Ready to start your New Zealand campervan adventure? Whether you’ve got a long weekend to get out of the city; a month to see the country; or you’re taking a year off to soak up the best of both Islands, getting on the road in your campervan is the best way to see New Zealand at your own pace.
Whether you want to park overnight on DOC campsites, find freedom camping areas, or come back to civilization in a holiday park, read on to find the best places to park your campervan in New Zealand.
Department of Conservation (DOC) Campsites
For the ultimate New Zealand experience, the DOC campsites are our top choice when finding a spot to park for a few nights. There are over 200 campsites managed by the DOC, giving you more opportunity to wake up somewhere new all over New Zealand.
Have you ever wanted to fall asleep under the clearest, starry skies in the middle of a forest? Or wake up to the sound of waves lapping sandy beaches? DOC campsites are one of the best options to experience the beautiful New Zealand outdoors at their finest.
Plus, they’re very affordable for budget-conscious nomads. Some campsites are free, while others have a small fee per person, depending on the category it falls under.
Basic campsites are perfect for fully self-contained campervans as they provide very limited facilities, such as basic toilets and water supply. The great news is, they’re free.
Scenic and Standard Campsites:
Thanks to their incredible scenic surrounds and popularity, these campsites attract a fee even though the facilities are limited. You can expect to find toilets, a water supply, cold showers, wood BBQ’s and cooking gazebos, as well as both powered and non-powered sites.
Fees vary, depending on number and age of passengers, location, and whether you want a powered or unpowered site.
Fee: Find out more about fees here.
Serviced Campsites are a little more expensive, but they do offer more facilities and little luxuries for the tired traveller. Here, you’ll find flush toilets, hot showers, kitchen and laundry facilities, BBQ’s, fireplaces and picnic tables to feel a little less like you’re living out of a van.
Fees vary by age and number of passengers, as well as whether or not you want a powered or unpowered site.
Fee: Find out more about fees here.
There are over 340 free campsites across New Zealand that allow Freedom Camping (also known as Wild Camping) where you can park you self-contained campervan for free overnight. Unfortunately, it is not allowed everywhere, and some councils have strict rules and regulations on where guests can and can’t park. Campervans must be fully certified as self-contained in order to freedom camp – you can read the requirements here. (link to freedom camping article)
Located in Waihi in the Bay of Plenty, this little spot overlooks a lovely white, sandy beach. It’s limited to three vehicles at a time, so get in early. Make sure your campervan is fully certified as self-contained, as rangers patrol the area regularly. Unavailable from the third week of December to the 10th February every year.
Waiomu Domain Beachfront Reserve
Located in Thames, Coromandel, guests are invited to park for a maximum of two nights within the Freedom Camping signs. This reserve is a gravel car park with stunning ocean views, toilet facilities and a sheltered picnic area near the playground.
Located in Malborough on the South Island, this reserve permits four vehicles to stay a maximum of two nights overlooking the stunning bay. There’s a boat ramp, and stargazing at night is incredible.
This secluded location on the South Island is for fully self-contained campervans only as there are no facilities. The spectacular views make up for it, as it’s located right on Lake Pukaki with mountain views.
Holiday parks are a great way to enjoy little luxuries you’ve missed while freedom camping, although you’ll sacrifice picturesque surrounds for civilisation and amenities. With hundreds to choose from, you’re sure to find a budget-friendly option wherever you are.
The available amenities vary from each park, but they may include kitchens, laundry facilities, hot showers, swimming pools, mini golf, and even theatres and TV rooms. Some holiday parks have motel rooms in case you feel like sleeping in a real bed for the night, or even a day spa to get a little pampering in.
Read about some of our favourite holiday parks on both the North and South Island here. [Link to internal article ‘5 New Zealand Holiday Parks to park your Campervan’
Ready to start exploring New Zealand? Find the perfect campervan here and park it wherever you want!