Cambridge's location on State Highway 1, and the fact that national bus routes stop at the town, means backpackers often want budget accommodation, as well as the chance to check out the town and its nearby attractions.
The Mighty River Domain beside Lake Karapiro offers camping facilities as well as cabins and lodges. These are excellent options for those attending events at the lake or using the world-class Don Rowlands Centre which hosts many large events. The site has 60 powered and 80 non-powered sites which can be hired individually or in blocks. The camping ground has two amenity blocks with toilets and showers, a kitchen with two ovens, laundry and a dump station.
Epworth Camp sits beside the lake, near Horahora, and specialises in hosting youth groups with indoor accommodation for 160 guests and facilities for 50 more to camp on its four hectares of grounds, a fifth of which is waterfront. The camp, owned and operated by the Methodist Church for more than 60 years, has a large swimming pool, a gymnasium, a water slide and a flying fox to keep youngsters entertained.
The Cambridge Kiwi Motor Park, in Scott St, Leamington, is only 1km from the town centre. It has more than 100 tent and 82 power sites, two on-site caravans, 10 cabins (some with fridges), two tourist flats, one kitchen cabin (sleeps nine).
A communal kitchen with fridge/freezer provides continuous boiling water, microwave, stoves and a dining area. The park has a dump station. No dogs allowed.
The Cambridge Country Lodge Backpackers Motel is situated only 1.5km on the Hamilton side of Cambridge, in Peake Rd. It provides self-contained units and family backpacker rooms.
Tent and caravan sites, with limited power, can be arranged, and guests have access to a dining room with communal kitchen, two shared bathroom blocks, a coin operated laundry and television room with internet service.
If you're travelling with pets - or even horses - you can make arrangements for them to stay too.
The site has a BBQ area and plenty of space for children (and even the chance for them to play with a lamb or two!).
Rates range from as low as $12 a person and the venue specialises in accommodating large groups visiting Cambridge for major events and occasions.
The nearest Department of Conservation campsite is at Landing Road, Arohena, which is about 60km and 55 minutes' drive from Cambridge. It has about 50 tents sites on the western bank of the river and has tap water, toilets and picnic tables available.
Some sports clubs, including the Cambridge Soccer Club in Vogel St, offer overnight camping by arrangement, especially when Cambridge is hosting major sports events.
Campers who are self-sufficient - and can store their sewage and grey water - are able to stay in many parts of New Zealand, but should be aware of local restrictions. New Zealand's Freedom Camping Act means visitors who ignore good camping practices and/or camp in the wrong places can be fined up to $10,000.
More information about freedom camping can be found here.
Epworth Retreat has it all
Situated on the shores of Lake Karapiro 15 minutes to Cambridge. An ideal location for sports teams and school groups. Accommodation is self-catering or we can cater which is competitively priced.
Backpackers accommodation 5 mins drive from Cambridge town.