The best thing about being in a campervan is the fact that you are pretty self sufficient. Bedroom, kitchen, and car, all in one. What could be better? And when you see a great sunset over the ocean, the natural thing to do is park for the night, knowing that the early morning waves are going to be perfect for a surf.
New Zealand is kind enough to allow its happy travellers to ‘freedom camp' in some areas. That means you get to park your campervan at several sites around the country, at no cost. All New Zealand asks in return for camping in these areas is that you ‘camp with a conscience’ – following the guidelines to ensure beautiful natural spaces are preserved for a long time.
Hire company Hippie Camper encourages its guests to use this online map to find the best places for freedom camping around New Zealand.
The guidelines on freedom camping are fairly straightforward:
1. Don’t litter – use the bins provided.
2. Recycle where possible and use the correct bin.
3. Use designated toilet and shower facilities only. If there aren’t any, use your vehicle’s onboard showers and toilets if possible.
4. Only dump grey water and toilet waste at designated dump stations.
5. Don’t wash yourself or your clothes in any rivers or lakes.
6. If you’re in doubt about whether you can camp in a specific spot (such as there are no signs), then ask at an i-SITE, department of Conservation visitor centre or Holiday Park.
7. Check out the NZ’s official site for camping information.
It’s important to take the guidelines seriously because the New Zealand Government allows local councils to issue on-the-spot fines to campers who breach them. Make the most of freedom camping on your road trip – but do your part to make sure that the travellers who follow you can also enjoy the country’s natural beauty.