All About Freedom Camping in New Zealand
What Is Freedom Camping?
Responsible freedom camping means staying in a tent, caravan, campervan or motorhome on public land that has minimal or no facilities. This means no access to electricity, toilets or showers. This kind of accommodation may not cost anything but it comes with a level of responsibilities. There are over 500 freedom camping locations in New Zealand and the rules vary so make sure you educate yourself fully beforehand.
The Basic Rules
Advantages of Freedom Camping
This is a beautiful, cheap way to see New Zealand. By staying in free accommodation, you have more of a budget to spend in the towns you visit and on delicious food. There’s a good chance you will run into likeminded families while you’re camping on public ground – these travellers can give you advice and recommendations on where you should go next!
Our Favourite Spots to Camp
All of New Zealand is stunning but there are some places that are just easier to stay in than others. We’ve put this list together to help you plan your ideal route through the North and South Islands.
There is also a free “Campermate” app that you can download to help you find campsites, toilets and waste drop-off stations. You can even receive tips from other travellers and find out where the nearest Wi-Fi access is.
If you reside in New Zealand then we also advise that you join the NZMCA. This is an organisation which is dedicated to its members who own Motorhomes and Caravans. NZMCA also have designated camps of their own plus many members offer Park-over Properties where you can stay for a minimal cost.
The North Island
You can camp near the beach and watch the beautiful, morning sunrise at Puketapu Park. Self-contained campervans and motorhomes can park here for up to two nights. There’s a nearby playground and toilet facilities, too.
At the Rotakare Scenic Reserve in Taranaki, you can find pristine facilities. To maintain their incredible, rare birdlife, the keepers have spent extraordinary amounts on eradicating all pests. This beautiful spot has to be seen to be believed, and it costs a $5 donation to keep it all running.
The South Island
Ohingaroa, Kenepuru Sounds is a huge area where you can park your campervan for free for up to two nights. The sunrises and sunsets in this spot are unbelievable and you’ll be equipped with picnic tables and spotless facilities.
You’ll receive local knowledge and gorgeous views at the Koha camping site. This is for self-contained campervans only and the spots open at 3 pm, so there’s no real hurry to get anywhere. There are even organic vegetables for sale on the site!
First Things First, Secure Your RV