Where to Camp
There are a number of different camping ground and campsite options in New Zealand. The one(s) you choose will depend on the type of campervan or motorhome you hire, how far you like to go away from civilisation and how much you’re prepared to pay.
Even though one of the best things about a New Zealand campervan holiday is getting away from it all and finding your own little piece of paradise, research tells us that most campervan tourists in New Zealand actually overnight at camping grounds most of the time. Our advice is to choose a mix of accommodation. Camping grounds provide excellent facilities (and are particularly useful when you’ve been freedom camping for a few days and need to do laundry, empty your waste tanks etc), while freedom camping, or the other options such as Native Parks or DOC campsites, will give you a more ‘away from it all’ experience.
Freedom camping in New Zealand
We’ve been told that some campervan companies are irresponsibly telling their customers that it’s OK to freedom camp anywhere in New Zealand. This is not the case. If you want to freedom camp, you’ll need to do two things:
1) Make sure you hire a self-contained campervan or motorhome;
2) Do your research and make sure you only camp in spots where it’s OK to do so.
New Zealand camping grounds
We suggest you check out the Rankers website for their excellent map of all camping areas in New Zealand (commercial and free camping spots). Here’s a link to the map. You’ll also find reviews of camping grounds so you can read what others have to say about a camping ground before you choose to stay there.
And don’t forget to return to the Rankers website after your trip to post your own reviews, so other travellers can learn from your experience!