A family of five has been robbed as they slept in their campervan near Turangi early today.

Two men smashed a window to get in and then demanded money. They took a handbag and other property, Detective Sergeant Neale Saunders of Turangi police said.

The incident happened at a layby known as the Three Sisters, at the Oturere Stream, just off State Highway 1, about 25km south of Turangi, about 1.30am.

None of the family, two parents, children aged 10, 13 and 17, along with the 17-year-old's boyfriend, was injured in the robbery but were deeply upset, Mr Saunders said.

One of the offenders was wearing a grey or light coloured zipped up hoody. The second was described as Maori, about 183cm tall, thin with long thick dark dread locks, with a prominent nose and a tribal tattoo on the right side of his face.

They fled the scene in a waiting vehicle, which was possibly driven by a third party, Mr Saunders said.

Police appealed to anyone that was travelling on the Desert Road after midnight last night to contact them.

- NZPA