No cellphone reception, no wifi, no worries.

Turn south off the highway between Hamilton and Raglan, follow the road, then hit five kilometres of windy, gravel path.

Nestled on the west coast, the area is an escape from reality.

Ruapuke Motor Camp, 20 minutes from Raglan, Waikato district, NZ

Welcome to Ruapuke Motor Camp.

There's the black, sandy beach, ideal for fishing and surfing, horse trek adventures up the road, Bridal Veil Falls not far away and birdlife at the nearby Karioi mountain.

There are giant eels you can feed in the stream that runs through the camping ground, and a pond ideal for cooling off in.

Ruapuke Motor Camp is a family-friendly campground close to Raglan, Waikato district, NZ

Some people can't handle that there's no cellphone coverage, especially teenagers, owner Geoff Choat said.

For the last 20 years, Geoff and wife Angela have been running the motor camp. The camp can accommodate 160 to 180 people and includes four cabins, plenty of land and bathroom and kitchen facilities. 

Geoff tries to make it a more family-orientated camping ground.

1 hr from Hamilton, 30 mins from Raglan, Ruapuke Motor Camp, Waikato district, NZ

"We try, but it's very hard when you get three Holdens with 12 blokes in it, with five boxes of beers and all they want to do is party.

"Might be fun for them, but not fun for the people here with their families for a week or two."

He said some families have been coming to the grounds for 30 years and stay for three weeks every year. 

Tent sites start at $12.50 per adult and $6 per child. Powered sites are $15 for adults, $7.50 for children, and cabins go for $50 a night for two adults.

"Our cabins are very old school and laid back. They're not five-star, but they'll do," Geoff said.

The place has become more popular in recent years with tourists, especially with French and German travellers. 

But people in Raglan also come half an hour over the hill to escape town during its peak season.

"The weather can turn the campers away," Angela added. "Nobody wants to go camping in the rain. 

"They can handle a day of rain, but once their things get wet, they pack up and go."

Although there are various options - Airbnb, Bookabach, motels - Geoff believes people still want to go camping.

"People want remote, not busy. Once the kids put down their laptops and realise they can climb trees and explore, they enjoy themselves."

The pair spend about a month over summer living permanently at the camp. Then, when it's quiet, they come back on the weekends, relying on two helpers. 

When they're not at the campground, they live in Hamilton and run another business.

They hope to eventually retire to the motor camp.

"We have enjoyed this place as a family for the last 20 years with our three boys. They've grown up here climbing trees, fishing, riding motorbikes.

"We're quite attached to it."

Ruapuke Motor Camp is 30 mins from Raglan and is quiet and secluded.


Surfing at Raglan, Waikato district, NZ

Whether you're looking for world-class surf, stunning scenery, beautiful beaches, inspiring arts or simply a good old cup of coffee, laidback Raglan offers the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Click here to read more about Raglan.


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