Skip to content

Free Mums cards (RRP $15.95) with every $30 you spend. Ends 21 April or while stock lasts.

At last its Haast

At last its Haast

Leaving Frans Joseph glacier just after 7 we decided that we really should book ahead in Haast as we would be arriving late so did a quick google and found a camp site in Haast.

I called them and they confirmed that they had a site available. I told them we would be arriving late (about 9 I said – I never was very good with estimating how long things would take) and they said it wouldn’t be a problem and to ring the night bell when we got there.

I diligently bookmarked the camping ground in my phone (learning from my mistakes in Hamner) and off we went.

The obligatory toilet/food stops and we didn’t arrive in Haast until almost 10. At last its Haast we all said (oh and we pulled out the Haast’a la vesta baby as we left too).

We had no phone reception or internet for the last hour or two. I expected it to come back on in Haast but no… Not a single bar….

James – “What’s it called?”

Me – “I don’t know – its on my phone and I have no coverage”

How hard can it be to find a camping ground I said – they said it was just off the main road.

We drove past the Top 10 park – definitely not that one I said – too expensive for a 10 hour stay so on we went.

We arrived at another camp ground…

James – “Is this the one?”

Me – “I don’t know – its on my phone and I have no coverage”

Flashlights out we go up to the very dark looking door with no night bell. I find a sign that says for urgent service to call this number. I should point out that at this point we have one child crying she is so desperate for the toilet (we have a strict “no poo” policy in the camper) and we have been on the road for 13 hours so tempers are somewhat frayed…

James – “Well give them a call”

Me – “I can’t – remember, we have no coverage”

Past 10 now we decide to head in to town which as it turns out is a couple of shops (all closed) and thankfully a public toilet. Maybe we can freedom camp we decide. Maui very kindly gave us a full pack with all the information that we would need on the road for our trip including how and where to freedom camp. We in turn very helpfully left it in the Christchurch office amid the hot chocolate covered mess of a meltdown that was check in with children so didn’t have this information any more… Maps and guides make it harder to get lost anyway I had reasoned to myself.

James – “Can you look up where we can Freedom Camp?”


By this point 13.5 hours into our day with 3 tired children no one is feeling particularly happy so we drive in silence for a while looking for a neon sign saying “Freedom Camping here” when like a mirage in the desert appears the Haast Beach Holiday Park.

It’s almost 11 by this point and again the reception area looks very dark but they do have a night bell. We push it and wait. Nothing. Then James has an idea – we will put a note in the key return box telling them we arrived late with 3 kids and will pay in the morning.

While we were doing this an exceptionally gruff looking Southern Man emerges – clearly not well pleased to be woken in the middle of the night by a van load of idiotic Aucklanders who obviously have no idea about the etiquette of late arrivals (I am assuming there is some – probably in the lost Maui guide book).

I was close to tears by this point so I let James do the talking and fortunately the owner let us stay for the very reasonable price of $50 for the night.

It’s the strangest thing arriving somewhere in the middle of the night in a camper and not knowing what you will see when you emerge so when James peered out the window the next morning and called out “Look, Cat – there’s snow everywhere” my spirits lifted and I raced to the window.

He was of course completely lying and all we had was a brown clapboard building and a washing line out the window.

It wasn’t a long stay but it was a very much needed place to rest and the facilities were clean and it was a cheap stay.

If nothing else please stay here to thank the owners for their kindness in putting up with these inconsiderate Aucklanders – tell them Cat and James sent you.

You can find their details here – just not anywhere within a 2 hour driving radius from Haast because there is as we all know, no coverage….

The drive to Wanaka in the daylight made all the troubles of the night before well worth it however with absolutely stunning lakes and rivers for hours.

James says….

We don’t know nearly enough about Haast. I was pretty happy to be there. We were in a bad place before we got to Haast – we had some unhappy campers. They had a sign there that said Crayfish – I feel there was more to this place that we should have explored – it could have been a 9, we will just never know. If we had of had the dive gear and the fishing gear and this could have been great.

How we rated it…

Sophia (6 years old) rates it 3/10

Krystal (8 years old) rates it 5/10

Bella (9 years old) rates it 4/10

James rates it 5/10

Cat rates it 4/10

Leave a comment

Error Name required.
Error Comment required.

Please note, comments must be approved before publishing. All fields are required.