FREEDOM CAMPING IN NEW ZEALAND
In New Zealand freedom camping (camping in public places instead of official campgrounds) is allowed only in specific areas. If you decide to freedom camp, ensure you camp near public toilets and take extra care to clear your site of rubbish and other waste before leaving.
To avoid fines and unfriendly welcomes, follow our guide to freedom camping responsibly in New Zealand.
Choose where you freedom camp carefully
Remember this freedom camping checklist for when you are searching for a place to park up for the night:
- Camping on private property is not allowed.
- You should also try to park away from busy roads, but ideally near a public toilet block.
- Local bylaws in some areas can restrict freedom camping, so pay attention to any 'no freedom camping' notices. You could end up with a hefty fine if you ignore no camping signs.
- In most areas, councils will only allow you to freedom camp if your vehicle is fully self-contained.
You can incur an instant $200 fine if you:
- Camp somewhere freedom camping is not permitted.
- Leave behind waste and litter, or damage your camping area.
- Camp without a toilet in a spot where only fully self-contained vehicles are allowed.
respect the environment - Leave no trace
Chances are you're travelling New Zealand to enjoy the natural beauty of the country. Keep New Zealand beautiful and show respect for our unique flora and fauna.
Respecting the environment means managing human waste, grey water, and litter responsibly. Make sure you leave your campsite as beautiful as you found it:
- If you go freedom camping, you need to have your own toilet, drinking water, and waste system. You will find these facilities onboard our JUCY Condo, Chaser, Coaster, and Compass campers.
- Take all your litter with you or put your rubbish in the bins provided.
- Hold on to your recycling until you reach a recycling station or town where you can dispose of recyclable items properly.
- Please don't use the side of the road or the bush as a toilet. If you don't have a toilet onboard your vehicle, use public facilities. You'll find public toilets in most towns in New Zealand, even the small ones!
- Empty your portable toilet at legal dump stations (you can typically find these in holiday parks).
- When washing yourself or your dishes, move away from the water source. Soaps and detergents are harmful to our waterways. It's better to let dirty water drain into the ground where it can be filtered.
We want you to stay safe while travelling around New Zealand. Freedom camping can expose you to the elements, so you need to take the right precautions.
- Make sure you have all the right equipment with you, including warm clothing and wet weather gear.
- You never know when it's going to rain in New Zealand! Keep an eye out for weather warnings and seek shelter in a town or holiday park if it gets too wild out there.
- If you plan on combining camping with hiking, always let someone know where you are going and when you should be back.
Here are some useful safety resources:
Some regions have very specific rules about freedom camping, To find out more, it's best to contact the regional council directly.
Finding a place to freedom camp and figuring out the rules can be stressful. By staying in official campgrounds, you can enjoy more facilities and avoid the risk of fines.