Nipping into Napier

After spending 3 nights at Whakaipo Bay it was time to move onto another destination with the aim of this trip to head towards the Wairarapa and the beaches along the eastern shoreline the next logical step was to overnight in Napier. We had visited a couple of freedom camping spots last year and had ridden some of the extensive cycle trails that surround Napier and Hastings but didn’t make it along the foreshore of Napier town and this was a ride we both wanted to do.

Knowing that if we based ourselves at the NZMCA Park in Napier it’s only a few kms on the bike into the city whilst taking in the easy riding that the foreshore offers. The Park here in Napier is a huge ten acres with so much space it’s hard to see it getting full to often. The local area committee have invested hundreds of hours planting gardens here to provide some relief to the flat landscape whilst also making areas that delineate where to park.

One thing that really surprised both of us as we registered to stay is the number of people that had chosen to pay the park fees by cash as opposed to paying on the NZMCA App. We find it so simple to use the App as it remembers all of our details and it’s just a couple of simple steps to click and pay – Hey presto all done without the need to carry change around in the van.


We chose a space alongside one of the boundary fences getting the awning out for some protection from the Hawkes Bay sunshine. It was then out with the bikes and time to head off for a ride. If you read my last blog you will know that we haven’t exactly been on the bikes a lot recently so we were a little unsure about what sort of distance we could manage.

Napier or at least the road from the park and then along the foreshore is very flat and with little wind the peddling was easy in fact neither of engaged the power function of the bikes at all on this ride. It was great to see so many families out enjoying themselves with kids on scooters and small bikes everywhere, you had to have your wits about you to ensure they didn’t get run over.

One feature we both liked was the counter that sits alongside the cycle lane and counts the number of cyclists that ride past each day and also keeps a tally of the yearly total Sarah was number 400 for the day as we rode past it the first time and then on the return another 78 people had been past.

The waterfront in Napier is a place where no doubt hundreds of thousands of photos have been taken of Pania of the reef and the fountain made me think I was back in Auckland visiting Mission Bay where there is an identical structure.

We rode out beyond the ports and beyond the freedom camping area at Perfume Point. This little carpark has 4 spaces for motorhomes to stay. It’s not an area that would suit us as they are nothing more than a designated carpark space, so with our motorhome stretching to 9 metres we would prevent anyone from coming and going into the carpark. Anyway I am sure it suits some.

Riding past the commercial fishing area it was interesting to see the mix of fishing a pleasure with a number of bars and restaurants complementing the fishing boats that surrounded the wharfs. I would imagine that this is a very popular destination for those spending time in Napier and would think that it has probably taken business away from the downtown area. Progress I guess.

The wide paths that were so smooth and level just made riding so easy that we managed almost 25kms with both of us hardly touching the E part of our bikes. One of the nicest rides we have done in the North Island.

Eriksen Rd - NZMCA Park

Proximity to Attractions

Located 4 kms from downtown Napier it's very handy to all the attractions in town and an easy bike ride along the wonderful trail.

Nearest Supplies/Town

Lots of shops located within easy reach

Ground Surface

A mixture of both grass and gravel with large flat surfaces everywhere.

Proximity to Water/Dump Station

Water onsite with the dump station about 2kms away on Marine Parade.

Outlook from Camp

Not much to see from the camp except the hills in the background and other campers.

Noise during Day and Night

Even with the main road fairly close the railway line even closer and the planes overhead it actually wasn't to bad.

Cellphone Signal

Good clear signal


There is a reason you need to self contained to stay here and this is it.

Walking/Cycling Tracks

Excellent cycle and walking tracks all round Napier/Hastings the best cities in the north island for this.

Pets welcome

No problems here as long as on a lead.

Overall Rating:

Just like coming home you always know what to expect from one of these parks.

Our intention was only for a short stay in Napier before heading along the coast of the Wairarapa with the NZMCA Park a good launching point for tomorrow and the blogs to come over the next couple of weeks.

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 places we have stayed click here 

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