If you’re on a budget but travelling is your life, packing up and hitting the road for a classic Kiwi road trip is a great way to get out of town and see some of the beautiful NZ scenery. There are quite a few ways to take on an adventure, but one that has become increasingly popular amongst both NZ and foreign tourists is freedom camping.
So what is freedom camping?
Simply put, freedom camping is when you pop up a tent or park up a campervan in areas that have not been assigned for camping. It is important that you follow signage and do not try to camp in areas that DOC have mapped out as prohibited, restricted or protected. Usually these areas do not have basic facilities (water, toilets etc.) so if you are going to camp here, it is important for you, the locals and the environment that you follow some simple rules and leave the location better than you found it.
Where can you freedom camp?
According to the DOC website, freedom camping is permitted on public conservation land, except in areas where it is expressly prohibited or restricted to self contained vehicles. This is indicated by signage.
If you’re freedom camping in a vehicle that is not self contained, we recommend trying to park as close to public bathrooms as possible.
The basic rules
- Obey any signage indicating you are in a restricted or prohibited area or that you cannot park overnight
- Do a little research – some areas are for self contained vehicles as there is no access to facilities
- Reduce your waste and make sure you take all your rubbish away with you – let’s keep NZ green
- If you are in an area close to residential homes, be weary of your noise levels
Basically, don’t be a dick about it. Clean up after yourselves and be respectful of the area you are staying in.
- Water – lots of it
- Toilet paper and bug spray
- Practical things – gas cooker, torch, washing line, portable speakers, cooking utensils, fold out chairs, towel
- Rubbish bags or something to discard your waste in to until you can find a rubbish bin
- Snacks, snacks and more snacks
- Pillows, sleeping bags and an additional blanket – if you’re parked up by the water, it can be colder during the early hours of the morning