Populations of coastal North Island campgrounds have fallen considerably in the last 24 hours after severe weather predictions caused many to pack it in rather than endure the wet.

Campers from Mangawhai, Whitianga, Piha and other coastal hotspots have made for the hills after heavy rain, strong winds and king tides were forecast to wreak havoc.

Piha campground manager Fiona Anderson evacuated campers today after she deemed it "dangerous for human life".

"There's some big weather systems coming in, 6m swells coming from two different directions, torrential rain forecast between 10pm and 12am tonight which is when our high tide will be... and 130km/h winds predicted," Anderson told the Herald.


Meanwhile hundreds of people also scarpered the storm that's ravaging the Coromandel.

Dejected campers quickly packed their tents down before loading the car with gear and chilly bins, and some even kayaked home.

MetService Weather New Zealand: January 4th - 6th

Whitianga camper Shane Bland wasn't put off by the weather or forecast.

"Nah just see how it goes, hopefully get through the night.

"Take this one [tent] down and the family will go camp in the TV room," he said.

The weather hadn't put him off camping either.

"Nah I love it - this is the fun of it."

Dan Snedden was another stubborn camper and hopes the weather isn't as bad as predicted.


"Hopefully it's just a bit windier than rainy tonight.

"We're gonna stay rain or shine, we've got fishing to do."

In Mangawhai, several campers remain vigilant at the Mangawhai Heads Holiday Park, manager Adrian Ingham said.

Not expecting the weather to be a major issue, king tides have pushed the water level higher in the area.

"It's just rainy and it's not blowing too hard at the moment.

"We had a king tide today pre the rain and that was exceptionally high but the wind's actually blowing in the right way for it not to come into the camp," Ingham told the Herald.

Over 20 campers had left the camp with several not even turning up for their reservations.

"All but a couple of 'very tough' campers have stayed. We've lost about 25 campers from tent sites.

"We've just got two people in campervans and two people in small pop-tents that are toughing it out because there's a concert," he said.

Civil defence controller Garry Towers said fire crews had been visiting low-lying coastal areas urging freedom campers to retreat from the coast and to find higher ground.

As the front moves on, the Taranaki, Nelson, Marlborough and other South Island regions are also expected to receive bad weather.

The fast-moving front is said to be clear of the country by Saturday.