time you are sitting here you are either having a picnic or stopping to admire the view. My guess is that although they do enforce the two day stop they probably don’t enforce the times.

The area available for camping is huge and although Sarah and I had some debate about if we should park parallel to the sea or park at right angles. In the end we looked at the space available and what everyone else was doing and parked parallel. Although once the motorhome season hits full swing I would imagine others would be rather upset to find a line of motorhomes parked parallel to the beach.

Rays Rest

Proximity to Attractions

If you are there for the fishing the beach walk or the bird watching then you are in the right place. Great fish and chips just down the road as well.

Nearest Supplies/Town

No nearby shopping so come prepared for your 2 day stay

Ground Surface

Free draining shells just a little soft and uneven in places

Proximity to Water/Dump Station

Come prepared as no water here. There is a dump station in Kaiaua about 10 kms up the road.

Outlook from Camp


Noise during Day and Night

Despite being close to the road it's surprisingly quiet.

Cellphone Signal

Good for 2 Degrees and Spark

Walking/Cycling Tracks

The cycle trail starts just down the road and its a great walk along the beach.

Overall Rating:

It\'s no surprise that this is one of the most popular freedom camping places in NZ. Put it down as a must visit.

Not long after we had set up we had a couple walk over to ask about how we liked our Dethleffs motorhome. Turns out that they had just ordered one after having owned 3 Autotrails previously they decided that they would like to try life in an A class motorhome. It was good to be able to tell someone how much we enjoyed ours and how we felt full confidence in Zion Motorhomes who distribute these in New Zealand.


We set off for a wander down the beach coming across this fence that serves as a reminder of what happened earlier this year when the cyclone came through causing catastrophic flooding along the coast. Also huge waves washed enormous amounts of shells onto the beach adding almost 20 centimeters to the height of the beach. You can still see areas where they haven’t settled properly causing areas where it would be treacherous to try and drive the motorhome.

Our plans to walk along the beach heading south were spoiled by this rather deep estuary so rather than force our way through the mangroves towards the road we decided to return the way we came and head north instead. It is such a nice beach for a stroll even though you are only a short distance from the big smoke of Auckland it’s like being in another world, just so peaceful and quiet.


Talking about the big smoke we came across this fire on the beach that had only been partially smothered and so hadn’t been properly put out. I would hate to have stepped into it without looking where I was going.


I think what I like about a place like this is the remote feeling almost like you are the only one there, even though there is a huge line up of motorhomes back in the camping area the beach just has that remote feel. It’s easy to see why so many motorhome people just love this place.

That evening we were treated to a magnificent sunset in the hills behind the beach with the light reflecting off our windows I was very pleased with this shot of our motorhome. The weather forecast for the next 4 days was for the sun to continue so it would be interesting to see how many people where out and about over the holiday weekend.


Up and about early the next morning we saw these two keen fishers getting in their catch of flounder just as the sun was rising. These two had left the net out all night and the previous evening had cleared 14 or 15 flounder out of the net. Now I like fish just as much as the next person but I do question how many fish you actually need to take. In these days where people are talking about conservation of our natural resources, just saying.

It’s not hard to see why people love this spot and it was the perfect place to break our journey  for the night, just out of Auckland. Our plan was to hit the road early get to Pak n Save in Thames before the mad rush of holiday traffic hit the Coromandel and then head all the way north to Port Jackson.

To view the places we have visited click here to see them on Google maps. You can click the links to read the blog about that area.

To view the Ratings we have done for other camps click here 

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.




4 thoughts on “Rays Rest

  1. Can’t believe we came that close to meeting you. We went on our first ever motor home trip this weekend and stayed at Ray’s Rest but didn’t get there till Saturday. I have been following your blog since we first decided to buy a Motorhome. I saw some Motorhomes like yours and had a passing thought of ever in NZ you might be. Hopefully one day we will get to meet. I really enjoy reading about your trips. Regards Kim K

    1. Kim glad that you are enjoying my blog and hope that your first Weekend away in the new motorhome went well. Also hope you enjoyed Ray’s Rest. Catching up is one of those things that will happen one day and when it does I look forward to meeting you.

Please feel free to make comments they will help future posts