The ability to freedom camp in New Zealand is a real bonus and provides a close-to-nature Kiwi experience. You can freedom camp on public conservation land except in areas where it is expressly prohibited or restricted to self-contained vehicles as indicated by signage. In additional to freedom camping there are other low-cost camping options at locations such as DOC camp sites. There are several apps that will help you find the best places to camp. To start with take a look at CamperMate and Camping NZ.
For information on DOC (Department of Conservation) camping look at http://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/places-to-stay/stay-at-a-campsite/ These DOC sites are often as low as $8 per adult and they do not require self-contained certification.
There is some helpful information on where you can camp in New Zealand at http://www.newzealand.com/ie/article/where-you-can-camp-in-new-zealand/ Also see http://freedomcamping.org/
When Freedom Camping in New Zealand you must always:
- Use public toilets; do not use the bush or waterways as a toilet
- Leave no trace of your visit
- Dispose of all rubbish responsibly, or take it with you
- Respect private property; don’t camp on someone’s land
- Respect ‘No Camping’ signs; they are there for a reason
- Keep detergents, soap, toothpaste etc. out of waterways
- Only use approved dump stations to dispose of motorhome waste
Indiscriminate waste disposal damages New Zealand’s beautiful environment and is potentially hazardous to public health. Unfortunately it only takes one inconsiderate camper to generate a lot of bad publicity for everyone. Some campers treat public areas poorly, without consideration of those that come after them. As part of the solution to the increasing problems associated with the use of campervans and the disposal of waste, a Standard for Self-Containment of vehicles has been created.
Self-Containment Certified Camping
Some freedom camping locations around New Zealand are restricted to those vehicles which are self-contained certified. For details on certification please look at https://www.nzmca.org.nz/certified-self-containment/ The Standard requires adequate fresh water, sealed grey water collection, a toilet, and sealable a refuse container and to have the capacity to last three days.