Responsible freedom camping is a popular choice for some visitors to New Zealand; but while it is free of charge, it is not free of responsibility.

Responsible freedom camping in New Zealand is considered camping in a tent, campervan or motor vehicle on public land, on a site with minimal or no facilities, such as toilets or showers.

There are over 500 responsible freedom camping locations in New Zealand and freedom campers must follow some basic rules and regulations when staying overnight.

Find out how to protect New Zealand and get the most out of your freedom camping holiday. 

Rules for freedom camping in New Zealand

Dispose of rubbish responsibly

Respect the environment by taking away all waste, ensuring you leave the camping area clean for those who come afterwards.


Keep New Zealand clean

Always use a public toilet or toilet in your vehicle. Apps such CamperMate(opens in new window) can help you find the nearest toilets. 

Protect our environment

Use recycling facilities whenever they are available to help protect our environment.

Waste disposal station

If travelling in a motorhome, you must empty your toilet and waste water at designated dump station. Look for signage or check where a nearby station is(opens in new window).

Find freedom camping places in New Zealand

Department of Conservation Freedom Camping

Find all the best freedom camping spots in the country on the Department of Conservation freedom camping(opens in new window) website. 


Rankers Camping NZ App

Read independent reviews from other travellers and discover 1,500 camping locations throughout New Zealand with Rankers' offline map(opens in new window) - no need for WiFi!

Download for Apple(opens in new window) | Download for Android(opens in new window)

Campermate App

Download the free Campermate(opens in new window) app to find campsites, toilets and waste stations. It also includes lots of other helpful information such as tips from other travelers and areas with WiFi access.

Download for Apple(opens in new window) | Download for Android(opens in new window)

Staying safe when freedom camping

While New Zealand is a safe place to travel around, it is important to be aware of your surroundings and think carefully before camping in secluded areas.

Things to know before you go

It's wise to make sure you know these important things before starting your freedom camping adventure 

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