Free lakeside camping surrounded by some of New Zealand’s best
There is a quiet little spot that’s not far from our home town of Cambridge and we often go there for a day or two to completely chill out.
We can leave home in our bus and in less than half an hour be parked up (for free) at a large lakeside reserve where we can fish, kayak, swim or just relax.
Little Waipa reserve is on the banks of Lake Karapiro and accessed via Horahora road.
It’s a popular spot for day-trippers and there are basic toilet facilities there (those smelly, dark and fly infested type).
Self-contained campervans are permitted to stay overnight for a maximum of two nights.
It is slightly elevated about the lake with great views and a lovely grassy area leading down to a boat ramp at the lake shore and river inlet.
It’s also supposed to be a good spot for fishing.
Nothing’s every jumped on my line there – but nothing has ever jumped on my line anywhere.
We did once meet a chap who had the day before caught his first trout in that very spot and was about to eat it for his lunch.
He proudly showed us a photograph of him making his catch so I have every reason to believe that the fish rumours are correct.
(note to self.. have patience … one day…)
We have on several occasions taken advantage of the lakeside location to partake in a spot of kayaking.
Karapiro is an excellent lake for kayaking and water sports of all kinds.
The world rowing championships were held there in 2010 and many of New Zealand’s top rowers live locally and regularly train on the lake.
There only appear to be two downsides to staying at Little Waipa:
1. A frequent attendance by several hundred biting creatures – and I’m no longer talking about the fish. Mozzies and sandflies are often out in the evenings in force – but don’t let that put you off, just bring some bug repellant or keep the long pants and socks on.
2. Mobile phone coverage is pretty non-existent.
I know… I know… we go away to have a break from work .
I realise this may not be a problem for many people, but Kiwi Annison can sometimes get a little tetchy without internet access and her phone bringing her communication from the outside world at least once a day.
You never know, one day I might urgently need to google how to gut a fish.
Well… I might.