With the Christmas rush over, it is the perfect time to unwind in some of Hawke’s Bay’s most scenic sites. Astrid Austin looks at six of the best camping grounds in the Bay

1. Mahia Beach Holiday Park

Located at 43 Moana Drive, Mahia Beach, at the northern tip of Hawke's Bay, is 2.5 hours' drive north of Napier, 1 hour south of Gisborne and 40 minutes east of Wairoa.

The park offers non-powered and powered sites for campervans, caravans and tents, as well as cabins. Pohutukawa trees add a splash of colour around the park, with scenic views facing towards the beach.

Its facilities include a camp kitchen, ablution blocks, a fish filleting area and a Children's playground including a BMX track on the camp.

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Other facilities include a shop located onsite, which operates during the summer season, from December 20 to the end of January.

A variety of water and land activities are available for people's enjoyment, with a Kayak for hire at the camp.

For more information, visit: http://www.motelscabinscampmahiabeach.com/default.html or phone (06) 837 5830.

2. Mangatutu Hot Springs
This is a popular camping, picnic and fishing spot, and a starting point for tramping, hunting or day walks up the Mohaka River and further into the Kaweka Forest Park.

Campers can relax at the nearby thermal springs or go tramping, fishing, swimming or rafting, as well as hunt sika and red deer in the park.

The river has rainbow and brown trout, while thermal water bursts from a deep, undercut, steaming hole on the top terrace. The water trickles down a riverside bluff and after a short way is channelled into two pools.

There are barbecues, picnic tables and toilets located in secluded clearings among the manuka surrounds, and there are access tracks descending to the Mohaka River.

The camping ground is located approximately one and three quarter hours north west of Napier and is free to use.

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For more information, visit: http://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/places-to-stay/conservation-campsites-by-region/hawkes-bay/mangatutu-hot-springs/
3. Lake Tutira
The campsite is located beside SH2 at Tutira, 50 minutes north of Napier. It provides 30 tent sites, tap water and toilets.

The fee is $6 per night for adults over the age of 18 and $3 for children between the age of 5 -17 years.

Campers can spend the night at the southern end of the freshwater lake and walk to Table Mountain Trig for views of inland Kaweka, Maungaharuru Ranges and coastal Hawke's Bay.

Lake Tutira is a wildlife refuge that's popular for camping and picnics.

There is good swimming in the lake and excellent trout fishing where a stream flows into its northern reaches.

The Tutira Walkway, which takes around five hours to complete, ascends to the Table Mountain Trig station for stunning views over Hawke's Bay.

For more information, visit: http://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/places-to-stay/conservation-campsites-by-region/hawkes-bay/lake-tutira/
4. Waimarama Seaside Resort
This camping ground is located at 30 Harper Rd, one block back from Waimarama Beach, making it ideal for families.

The beach is popular for swimming, surfing, boating, fishing and diving, only two minutes walk from the campsite.

It offers powered and non-powered tent and caravan sites.

Its facilities include a small commercial kitchen, showers, toilets, laundry with coin operated washing machine and dryer, as well as a covered barbecue area. No pets are allowed.

For more information, visit: http://www.waimaramaseasideresort.co.nz/ or call (06) 874 6813

5. Kumeti
It is approximately one and three quarter hours south of Napier. People can camp in a clearing on the edge of the forest near a stream, at one of five tent sites.

Toilets, water from the stream and a barbecue are available.

Campers can take a day walk over Ruahine Range.

The camping ground isn't suited to campervans, as a 100m walk is required between the road end and the campground.

For more information, visit: http://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/places-to-stay/conservation-campsites-by-region/hawkes-bay/kumeti/
6. Eskdale Holiday Park
This caravan park and campground is located on the banks of the Esk River, 4km from Napier / Taupo turnoff on State Highway 5, just 19km to Napier.

It provides 100 tent sites, 20 power sites, 5 onsite caravans that sleep 2-6 people and 1 standard cabin which sleeps 4.

Park amenities include a communal kitchen, laundry, toilet/shower, barbecue, playground and trampoline.

The Esk River provides safe swimming with unrestricted river access.

Trout and eels inhabit the river, making it ideal for fishing.

Other activities include walks, wineries and orchards.

This campsite is perfect for the whole family with areas for the kids to ride their bikes in the heart of the grape-growing country.

All sites are $14 per adult and $7 per child under the age of 15.

For more information, visit: http://www.eskdaleholidaypark.co.nz/