Kapowairua (Spirits Bay) campsite

Campsite category



Water from tap Water from tap
Toilets Toilets
Showers (cold) Showers (cold)


  • Adult (18+ years): $6 per night
  • Child (5 - 17 years): $3 per night
  • Infant (0 - 4 years): free

Please pay your fees to help keep the campsite available in the future.


  • No bookings – first come/first served.
  • Serviced by DOC rangers daily peak season.
  • Self-registration during off-peak period.
  • Back-country hut pass does not apply.
  • Campervan access.
  • Eligible for NZMCA pass

Campsite details

Kapowairua / Spirits Bay campsite.
Kapowairua / Spirits Bay campsite

Camp in a picturesque setting between the beach (5 min walk) and hills of the Aupouri Peninsula north of Kaitaia. A perfect place for fishing, swimming and walking.

Birds eye view of Kapowairua (Spirits Bay). You can see the campsite in the upper middle of the photo.
Birds eye view of Kapowairua
(Spirits Bay). You can see the campsite
in the upper middle of the photo

Number of tent sites - 45

With lush forests in close range and sandy beaches right on your doorstep, Kapowairua is a place to relax, enjoy and explore the great outdoors.


Kapowairua (Spirits Bay) is located in the northernmost area of New Zealand, north of Kaitaia.

Getting there

From Kaitaia head north on State Highway 1. Follow signposts from Waitiki Landing, turn onto Te Hapua Road for 16km and then onto Spirits Bay Rd, follow to end until you reach Kapowairua campsite.

Please note: from Waitiki Landing, you travel 16km on a gravel road.

Grid reference: NZTM2000, E1587447-N6190362
Latitude: -34.42814531, Longitude: 172.86337907


  • No fires at any time. ‘Contained flame’ (gas) barbeques and cookers are fine, but not open flames or fires.  
  • No fireworks at any time (sky lanterns are absolutely banned).
  • No domestic animals permitted in campground.
  • No rubbish bins on site. During peak season December to February, rubbish is collected daily (as per council fees per bag - subject to change).
  • At all other times, please remove your rubbish. 'Take in, take out' policy. Food scraps attract vermin.
  • Nearest rubbish transfer station is at Houhora.

For more information view the Kapowairua (Spirits Bay) campsite camp rules

Campsites are social places, but everyone needs some rest and relaxation. Show respect for other visitors' quiet enjoyment of the outdoors by limiting noise between 10pm and 7am.

Open fires and fireworks are not permitted on any public conservation land in Northland, including DOC campsites and on the beach. For more information, please contact the local DOC office.

‘Freedom’ camping

If you're not staying at Kapowairua (Spirits Bay) campsite, ‘Freedom’ camping (self sufficient and free of charge) is welcome within the Te Paki reserves, particularly along the Te Paki Coastal Track.

However, camping is not permitted within 500 metres of formed roads or at Te Rerenga Wairua. Campsites at Pandora and Twilight Beach provide basic amenities; toilets and shelter, along with water when there has been sufficient rain.

Significance of the area to Maori

Kapowairua is steeped in Maori history. Tohe, one of Muriwhenua’s most important ancestors lived at Maunga Piko (Kapowairua or Spirits Bay), far from his only daughter, Raninikura, who married a man from the Kaipara. When Tohe was very old, he announced his intention to journey south to see his daughter one last time. His people concerned about his health, asked him not to go. Tohe replied:
“Whakarua i te hau, e taea te karo
Whakarua i taku tamahine, e kore e taea te karo
Taea Hokianga, a hea, a hea
Ko ta koutou mahi e kapo ake ai, ko taku wairua”
I can shelter from the wind. But I cannot shelter from the longing for my daughter.
I shall venture as far as Hokianga, and beyond
Your task (should I die), shall be to grasp (kapo) my spirit (wairua)

Tohe passed away during this journey. His people adopted the name Kapowairua in recognition of his parting words.


Kapowairua is an important site that has a freshwater wetland and tidal lagoon area that supports threatened and regionally significant species.

Birds present at Kapowairua include the Australasian bittern, Caspian tern, Northern New Zealand dotterel, Variable oystercatcher, Spotless crake, NZ kingfisher and other common birds.

If you come across a bird nesting area, please do not disturb.


Fishing Fishing

One of the Far North’s renowned surf breaks, Kapowairua can turn it on when the swell is right. Indulge yourself with a stroll along the beach, listen to the waves and local wildlife while enjoying the scenery.

Take a day trip to historical Te Rerenga Wairua (Cape Reinga).

Tracks & walks

Before setting out please contact the DOC Kaitaia office for an update on the condition of the tracks.  
Kapowairua (Spirits Bay) forms part of the Cape Reinga Coastal Walkway. This stunning 3-4 day tramp follows the dramatic coastline of the east and west, and traverses a variety of beautiful and unique landforms including giant sand dunes. It offers spectacular views and also accesses areas of historic and archaeological interest. Self- sufficient camping is available.

Plan and prepare

  • Mosquitoes prolific – take insect repellent.
  • Always thoroughly clean your equipment (cars / shoes / camping gear etc.) before and after trips to minimise spreading invasive pests, weeds and diseases.
  • Be prepared for all types of weather and conditions for short and long walks, rides and other activities. Have a first aid kit and survival kit, and know what to do if things go wrong.
  • Always tell someone where you are going, for how long, and your expected time back.

Environmental care code 

Toitu te whenua (Leave the land undisturbed). Protect the environment for your own sake, for the sake of those who come after you, and for the environment itself.  

View the New Zealand Environmental Care Code

Help stop kauri dieback

Kauri dieback disease is killing our native kauri. It spreads by soil movement, but you can help prevent it.

  • Stay on the track and off kauri roots.
  • Clean your gear before and after visiting kauri forests.

Visit the kauri dieback website for more information on how you can help.

Related links


Find out more


Total fire ban

There is a total fire ban within the Kaipara and Whangarei Districts, effective from 1 February 2015 until further notice.

Alerts for Northland places


Kaitaia Office
Phone:      +64 9 408 6014
Email:   kaitaia@doc.govt.nz
Full office details

Te Paki Base
Phone:      +64 9 409 8427
Email:   tepaki@doc.govt.nz
Full office details

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