Campsite review: Lake Hawea Kidds Bush DOC campsite, Otago

Lake Hawea DOC campground is situated on the shore of lake Hawea in Hawea Recreation Reserve. Want to camp at a beautiful lake but don’t like the crowds of Wanaka? Lake Hawea is a great choice.

It’s a medium-sized campsite with lots of space for tents and vans alike. There’s a cooking and picnic shelter, picnic tables, flush toilets and tap water. Most space is available in a large open area, where the communal facilities are, but there’s also ample opportunity to pitch your tent or park your van in a little more sheltered area by the forest or on the gravel of the lake’s shore.


Lake Hawea

Lake Hawea


I enjoyed staying at Lake Hawea. The facilities make it a very comfortable campground, and you’ve got the best of both worlds: a beautiful lake minus the crowds, plus forest and nature walks, not too far from Wanaka and its attractions. The only downside is that it may be a little noisy if you camp too close to the shore due to the motorised boats which are allowed on this lake.

This is the only Department of Conservation campsite in the bigger Wanaka area that’s not right next to a state highway. Other DOC options include Cameron Flat and Boundary Creek. They’re just off of SH6 right next to the busy road but do make for really nice short-term or picnic rest stops.


Lake Hawea DOC campsite, Kidds Bush

Lake Hawea DOC campsite, Kidds Bush



  • Type: Standard
  • Fee: $6.10 per person per night
  • Location: 32 km north of Wanaka, off SH6. On SH 6, branch off into Meads Road, follow 6 km of gravel road along Lake Hawea
  • Facilities: picnic shelter with benches and cooking surfaces, picnic tables, water from tap, flush toilets
  • Notes: motorised boats allowed; can be noisy; medium-sized campground; no dogs allowed; ranger on-site.

For more information on Department of Conservation campsites in New Zealand, read my introduction to DOC campsites.

Other DOC campsite reviews:

Mavora Lakes
Moke Lake

Mangahuia, Tongariro National Park
Kinloch, Otago

Christina Hegele

About the author: Christina Hegele runs Sandal Road, a blog on her favourite destinations. It just so happened that 95% turned out to be about New Zealand. Follow Christina and her blog on Twitter, like her blog on Facebook, and subscribe to her Youtube channel. Alternatively, subscribe to her email newsletter at the top right of this blog.

More Posts - Twitter - Facebook

  2 comments for “Campsite review: Lake Hawea Kidds Bush DOC campsite, Otago

  1. 7 April, 2011 at 08:54

    I’m not much of a camper these days, but it looks like an idyllic place for camping and relaxing.

    • 7 April, 2011 at 18:52

      Lake Hawea is fantastic. Even if you don’t camp there, it’s worth stopping there if you’re on SH6 en route from Wanaka to the West Coast.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


%d bloggers like this: