Freedom Camping in New Zealand

Author: RV Super Centre   Date Posted: 1 January 2017



Freedom camping or free camping is the practice of putting up tents or parking up campervans in areas not designated for camping. Free camping typically means that freedom campers cannot access facilities such as clean drinking water, toilets (either flushing or long drop) and waste disposal facilities.


New Zealand's breath taking scenery and diverse landscape make freedom camping a large part of the Kiwi campervan, motorhome and caravan holiday. To both protect freedom camping for future generations and ensure the sustainability of our environment it is highly important that everyone camps responsibly and observes all local authority freedom camping rules.

Restrictions on freedom camping on public conservation land only apply to areas (normally near roads) where there has been a history of problems caused by inappropriate freedom camping or there is a conservation management reason that warrants restricting camping (e.g. ensuring equitable access to a site or where sensitive native species are present).

Freedom camping is permitted on public conservation land, except in areas where it is expressly prohibited or restricted to self-contained vehicles. Freedom camping in a prohibited or restricted area can result in a $200 infringement fee. This is indicated by signage:

Freedom camping signage.

For more information on where you can freedom camp and the bylaws please visit the New Zealand Motor Caravan Association website.


Please leave only footprints, be prepared to take your rubbish away, and leave the campsites clean and tidy for others to enjoy. You are responsible for your waste wherever you camp. Non compliance can result in a $200 infringment fee or a maximum $10,000 fine if proscuted. 

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