Best family friendly campsites and holiday parks in Hawke’s Bay| Apollo NZ
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Hawke's Bay

Looking for a New Zealand campervan holiday destination that ticks the boxes for sunshine, adventure, great food, and perhaps a little history and culture? You can’t go past Hawke’s Bay. This stunning region offers a taste of the good life amidst some of the most beautiful landscapes in the country. Whether you’re into adventurous hikes, wine tasting, or family fun, you’ll find plenty of great things to do in Hawke’s Bay.  

The appeal of the Hawke's Bay region lies not only in its charming townships such as Napier and Hastings but also in its natural attractions. The Hawke’s Bay weather is among the best in New Zealand, boasting plenty of sunshine that ripens grapes in its world-renowned vineyards and warms its expansive beaches. This climate makes the region a year-round destination for visitors looking to explore the outdoors whether on bike trails, on foot through its scenic reserves, or along its stunning coastlines.

Travelling by campervan allows you to take in everything Hawke's Bay has to offer at your own pace. Wake up to ocean views, spend your days discovering local markets or touring iconic wineries in Hawke’s Bay. In the evenings, enjoy relaxed sunset meals prepared in your campervan kitchen. And with plenty of Hawke’s Bay accommodation for campervan travellers, you’ve got the freedom to explore far and wide.

 

Why explore Hawke’s Bay by campervan

Exploring Hawke's Bay by campervan offers an unparalleled opportunity to dive deep into the region's offerings at your own pace. From the freedom to wander through the sunlit vineyards of Hawke’s Bay to parking along the coastlines near Napier, your campervan allows for a flexible, immersive travel experience. 

Travelling by campervan comes with heaps of perks that make the trip even better. Fancy cooking up some local produce from a roadside stall? You've got your own kitchen right there. Tired of hauling suitcases in and out of hotels? That's not an issue when your campervan acts as your base. You can also pack all the gear you need for outdoor fun – like hiking packs or surfboards – without worrying about space. And let’s not forget the convenience of having your own bathroom, which means no more hunting for public restrooms. It’s all about making your holiday as relaxed and enjoyable as possible.

 

Things to do in Hawke’s Bay

Hawke's Bay is a playground for explorers, foodies, and culture enthusiasts alike. Immerse yourself in the rich history and Art Deco architecture of Napier. Sample some of New Zealand's finest wines. Or simply explore the natural beauty of the region's landscapes and coastlines. Whatever you’re keen to see and do, there's something here for everyone. 

Alyssa Tresider
/ Categories: NZ blog

Best family friendly campsites and holiday parks in Hawke’s Bay.

A New Zealand road trip around Hawke’s Bay opens up a world of adventure for families. And there’s no better way to experience everything on offer than by campervan. With so many fantastic family-friendly campsites and holiday parks in Hawke’s Bay, it’s a great way to blend the comfort of home with the thrill of the great outdoors. 

To help you plan the ultimate road trip itinerary planner, we’ve put together this handy guide to the best family-friendly campgrounds in Hawke’s Bay. But first …

 

Why Hawke’s Bay is a good place to visit

Hawke's Bay is an unforgettable destination for families looking to experience the best of New Zealand’s outdoors. This region is famed for its sun-soaked climate and rich cultural heritage, offering a diverse array of activities that cater to all ages and stages. The area is renowned for its spectacular landscape combining beaches, vineyards, and scenic trails perfect for van travel. Whether you’re cycling along the Hawke’s Bay trails or exploring the local farmers' markets, you’ll be surrounded by New Zealand’s natural beauty at every turn. There are plenty of parks and outdoor spaces where younger kids can play and explore, while parents can relax and enjoy the stunning views. And for teens and tweens, attractions like the National Aquarium of New Zealand, Splash Planet, and Bay Skate are sure to be popular choices.  

 

What’s the best way to explore Hawke’s Bay?

Exploring Hawke's Bay by campervan offers a uniquely relaxed and intimate way to discover the region's breathtaking landscapes and charming locales. With a campervan hire, you have the flexibility to craft each day to your liking, whether it's waking up to the sound of the waves at Waimarama Beach or enjoying an impromptu picnic among the picturesque vineyards.

Van travel also means that comfort travels with you. You've got a kitchen to whip up meals whenever hunger strikes and cosy beds to end the day. And all while avoiding the hassle of checking in and out of motels. It’s the perfect setup for families wanting to keep things simple yet adventurous.

Plus, you save on time and money, giving you more freedom to enjoy all that Hawke’s Bay has to offer. Fancy an extra day exploring the Art Deco wonders of Napier or the natural delights at Te Mata Peak? With your campervan, changing plans is as easy as deciding where to park next.

 

Our favourite family friendly campgrounds and holiday parks in the Hawke’s Bay area

Looking for somewhere to park up your campervan as you explore Hawke’s Bay? Here are our top picks:


Clifton Motor Camp

Located near the entrance to the Cape Kidnappers Gannet Colony, Clifton Motor Camp serves as a perfect launching pad for families looking to explore the natural beauty of Hawke's Bay. With amenities like a laundry, dump station, and playground, it ensures a hassle-free stay for campervan travellers Beyond the campsite, families can enjoy guided tours to the gannet colony, trek through the nearby walking trails, or take the short drive to Ocean Beach for a family day out by the sea. 


Kennedy Park Resort Napier

Planning to explore Napier? One of the best spots to park up is at Kennedy Park Resort Napier. This family friendly paradise offers fantastic facilities to ensure a fun-filled stay. The resort features a cool playground that includes a jumping pillow and a gym, alongside an entertainment room and Sky theatre, perfect for keeping the entire family entertained. There's even a swimming complex with a heated pool and a separate children’s pool with fountains. After a day full of activities, families can dine at Storkey's Restaurant, the onsite eatery, making it easy to unwind without the need to travel far for a delicious meal.


Hastings TOP 10 Holiday Park

If Hastings features on your New Zealand travel itinerary, be sure to plan a stay at Hastings TOP 10 Holiday Park. This great campground offers a stellar combination of comfort and entertainment that makes it a top pick for families travelling by campervan. You’ll find a variety of activities to keep everyone entertained, including a children’s playground, a TV/recreation room, and a swimming complex complete with barbecue areas. Guests can connect freely with unlimited Wi-Fi, making it easy to plan the next day’s adventures. Nearby, families can enjoy the Hawke's Bay Farmers' Market, offering a taste of local produce and crafts, or visit the Hastings City Art Gallery, which showcases compelling exhibits that captivate visitors of all ages. 


Bay View Motel & Holiday Park

Just 8 km from the centre of Napier, the Bay View Motel & Holiday Park offers a quiet retreat with a dash of convenience for every campervan family. The park provides essential facilities such as showers, toilets, laundry, and a well-equipped kitchen, ensuring everything you need is at hand. Its garden setting adds a homely feel, ideal for relaxing after a day’s adventure. For families looking for activities, nearby attractions include the educational Marine Parade, where kids can explore the National Aquarium of New Zealand, play mini golf, or ride the bike pump track. 


Napier Beach TOP 10 Holiday Park

Experience beachfront camping at its best at Napier Beach Top 10 Holiday Park. The park features a children’s playground complete with a trampoline and a jumping pillow, ensuring hours of entertainment. For days when relaxation is key, take advantage of the nearby cycle and walkways, or explore the Ahuriri Estuary Walking Track, a haven for bird watchers and nature lovers. For a bit of local history, the nearby National Tobacco Company Building offers guided tours that showcase stunning 1930s Art Deco architecture


Waimarama Holiday Park

Discover a slice of seaside paradise at Waimarama Holiday Park, perfectly placed for families to enjoy Hawke's Bay's sunny East Coast. This campsite boasts a prime beachfront location. Families can make the most of the newly refurbished playground, while the nearby white sandy beach provides a safe spot for swimming under the watchful eyes of surf lifeguards. For those looking to explore beyond the camp, there's plenty to do. Take a short drive to visit the stunning Te Mata Peak for hiking and panoramic views.


Waipatiki Beach Holiday Park

Just 30 km from Napier, Waipatiki Beach Holiday Park offers a beachfront escape ideal for families looking to soak up the sun and surf. Make the most of the great outdoors with walks along the beach or through the scenic reserve next door. The campsite is well set up with everything needed for a relaxing family holiday including kitchen and laundry facilities, a lounge room, and a playground. And if you’ve got a keen fisher in the family, there are some great spots for catching kahawai and gurnard. The campsite has fish filleting facilities and barbecues too – perfect for cooking up your catch.


Mohaka River Farm

Nestled between Napier and Taupo, Mohaka River Farm offers a unique getaway on a 280-acre working farm along the pristine Mohaka River. This family-friendly destination has everything needed for a comfy stay including complimentary Wi-Fi, barbecues, and untimed hot showers. The farm is not just about relaxation but also adventure and learning. You can explore the scenic landscape on horseback with treks suitable for all experience levels or engage in hands-on farm experiences that teach about sustainability and regenerative agriculture. 

 

5 top tips for travelling in a campervan with kids

1. Plan your route in advance

Before setting out on your New Zealand road trip, map out your route and identify kid-friendly stops. Include parks, playgrounds, and picnic areas where kids can run around and burn off energy. Planning helps minimise long stretches of driving and keeps the little ones excited about new destinations.

 

2. Pack smart

Overpacking is easy when you're travelling with children, but space is at a premium in a campervan. Pack versatile clothing suitable for various weather conditions and plenty of reusable water bottles, healthy snacks, and simple toys or games that don’t take up too much space.

 

3. Create a kid-friendly schedule

Kids thrive on routine, so try to maintain a regular schedule for meals and bedtime, even on the road. A familiar routine can help children feel more secure and manage their expectations about when it’s time to explore and when it’s time to rest.

 

4. Ensure safety and comfort

Safety is paramount. Make sure child seats are properly secured and that everyone wears seatbelts while the van is in motion. Keep essentials within easy reach – like first aid kits, sunscreen, and insect repellent – to ensure quick access when needed.

 

5. Engage and involve your kids

Make the journey engaging by involving your kids in trip planning and decision-making. Let them choose some activities or stops along the way. Provide them with cameras or travel journals to document their journey, enhancing their experience and keeping them engaged throughout the adventure.

 

Plan the perfect Hawke’s Bay family holiday with Apollo

Whether you're soaking in the coastal beauty of Hawke's Bay or exploring its fascinating history, Apollo has the ideal campervan to make your family camping trip effortless, cosy, and enjoyable.

Ready to create lasting memories? Book your Apollo campervan online today and begin your ultimate Hawke's Bay adventure. With the perfect blend of comfort, convenience, and exploration, your family holiday in this stunning region is guaranteed to be remarkable.

 

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 Popular Hawke’s Bay road trips & itineraries

Located on the eastern coast of New Zealand's North Island, Hawke's Bay is easily accessible from major cities including Auckland and Wellington. Setting off from Napier, the heart of Hawke's Bay, you can delve into the area's renowned Art Deco architecture, explore the dramatic cliffs of Cape Kidnappers, or indulge in a tasting tour through its famous vineyards. Whether coming down from Auckland or making your way up from Wellington or even the South Island, Hawke’s Bay is perfectly poised to offer an unforgettable New Zealand road trip. 

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Great savings on your New Zealand road trip

Apollo offers a fantastic selection of deals and specials for those looking to explore New Zealand by campervan. From hot deals and last-minute discounts to long-term hire benefits, you’re sure to find a deal designed to help you make the most of your campervan adventure. 

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Apollo Campervan branches

Auckland

Departing from Apollo Auckland, you’re perfectly positioned for a half-day drive to Northland & the Bay of Islands. This route ensures a seamless blend of scenic beauty and local culture, culminating in the stunning landscapes of Northland.

Christchurch

The drive from Apollo Christchurch to Northland & the Bay of Islands sets you up for a scenic multi-day journey across the South Island, including the picturesque ferry crossing at the Cook Strait, and into the North Island. 

Queenstown

Keen to make the most of your road trip and explore as much of New Zealand as possible? Book your camper with our Queenstown branch and take your time heading northward over an epic 10-14 days taking in some of the great southern highlights along the way. 

Auckland City Skyline

Auckland

New Zealand’s multi-cultural hub of food, music, arts and culture.

 

Christchurch City, New Zealand

Christchurch

 One of the world’s most unique destinations.

 

Queenstown

Breathtaking scenery and adrenaline-pumping adventure activities.

 

Helpful tips for visiting Hawke's Bay

 

Climate and seasons in Hawkes

Hawke's Bay is known for its consistently warm and dry climate, making it a favoured destination throughout the year. The region's weather complements its reputation as one of New Zealand's premier wine-growing areas, with long, sunny days that nurture vineyards and invite outdoor adventures.

  • Summers (December to February) in Hawke's Bay are typically warm and dry, with temperatures ranging from 20°C to 30°C. This is the perfect time for beach outings at places like Waimarama or Ocean Beach, and for enjoying al fresco dining in Napier or Hastings. The warm weather also makes this a peak season for exploring the region’s numerous vineyards and wineries.

  • Autumn (March to May) brings cooler temperatures and the landscape bursts into vibrant colours, especially in the vineyards where the leaves change hues against a backdrop of crisp blue skies. The mild weather is ideal for hiking and cycling through the region's parks and reserves.

  • Winter (June to August) sees cooler days with temperatures generally between 10°C and 15°C. Although colder, the days are often clear and sunny, providing perfect conditions for visiting indoor attractions like the Art Deco buildings in Napier or the Hawke's Bay Museum.

  • Spring (September to November) rejuvenates the region with fresh blooms and gradually warming temperatures. It's an excellent time to witness the orchards in blossom and to enjoy the late spring events that celebrate the region’s produce and wine.

Hawke's Bay's sheltered position in the rain shadow of the central mountain range means it receives less rainfall than many other parts of New Zealand, but packing a rain jacket is still advisable. The pleasant climate in spring and autumn, along with the vibrant seasonal changes, make these particularly delightful times to visit.

 

 

What to pack?

Preparing for your campervan adventure in Hawke's Bay calls for smart packing to make the most of the region's sunny climate and abundant outdoor activities. From relaxing on its beautiful beaches to touring its famous wineries, here’s what you should consider bringing along:

  • Outdoor gear: Hawke's Bay's varied landscapes, from coastal paths to vineyard trails, demand versatile outdoor gear. Opt for lightweight, breathable clothing to keep cool during warm days, and include a layer or two for the cooler evenings – perfect for enjoying a night under the stars. Sturdy walking shoes are a must, whether you’re exploring the streets of Napier or hiking the trails at Te Mata Peak.
  • Campervan add-ons: To enhance your campervan experience, think about including a few extras. A portable barbecue is great for cooking up local produce as you enjoy panoramic views of the bay, and additional camping chairs and a table will make your setup outside the van more comfortable and inviting.
  • Sun protection: Given Hawke's Bay's reputation for being one of the sunniest areas in New Zealand, good sun protection is essential. Pack a high-SPF sunscreen, sunglasses with UV protection, and a wide-brimmed hat to shield yourself from the sun, ensuring you can safely enjoy the great outdoors throughout your trip. For more helpful ideas, check out our guide to what to pack for your campervan road trip.

 

Attractions and day trips in Hawke's Bay

 

Napier

A city reborn from the 1931 earthquake, Napier is renowned for its beautifully preserved Art Deco architecture. Strolling through the city, visitors can enjoy vibrant street art, boutique shops, and waterfront cafes that make Napier a cultural gem worth exploring.

Cape Kidnappers

Cape Kidnappers is famous for its dramatic coastal cliffs and as the home to the largest mainland gannet colony in the world. A guided tour offers a chance to see these magnificent birds up close and enjoy stunning views of the Pacific Ocean.

Te Mata Peak

Te Mata Peak provides panoramic views of Hawke's Bay and is a must-visit for anyone wanting to capture the beauty of the region from above. Hiking trails range from easy to challenging, catering to all fitness levels.

Wineries

Hawke's Bay is one of New Zealand's oldest wine regions, famed for its Bordeaux blend reds and rich Chardonnays. Visiting local wineries for tastings and tours is an indulgent way to experience the area's gourmet offerings.

Art Deco Tours

Take a step back in time with an Art Deco tour in Napier. These guided tours, often available on foot or by vintage car, highlight the city's unique history and architectural heritage, celebrating the style that defines the region.

Beaches

Ocean Beach and Waimarama Beach are pristine stretches of sand perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and long beach walks. Both beaches offer a tranquil escape with stunning ocean views, ideal for a relaxing day by the sea.

Havelock North

Havelock North is a picturesque village known for its artisanal food scene, boutique shopping, and the lush Te Mata Park. Its charm and scenic setting make it a delightful stop for those exploring the greater Hawke's Bay area.

 

Where to stay in Hawke's Bay with a campervan

When it comes to finding the perfect spot to park and rest in Hawke’s Bay, there's no shortage of picturesque, comfy campgrounds. Here are a few worth checking out:

Napier

Wider Hawke’s Bay

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