No, It’s Not Where You Might Think.

You could be forgiven for thinking you had turned up at the popular Ray’s Rest from some of the visual aspects of Tuapiro Reserve. The mudflats and shell covered beach reminded me of the many times we have stayed along the Miranda coastline (south of Auckland). This time, however, we were exploring some of the freedom camping areas between Waihi Beach NZMCA Park and Tauranga. We haven’t had the chance to explore this area in the past always seeming to be heading elsewhere. So it was good to be able to take the time to find this fantastic area. Click here for a link to Google Maps to help you find the reserve.

We had first seen what we were sure where motorhomes parked up across from the old Anzac Bay freedom camping area a couple of years ago. Sarah had determined that this time we would find them, after having again spotted them on this trip. In speaking with a couple at the NZMCA Park, she found out that there are several freedom camping spots along that part of the coast. Using the travel app on my phone, we found ourselves heading towards Tuapiro Reserve. Hence missing out on visiting Tanners Point Reserve (#2408). We later heard that the Tanners Point reserve was not really suited to winter camping as large trees shaded the area preventing recharge of solar power.


The freedom camping area at the Tuapiro reserve is extensive with room for over 40 vehicles. Including a line of ten spots that allow a motorhome such as ours to park up. We have never freedom camped in a carpark this close to others before. I don’t think either of us minded the proximity of the other motorhomes. My only concern would be if you needed to make a rapid departure, it’s very tight getting in and out with the wooden posts on the other side of the road. One less spot or a slightly wider area giving larger parks would solve this dilemma.

There is one massive difference between this area and the famed Ray’s Rest. Here you are set back from the beach maybe 30 or 40 metres. You also don’t experience the crunch of shells as you maneuver into position. I still found it hard not to make comparisons given how similar the beaches appear.

To the left of where we parked, there is a small headland that is covered in pine trees with a charming, easy walking track. Or if the tide is right, you could walk along the shelly beach. You would have to occasionally step around fallen trees, but it’s still a nice walk.


Across the river mouth at the end of the walk, it is possible to see the freedom camping area at Tanners Point. My phone camera isn’t good enough to get the shot, but we could see the carpark was entirely in the shade.

We decided that we would follow in the footsteps of whoever had been before us following the shoreline around the point, back towards the motorhome. What we hadn’t really counted on was the shelly beach changing to mudflats. In most places, they were fairly solid, but as we got further around the point, progress became more difficult. In the end, we decided to head back towards firm land. Somehow both of us managed to escape without ending up with a foot full of mud/water.

The walk is actually quite short but very interesting if you keep your eyes open. We spotted what looked like a burrow of some kind in the tall grasses. The only thing we couldn’t figure out was what would have made it. It was far too big for a rabbit or hedgehog, so we were left wondering. I mentioned fallen trees earlier, you cannot really tell in the above shot, but there are five dead pine trees. I don’t know that I would want to walk through here with a mighty wind blowing.

Back at the motorhome, we had taken advantage of some glorious sunny weather and the inverter to charge a few appliances. Someone asked me the other day about condensation inside the motorhome for which we have a Karcher Windowvac. That’s fine to take the condensation off the windows but other than leaving a window or vent open during a freezing winters night which doesn’t seem to work for us. What keeps it from forming? Maybe we should just stop breathing 🙂

One thing when you are parked so close to everyone, it’s almost impossible not to be sociable. We found that we had parked amongst a really great bunch of people, including Ian and Lee (who actually read my blog) as well as Jim and Suzie who we would meet up again with later. What is really lovely about this camaraderie is finding that by talking with other people you find new places to add to your must-stay list. Sarah added a couple of sites that are now circled in our travel directory, one of these will feature in the next blog.

With it having only have had a shortish walk through the trees, we decided to head in the other direction, after lunch. The reserve has a huge area alongside the beach with parking for horse trailers and boats according to the signage. Horses I can understand being in a big rural area. Launching your boat would be a very tidal thing as it’s very shallow so you would want to ensure you timed it correctly or it would be a rather long wait.

On the other side of the reserve, there are houses with magnificent views out into the channel between Bowentown and Matakana Island. The very last house has several brass bird sculptures which I wanted to photograph. As I got closer but still from the reserve, Sarah warned me that the lady in the house was giving me an evil stare, so I didn’t get as close as I wanted.


After a great nights sleep, there is nothing better than a cup of coffee in the warming rays of the sun. We only spent one night here before moving on but like all freedom camping in the Tauranga area, you can stay 3 nights.

Tuapiro Reserve

Proximity to Attractions

Close to the water so great for fishing and boating but somewhat tide dependant.

Nearest Supplies/Town

Make sure you bring what you need with you as its a good 15-minute drive to the nearest supplies.

Ground Surface

Hard level ground, easy parking if a little close to your neighbour.

Proximity to Water/Dump Station

The nearest water and dump is probably at Waihi Beach a 15-minute drive away.

Outlook from Camp

Picture perfect.

Noise during Day and Night

It was very quiet the night we stayed and I would imagine it would be pretty good most of the year.

Cellphone Signal

Good signal.


Very clean well maintained toilets right there.

Walking/Cycling Tracks

A couple of short walks around the camping area.

Pets welcome

There is a leash-free dog exercise area just in front of the freedom camping.

Overall Rating:

A very pretty and peaceful place to stay. we will return.

☕ If you liked this post (click here) to buy me a cup of coffee and help keep future posts coming ☕
To view the places we have visited click here to see them on Google maps. You can then click the link to read the blog about that area.

To view our Campground Ratings system, that we have done for places we have stayed click here 

Subscribe to Blog via Email

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

Lending Crowd 1

One thought on “No, It’s Not Where You Might Think.

Please feel free to make comments they will help future posts