Camping at Hurunui Mouth, North Canterbury
North Canterbury, roughly the area between Christchurch and Kaikoura, certainly isn’t the most popular region of New Zealand. Most people drive straight through, but there are some cool things to see including Gore Bay (and the Cathedral Cliffs), Manuka Bay and Hurunui Mouth. There are several places to camp in North Canterbury — we chose Hurunui Mouth and it turned out to be a great experience.
Things to do at Hurunui Mouth
This off the beaten path camping ground is close to some scenic areas. You can walk down the beach (more of a riverbank I guess) easily from the camping ground, but make sure to also head up the hill for some great views. There are a couple of clearings close to the camping ground turnoff, but it’s worth continuing up to the end of the road. From there you can tackle the two hour return hike to Manuka Bay (which you can also drive to) or look back towards Hurunui Mouth for a nice view over the beach.
READ MORE: Manuka Bay, North Canterbury
Camping at Hurunui Mouth
We decided to camp at Hurunui Mouth because it seemed like a nice area and it was pretty cheap (OK, it was mostly the cheap part). It costs $10 per vehicle / campsite (which is actually kind of expensive if you’re on your own). You don’t get much for your money but the bathrooms were surprisingly clean and there is running water. There were maybe 5- 10 vehicles and a couple of tents when we were there. There is heaps of room and I can’t imagine it ever getting completely full.
Getting to Hurunui Mouth
Hurunui Mouth Camping Ground is a short detour from the main road, some of which is gravel. Turn off at Domett (roughly halfway between Christchurch and Kaikoura).From that turnoff you can also reach Gore Bay, where you can see the impressive Cathedral Cliffs. Also stop off at nearby Manuka Bay, which was the best beach we visited in North Canterbury. Motunau Beach also looks good; we didn’t end up making it there though.
Have you camped at Hurunui Mouth before? What was your experience like? Let us know in the comments below!