Please leave only footprints, be prepared to take your rubbish away, and leave the campsites clean and tidy for others to enjoy. Also please dispose of your waste responsibly, if you don't have a toilet in your vehicle please stay somewhere with toilet facilities. Toitu te whenua - leave the land undisturbed.
information from DOC.
for many of the free camping sites below.
Blog posts about holiday parks
where we've stayed and paid
See Far North District Council below; Kawatiri campsite near St Arnaud is no longer free; Freedom camping in Whakatane; Freedom camping spots in the Coromandel; DOC's 10 most popular and 10 least used campsites via NZ Herald
Raetea North Side campsite
, Raetea Reserve, 18km south east of Kaitaia (DOC)
65 non powered sites
, insect repellent recommended, and note seasonal restrictions.
Far North District Council
now have eight locations
(previous four no longer available) for self contained camper vans to park:
Whangarei Town Basin
- Totora North (old dump site)
- Hundertwasser Carpark (behind toilets)
- Centre Park, Kaitaia
- Awanui Reserve
- Mangonui Lions Park toilets
- Lindvart Park, Kaikohe
- Te Corner, Ohaeawai
- Two Ponga Park, Okaihau
, access via Dent Street
Certified, self contained vehicles can overnight for free
in the Whangarei Town Basin.
(December 2015: A freedom camping bylaw is in development, a few camping spots are noted in this article
The only DOC campsites are in the Hauraki Gulf Islands area
(not free). For low cost camping options see Auckland Council.
Kaiaua & Miranda
Boat Club Reserve, Kaiaua - Free overnight parking for vehicles (non self contained as well as self contained).
Rays Rest Reserve
, Miranda - Free overnight parking for self contained vehicles only, maximum 2 night stay.
on the Coromandel.
All DOC campsites
in the Coromandel area charge from $10 per adult per night.
Free camping information for Aniwhenua Reserve, Galatea, and overnight parking information for self contained vehicles in the Whakatane District
Bay of Plenty
Humphries Bay Campsite
is free for one night stays, all other DOC campsites
in the Bay of Plenty area charge from $6 per adult per night.
, 4370 State Highway 31, Kawhia Road, Oparau
Phone: 07 871 0683
Pitch your tent for free or park your van for free ($5 charge if you require power). There are no kitchen or shower facilities but you can use the public toilets in the Roadhouse (open 6.30am - 8.30pm seven days).
, between Te Kuiti and Mangakino (DOC)
, noted as a good hunting base.
Freedom Camping in the South Waikato
, additional freedom camping information here
- Freedom camping in Kawerau
Freedom camping in and near Taupo
about the very popular Reid's Farm Recreation Reserve, and Ferry Road freedom camping areas in downtown Taupo. Plus other free camping options in the Taupo, Turangi and Mangakino area.
Kaimanawa Forest Park
There are 9 free DOC campsites
in the Kaimanawa Forest Park.
There is free camping at Ruatiti Domain
. Ruapehu District Guide to Freedom Camping
Okahu Road campsite
, Whirinaki Forest Park
There are two free DOC campsites
on Okahu Road.
Minginui Conservation area (DOC)
There are three tent sites
next to Minginui Stream. Note that DOC advise no dogs are allowed as there are kiwis in the area.
Other free DOC campsites in the area - Orangihikoia campsite
, Te Taita O Makoro campsite
, Rosie Bay
and Te Pakau.
Gisborne & East Cape
Gisborne District Council
issue permits for freedom camping, from $16 for 2 nights - $66 for 28 nights.
, Te Waiti Valley (DOC)
Careful driving needed to reach the campsite, 16 tent sites
, between Opotiki and Motu (DOC)
Listed as a remote campsite
Glenfalls campsite, Waitara Road, one hour north of Taupo (DOC)
Camp by the river with the cows at Glenfalls.
Mangatutu Hot Springs campsite, Kaweka Forest Park
A gravel road takes you to the Mangatutu Hot Springs and DOC campsite. (Rankers reviews).
Reserves in the Hastings District that allow certified self contained vehicles to stay overnight for a maximum of two nights.
Waikare River Mouth campsite, Waikare Road (DOC)
Camp beside the Waikare River and walk to the beach from Waikare River Mouth campsite.
(Additional free DOC sites in the area, sturdy vehicles may be required).
There are no DOC campsites free or otherwise in the Taranaki area. See Camping in New Plymouth via New Plymouth District Council. There are some cheap camping options in South Taranaki including Waitotara Beach (Wai-inu Beach), from $5 per site ($10 per site 1 December - end of February).
If you are travelling the Forgotten World Highway (Stratford - Taumarunui) in a self contained vehicle you are welcome to stay over night for free at the Ohura Cosmopolitan Club (link to their Facebook page).
Makino Scenic Reserve,
Mokai Road, Taihape (DOC)
There are 24 tent sites
, opposite Mokai Gravity Canyon
, Pohangina Valley (DOC)
There are 4 tent sites
, next to the Pohangina River.
Other DOC free sites - Kawhatau
(restricted access) and Simpsons Domain
Manawatu District Council
- Londons Ford and Bartletts Ford are free camping areas - toilets are long drops. There is a charge to camp at Vinegar Hill ($15 for two adults & 2 children), and Totara Reserve Regional Park - onsite caretaker will advise fee.
Tararua Forest Park
the DOC campsite
9km north of Otaki.
Free camping is available at South Wairarapa District Council
sites including Ngawi camping area and North Tora camping area. (Council are considering charging a small fee from 2014).
Marlborough District Council
information from Nelson City Council.
Cobb River campsite,
Kahurangi National Park, Upper Takaka (DOC)
There are 20 tent sites at the Cobb River DOC campsite
(restricted access for some vehicles).
, northwest of St Arnaud (DOC)
There are 10 tent sites at the old Kawatiri Railway Station DOC campsite
(disabled access toilet). Update:
Kawatiri campsite has changed to a Standard site and is no longer free. Charges are $6 per night for adults, and $3 per night for children (5-17 years), pay at the self registration kiosk.
Robin Hood Bay
, Port Underwood Road, Blenheim (DOC)
Set up camp next to the beach at Robin Hood Bay.
Okiwi Bay campsite
, 100km south of Blenheim/28km north of Kaikoura (DOC)
There are 6 tent sites at Okiwi Bay
and Mill Flat
are other free DOC camping sites but they aren't accessible to most vehicles.
Freedom camping information from Kaikoura District Council
in the Waimakariri for self contained vehicles - Cust Domain and Kaiapoi Club car park.
(located between Cheviot and Kaiapoi)
Camp near the river mouth. Note:
As per the comment below this is not a free camp but there are toilets and clean water (no power), family sites are $10 per night. The road to Motunau was included in the list of "Top 10 NZ Roads
", it sounds like a detour worth taking.
Grey River campsite
, 20 kms west of Amberley (DOC)
Camp next to Grey River, note access issues - 10 sites
. (Loch Katrine
is 81 kms northwest of Amberley, suitable 4WDs).
, 6 kms from Arthur's Pass Village (DOC)
Walking tracks will take you to waterfalls at Greyney's
Also see Klondyke Corner
, 8kms from Arthur's Pass Village.
Andrews Shelter campsite
, Arthur's Pass National Park (DOC)
Noted as a popular spot for trampers - 20 tent sites
Hawdon Shelter campsite
, 24 kms south of Arthur's Pass Village (DOC)
Walk along the Hawdon River - 20 sites
Lake Pearson campsite
, 35 kms south of Arthur's Pass Village (DOC)
Camp beside Lake Pearson - 20 tent sites
Deer Valley campsite
, Lewis Pass (DOC)
Deer Valley is near Maruia Springs
- 10 sites
in Aoraki/Mount Cook area for self contained vehicles.
Ahuriri Bridge campsite
, north of Omarama (DOC)
Camp next to Ahuriri River - 30 sites
, 50km northwest of Twizel (DOC)
A large flat camping area with 30 tent sites
Gillespies Beach campsite
, 21 kms from Fox Glacier (DOC)
Close to an old gold mining settlement - 8 sites
Dunedin and Central Otago
information from Dunedin City Council.
St Bathans Domain
, St Bathans Recreation Reserve (DOC)
There are 9 tent sites at the DOC campsite
in St Bathans. (Raise a glass with the ghosts in 'Supernatural St Bathans
, St Bathans area (DOC)
Noted as an isolated campsite - 20 tent sites
Danseys Pass campsite
, 16 kms north of Naseby (DOC)
Camp by a creek on one of the 6 tent sites
Lindis Pass Historic Hotel campsite
Camp among the remains of the Lindis Pass Hotel - 6 tent sites
Freedom camping sites
in Central Otago - non self contained vehicles are welcome at sites that have onsite toilets like Lowburn Harbour, Bendigo, and Pinders Pond in Roxburgh.
Freedom camping sites in Southland
including Dunsdale Recreation Reserve
, Haldane (Weirs Beach
) and Orepuki (Monkey Island
Thicket Burn campsite
, 25km west of Clifden (DOC)
There are 20 tent sites
at Thicket Burn, it's located 5km from New Zealand's deepest lake - Lake Hauroko.
Comments to date: 8. Page 1 of 1.
Avoid Kakanui, Campbell's Bay, Waitaki district. Freedom campers not welcomed.
No free campsites I know of but DOC has Kinloch Campsite 27km from Glenorchy for $6 per adult per night.
Mrs Woolly's in Glenorchy is advertised at $30 for 2 per night.
For some reason I can't put in web addresses but they're found easily via Google. Hope this helps.
Love the website but is there any campsites in glenorcy
south island free campsites be great
Vancouver - Grant
We freedom camped in a decalled Self-Contained RV right on the edge of Lake Taupo not far from the Marina. There are two parking lots. Only one has the sign for Freedom Camping.
Admin: Thanks Grant, the sites are on Ferry Road I believe. I've amended the Taupo information above to include those and other sites listed on Great Lake Taupo's website about freedom camping.
Thanks Jeremy, I added a link to DOC in there.
Dickeys Flat campground has been taken over by DOC and is no longer free. still a great site
Just to advise that your comment on Motunau Beach being a "Free Camp" is wrong. The Motunau Beach Ratepayers have maintained the area and charge $10 per night for a family site. No power on site but clean water and toilets are in the camp area.
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