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Freedom Camping

Updated: Sep 17, 2020

Te Ngaere Bay, Northland

The climate we enjoy makes it an attractive destination for campervans and motorhomes roaming around our beautiful Far North.

While small vans without toilet facilities on board and ordinary campers with tents need the facilities of camping grounds, fully equipped (and certified) vehicles can go for “Freedom Camping”.

New Zealand’s Freedom Camping Act 2011 permits freedom camping in any local authority area unless it is restricted or prohibited in an area (e.g. by local authorities or DOC). Obviously, respect for the environment, neighbourhood and street rules must be expected.

Some Councils have chosen to be extremely restrictive by prohibiting freedom camping in all areas other than those specifically approved, and FNDC has a policy which allows freedom camping on only 4 Reserves on an approved list. FNDC has been consulting the public about extending this list to 6 Reserves.

Vision Kerikeri prepared a submission requesting a generally permissive approach (as intended by the Act), to welcome such freedom loving travellers who spend lots of money in restaurants and shops and enjoy the numerous attractions and activities the Far North has on offer.

16 approved Reserves would be an insufficient improvement to promote this type of tourism. We also see the review as flawed, as a policy is not enforceable unlike a bylaw. Travellers will thus be uncertain about their rights. A better approach would be clear signage like “no camping” at sensitive sites to be protected.

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