Exploring New Zealand in a campervan is one of the best ways to get to know this beautiful, wild and gorgeous country. You’ll get to explore everything you can think of–from lonely beaches, to snow-capped mountains; from lush green fields to raging rivers and mystic rainforests.
The best thing though…with your motorhome, you can basically stop whenever you want, soak up the scenery and enjoy our beautiful country.
Here’s a quick run down on where you are allowed to camp and what options you have:
Camping in New Zealand
If you want to stay a little bit longer, it will be helpful to know the three main options for camping in New Zealand: commercial campgrounds, Department of Conservation (DoC), and free campsites. New Zealand is truly a land of diverse camping options, so once you’ve booked your campervan, you can start planning your route and your campsites with this helpful guide.
Commercial campgrounds offer powered and non-powered campsites, and plenty facilities to make you feel comfy (“…did someone say shower!?…”There is a washing machine? Yay!”).
It’s worthwhile to pick up an AA Accommodation Guide, which includes campgrounds, and the Jasons Holiday Parks Campgrounds Guide is also handy. For campground recommendations and reviews, download WikiCamps from your mobile app store.
We’ve listed some of our favourite campsites across the country.
Department of Conservation (DOC) Campsites
The Department of Conservation (DoC) provides campsites in many conservation areas throughout New Zealand. DoC campsites operate usually on a self-registration system.
These campsites are often in some of the best locations around the country: in national parks, alongside the great walks and in tranquil and secluded spots.
It’s worth mentioning though, DoC campsites are usually quite basic, offering ‘back to nature’ style accommodation and facilities. A full list of campsites by region can be found on the DoC website.
You can also pick up a free copy of a Conservation Campsites booklet from any information centre (i-Site).
Responsible Camping / Free Camping
“Responsible camping is camping in a tent, campervan or motor vehicle on public land, and generally means minimal or no facilities” – Department of Conservation NZ
Although it is tempting, you are not allowed to just park your motorhome anywhere you like and stay for the night.
Each district has different rules and regulations around where responsible camping (and parking of campervans) is permitted and where it is not. Altogether there are over 500 official free camping locations in New Zealand.
The best place to find information about where you can camp is from those who know the area. Have a chat with the locals, the friendly staff at a local i-Site or check out this map of all available responsible camping sites around the country, with an indication of the facilities you can expect at each site.
We want to point out though, that Tourism New Zealand does not recommend free camping because of its impact on the environment and for your own security.
What is your experience of camping in New Zealand? We’d love to hear about it in the comments, so please share.
Our SHAREaCAMPER team is always happy to help, please contact us if you have any problems or questions about your bookings.
Phone: +61 (2) 8880 9065
Phone: +64 (0) 3 668 1211