Freedom camping or free camping is ‘still’ legal in New Zealand. However, because of the thoughtless actions of many campers, including those using campervans, the dumping of human waste and garbage, often near our waterways, is becoming a national issue. Unless the proper disposal facilities are utilised, freedom camping may soon become illegal, and that would be a great pity. New Zealand’s Information Network asks that everyone please do the right thing.
One of the first rules regarding freedom camping is to ensure that you have the right to overnight in the spot you choose. If you are in the country and you see a nearby farmhouse and you are not sure if that nice little spot by the river is on public or private land. Go and ask if it is okay to spend the night there. You will find that most people are friendly and willing to help. They may suggest a better spot or in some cases invite you to overnight on their farm, or direct you on to another suitable area.
Please note that parking campervans or motorhomes overnight in city streets, sports fields car parks, civic or business carparks such as supermarkets and department stores is frowned upon. Local Police or security patrols employed by councils and many businesses may move you on. In some areas fines may be imposed.