The Department of Conservation has much to offer city dwellers and families looking for some rest and relaxation on the East Coast this summer.

Date:  20 December 2012

The Department of Conservation (DOC) has much to offer city dwellers and families looking for some rest and relaxation on the East Coast this summer.

If you are a 'glamper', 'family camper' or 'wilderness wanderer', whatever your style, there are ample DOC campsites. There is something to suit everyone’s taste and desire to explore the outdoors says Gisborne Whakatane Area Programme Manager, Visitor and Historic Assets, Awhina White. 

“The more experienced camper ('wilderness wanderer') might enjoy the standard campsites at Anaura Bay, Manganuku and Omahuru (Ogilvies) or if you are a 'family camper', the Matata campsite (off SH 2 in Matata township)” says Ms White.

There is a variety of recreational activities from gentle bush walks to challenging tramps into the remote wilderness. Visitors passing through Tolaga Bay (near Gisborne) looking to stretch their legs on the Cooks Cove Walkway can view new information panels at key locations on the walkway.  

“While you are out enjoying the glorious weather, don’t forget the fire risk which has reached very high levels. Most fires start in nearby access ways and areas such as roads, river beds, tracks and campsites” says Ms White.

Fire permits are required for fires on or within 1 km of all public conservation land in the East Coast and Bay of Plenty regions. Please also be a careful camper and practice ‘no trace’ camping.

“We hope that visitors will discover or reconnect with DOC campsites and recreational activities, and leave with some special summer holiday memories” says Ms White. 

Background information

Discover your inner camper -  Glamper (glamour camper), Family camper (family-friendly), Wilderness wanderer (likes to get away from it all). 

Camping areas – Standard Campsites:  Anaura Bay (85 km north of Gisborne), Manganuku (in the Waioeka Gorge), Omahuru (Ogilvies), Matata (off SH 2 in Matata township – near Whakatane). Fees: Adult - $6 per night, child - $3 per night.

Basic Campsites: Te Pakau (Eight Acre) 45 minutes from Whakatane and Opotiki, Boulders at Te Waiti off Otara Road in Opotiki and Whitikau on Takaputahi Road off the historic Old Motu Road are all options worth considering. Fees: Free.

Walkways - For families looking for activities popular East Coast walkways at Anaura Bay, Cooks Cove, Te Kuri and Otoko are open. Most walkways cross private land and access is only available due to the generosity of landowners. Visitors are asked to behave considerately and remember that dogs and mountain bikes are not permitted on walkways.

Hikurangi walkway will be open apart from a closed period from midday on Saturday, 31 December 2012 to midday Sunday 1 January 2013 for a planned cultural activity. Contact Te Runanganui O Ngati Porou Tourism for further information.

Waioeka Journey - Drivers can take a break from driving through the Waioeka Gorge and view the Waioeka Journey Te Awa a Tamatea with information panels at seven rest areas. 

Marine Reserves - (Look but “no take”) Te Tapuwae o Rongokako Marine Reserve 16 kilometres north of Gisborne now includes a new carpark area providing improved public access.  Te Paepae o Aotea (Volkner Rocks) Marine Reserve is located 55 kilometres north/north east of Whakatane and 5 kilometres north west of White Island. For many people the most convenient and ready access is by charter boat. Diving or sightseeing can be arranged through a number of operators. Fishermen are reminded to observe the boundaries of the marine reserve. Brochures containing full co-ordinates and maps can be obtained from Whakatane Coastguard, Whakatane Information Centre or downloaded from this website.

Otipi Road - Is closed to all vehicles other than motorbikes. Extreme care needs to be taken. Weather dependent. The Otipi Road starts at the Whitikau campsite off Takaputahi Road and travels 20 kilometres into the Raukumara to the Motu River over an old road established for hydro exploration in the 1960’s. The road provides unique recreational opportunities for visitors including hunting, camping and mountain biking in a scenic and challenging wilderness part of the country.      

Leave no trace - If you’re camping with children, check out the hazards in the area such as lakes, streams and busy roads. Camp responsibly and minimise your impact on the environment. Don’t forget to practice ‘no trace’ camping - follow the leave no trace code.   

Didymo - Be aware of the threat of didymo. People moving between waterways should always check, clean and dry all gear, clothing, boats and vehicles that could contaminate other streams, rivers or lakes. Didymo advocate, Olivia Davidson will be in the East Coast over the summer months.

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Awhina White
Programme Manager, Visitor and Historic Assets
Ph: +64 27 491 8805

Recreation and camping on the East Coast:

East Coast places to visit

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