openOpen back Camping responsibly

Camping responsibly

It is a widespread misconception that you can ‘free camp’ anywhere you want to in New Zealand.

Much of the great paddocks, fields, reserves and farmland you see are privately owned and cannot, therefore, be camped on without permission from the land owner.

In addition, many of the public spots that appear good for camping have been treated poorly by campers in the past, prompting local councils to make such spaces ‘No Camping’ zones.

However, there are some areas where you can pull over, park your motorhome or set up your tent and camp for the night, free of charge.

Check our "where can I camp" page where you can find regional information on freedom camping spots. Whilst travelling, stop at local information centres or Department of Conservation offices to ask where you are allowed to camp.

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

New Zealand is a popular holiday destination for its clean, green landscapes and natural environment. Help keep New Zealand this way by being a responsible and tidy camper.


Hey there!

Get this information and more by downloading the free CamperMate app, New Zealands most comprehensive travel location database.

Travel smarter with CamperMate, the essential free New Zealand travel app that makes travelling around easier than ever before!

How to use the site?

Click the "Find a Location" button on the top left and select either 'Campgrounds for self-contained vehicles', or 'Campground for non self-contained vehicles' depending on if you have a toilet on board or not. Then look for these icons:

  • Free Campground Free
    *Self Contained vehicles only
  • Free Campground Low Cost (Under $15/night)
    *Self Contained vehicles only
  • Free Campground Paid (Over $15/night)
    *Self Contained vehicles only
  • Free Campground *if the icon has two vehicle types on it, it allows both self-contained and non self-contained vehicles.

Okay, got it!