Law of the Land: Where are you allowed to park a campervan in New Zealand

New Zealand is a land of natural wonders. With a reputation for exquisite landscapes, untouched natural attractions, and a welcoming wilderness, the country is a haven for campervan enthusiasts, where stunning scenery is reached within steps away from your very own mobile accommodation.

Campervans are home on wheels that provide you with transport and accommodation at the same time. Get to park in the most stunning of settings, and revel in all the beauty New Zealand has to offer.

Pick up your campervan and get ready to hit the road and the beautiful wonders of the country. Here is a guide to places and locations where you can park your campervan, and what to expect.

Freedom camping is permitted on many public conservation lands in the country except for places expressly marked and indicated by signage. Other options are holiday parks and Department of Conservation campsites where you can book a spot for a small fee.


Holiday parks

Holiday parks are privately-owned parks or resorts where they offer powered sites for campervans. They offer amenities that are typically found in private parks, such as accommodation, shared kitchen, bathrooms with hot showers, laundry facilities, and flush toilets. Some even have playgrounds for kids, swimming pools, picnic areas, games rooms, a recreation center, and entertainment facilities. On-site restaurants and cafes also exist in some of these parks.

While the fees are usually on the high end of the spectrum, you get what you pay for. These are great options if you’re traveling with kids, as they offer convenience and recreation. If you’re on the road for weeks on end, staying at a holiday park every few days is a recommended activity. You can catch up on your laundry, have a hot shower, recharge your supplies, and other conveniences afforded by a private campervan park.


Department of Conservation campsites

The DoC maintains about 200 campsites all over the country. These sites are located on government-owned land, with some having the most stunning views you will ever see. Most of the sites require a fee but some sites are free of charge. The DoC has also categorized these campsites depending on the amenities available.

Services campsites by the DoC usually have flush toilets, hot showers, camp kitchens, rubbish bins, and laundry facilities.

Scenic campsites are highly sought-after because they are located within beautiful locations and scenic areas. These campsites typically have basic services.

Standard campsites have toilets, vehicle or boat access, showers, a cooking shelter, and have water supply from a lake or stream.

Basic campsites by the DoC have basic toilets and water that’s not from a tap. These sites are free of charge.


Freedom camping

Freedom campsites in new zealand are typically are where campervans can park, but the locations usually have basic facilities or none at all. Only self-contained vehicles are legally allowed to park in freedom camping areas.

Freedom camping is permitted on many public conservation lands in the country but you can’t just camp wherever you want. Each region has its own rules and these sites are usually marked by signage. Conservation land where freedom camping is not allowed are also usually expressly marked, indicated by signage.

If you can’t find a freedom camping site at a certain area, you can ask around as local knowledge is key to uncovering hidden gems in a locality. You can also ask fellow campers for sites they know of.

Environmental responsibility is high in New Zealand and they have a “Leave No Trace” mentality. When you camp in these sites, always make sure you leave the area as you found it, with no traces of trash or any sign that you were actually there.


Park Over Property

Park over property or also known as POP is found all over New Zealand. This is a small network of properties that are privately-owned where self-contained campervans can stay for a fee. These properties are usually farms, historic sites, golf parks, or local businesses that are registered with the New Zealand Motor Caravan Association.


Top campervan sites in new zealand you shouldn’t miss

If you’re planning on your great New Zealand campervan adventure and don’t have a list of sites and regions to visit, then knowing the top sites for campervans is your best bet to making sure you don’t miss out on what the country has to offer.

With hundreds of areas to choose from, it can be difficult to plan the best itinerary for your campervan adventure. Luckily, we’ve rounded up some of the most breathtaking and incredible parks, holiday parks, and sites where you can camp your campervan all across the country. While we do understand that there are countless incredible options out there, we’ve rounded up the top 3 campervan sites for each category: From holiday parks to DoC managed sites, to the best freedom camping areas you can find.

Let’s begin with the best holiday parks for campervans in New Zealand.


Top holiday parks for campervans

Solscape in Raglan

If you’re looking for an eco-friendly and sustainable park, then Soslcape in Raglan is the top choice. Raglan is one of the most famous surf spots in New Zealand and it’s a great place to learn to surf as well as enjoy epic waves for those who already know a thing or two above riding the waves.

The site is also a short walk to Manu Bay and Ngarunui Beach if you’re looking for other beach options, or more diversity when it comes to your beach escapades.

The site is a holiday park with accommodations and amenities that include a cafe and a powered van site. It is nestled on 10 acres of land on the foothills of mt. Kairoi, giving you spectacular views of the Tasman Sea.

The park offers composting toilets and solar showers, staying true to its eco-friendly philosophy.



Hokitika’s Kiwi Holiday Park and Motels

This holiday park is located on the south island’s west coast, in the town of Hokitika. They have 8 spots for powered sites, complete with bathrooms and hot showers, as well as laundry facilities. The park itself features spacious grounds and modern facilities, such as complimentary WiFi, a covered BBQ area, a playground for kids, and the site is also within walking distance to the town center, as well as a beautiful beach.

If you’re looking for a modern campervan site that has all the facilities you need to ensure a convenient stay, then Hokitika’s Kiwi Holiday Park and Motels is the best option for you.



Jackson’s Retreat Alpine Holiday Park

Jackson’s retreat alpine holiday park is located in Canterbury, and it’s one of the most breathtaking holiday parks in the country. It is set within a historic rainforest featuring stunning walking trails and boasts of being the only campervan park on the great alpine highway.

It’s quite a further-away destination than the previous two locations we mentioned earlier, but its stunning location is truly worth it. The campervan site features all the amenities you need, such as hot showers, laundry facilities, toilets, water supply, and the like. But what makes this site a must-visit for campervans is its beautiful surroundings.

Parking here gives you epic views of the South Alps and the Taramakau River, where you can enjoy bird watching on site, hiking, and even fishing. There’s even a waterfall on-site that you can explore.

If you want a retreat in nature, then Jackson’s Retreat is the best campervan site for you.



Top doc campervan sites you need to visit

Fletcher’s Bay Campsite

The Fletcher’s Bay Campsite by the DoC is a beautiful beachfront site in a farm setting. Located on the northern Coromandel, the site offers basic facilities that include toilets, showers, and a water supply for non-powered sites. What makes this site incredible is the wide range of activities that you can enjoy in the surrounding areas.

You can enjoy a range of water sports activities such as fishing, swimming, and walking the coromandel coastal walkway. With a beautiful setting and plenty of recreational activities, Fletcher’s Bay campsite is perfect for those looking for outdoor activities with incredible sights.



Tapotupotu Camping Ground

The Tapotupotu camping ground is located in the Aupouri peninsula, on Cape Reinga. It is the northernmost campervan campsite in the country, and it features basic facilities, such as toilets and cold showers. Its location is something else, with a beautiful and quiet sandy beach, this is the place for the ultimate relaxation, coupled with recreational activities that range from swimming to hiking to snorkeling, and surfing.



Andrews Shelter Campsite

Andrews shelter campsie is located on the south island, within 30 minutes from Arthur’s Pass National Park. It’s quite a challenge to reach this site, which is nestled on the foothills of the central mountains. Its facilities are basic with a public toilet and a covered sheltered area, only about 15 to 20 spots are found here, which means you’ll have to get there early to secure a spot. While it’s limited and quite a challenge to get to, the reward is surely worth it. You will be greeted with beautiful views of the mountains and the nearby Arthur’s Pass once you get there.



Top freedom camping sites in New Zealand that’s absolutely free

Owhiro Bay in Wellington

Owhiro Bay is located on the north island and located at the entrance of red rocks – Pariwhero Reserve, which is a spot beloved by locals. There are only 8 spots in Owhiro Bay, with basic facilities that include 2 flush toilets, drinking water, and epic views of the bay. And as an added bonus, a coffee truck parks here every morning for your cup of joe with a side of stunning Owhiro Bay scenery.



Kingston Campsite in Lake Wakatipu

Kingston campsite in lake Wakatipu is close to Queenstown, where campervan sites are strictly prohibited. Luckily, Kingston campsite is only 30 minutes away from Queenstown, where you can enjoy the beauty of the town, the gorgeous lake, as well as the towering views of the mountains nearby, without breaking any laws.

There are no facilities on the campsite, which means it is only a spot or location to park your campervan. The site is elevated on a 100-meter hill, on a sloped grassy parking area. While it can get muddy, the views at the top are definitely spectacular.


Pump Track Parking lot in north island’s Napier

Don’t let the name fool you. Though this site is a “Parking Lot,” it has basic facilities that include 2 flush toilets, a dump station, fresh water tap, ocean-side views, and walking trails. Views of the Pacific Ocean and Hawkes Bay are its claim to fame. When the sun sets, the skies are a beautiful shade of oranges and reds as you sit by your campervan, and revel in the beauty that New Zealand has to offer. The site is also only 20 minutes to Napier, which is the cultural hub of Hawkes Bay.

A campervan adventure in New Zealand is something that every traveler must experience. An adventure that bridges the gap between raw, natural beauty and convenience, take your pick from these beautiful campsites for your next great campervan adventures in this grand Pacific nation.


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