Ah, New Zealand! The land of nature’s best landscapes, full of mysteries and unknowns. The beauty of New Zealand is worth exploring, and freedom camping is one of the best ways to do it.
Fully self-contained campervans are an effective means of transport. They’ll be both your home while you travel, and show you a whole new world to explore.
New Zealand is packed with beautiful parks, camping areas and more. However, you need to make sure you’re aware of the new rules and regulations for freedom camping that came into effect in February 2018.
Make sure you plan your itinerary around camping spots based on the self-contained certification of your van.
What is a Self-Contained Vehicle?
Basically, a self-contained van or other vehicle is a one that is able to withhold water sufficient for three days straight. The same is true for wastewater reserves and toilet amenities. Also, the van has to meet the regulations for Self-containment. In New Zealand, the certification is known as Self-containment NZS 5465. This sticker must be clearly visible in order for the van to camp in the country.
Need more info? Click here to read more about freedom camping requirements.
Where can I camp?
Campgrounds and holiday parks
New Zealand recreational parks have both powered and non-powered park areas. In powered sites, you have access to power points and you’re free to use their amenities such as a kitchen, laundry machine, showers and garbage storage. Non-powered sites do not have these features, which means you can get back to nature – or utilise the features of your self-contained campervan.
There are over 250 designated campsites in New Zealand protected and managed by the Department of Conservation (DOC). They differ from holiday parks in that they are government managed and run on a trust basis. Vans are welcome, and facilities are basic – but the fees are reasonable (and sometimes free!)
If you are interested in living minimally, New Zealand’s parks are bound to impress you. However, before you head out, know that all camping areas must be maintained ecologically. Only camp in designated areas, pay the fees required and remember to take your mess with you.
Freedom camping is, as the name suggests, the ability to park your campervan anywhere you want and stay for the night. Sadly, it’s a misconception that this option is freely available throughout New Zealand. Many paddocks and open spaces are private land, which means that without permission from the landowner, it is illegal to park.
However, there are various areas that allow free camping for travellers, but you need to ensure you’ve chosen the right spot. Keep clear of ‘No Camping’ zones, and check out the Freedom Camping website to find safe areas to park.
Due to recent changes to the Freedom Camping laws, you must have a fully self-contained vehicles to park in these designated free-of-charge camping sites. As New Zealand is divided into districts, know that each of them has different camping rules. Remember to read more up on the regulations that apply to free camping areas and ensure the vehicle you’ve chosen is approved.
Ultimately, camping across New Zealand can be quite fun. Nothing comes close to the freedom and adventure that camping offers. Affordable, entertaining and popular, campervans in New Zealand may be the best method to explore the country in its entirety.