Freedom Camping is the perfect way to make the most of your New Zealand motorhome holiday, and it’s the perfect way to really make the most of the natural beauty and spacious freedom that New Zealand offers. It means you can truly enjoy the scenic wonders from the comfort of your motorhome, in real peace and independence.
But before you decide to just pull up on the side of the road for the night anywhere you fancy, there are a few considerations and restrictions that you need to be aware of in New Zealand.
Unfortunately a few reckless travellers, often in low-cost campervans or cars without onboard toilet or water storage facilities, have in the past ruined it for the more responsible motorhome holiday-goers by dumping their waste (both toilet waste as well as general litter) on the side of the road.
This has led to the New Zealand government putting in place local authority legislation for Freedom Camping whereby local councils can prohibit freedom camping in specific areas and can issue instant fines of NZ$200 for any person camping in an area where there is a ‘No Camping’ sign or where campers dispose of waste inappropriately.
What can you do to obey New Zealand’s Freedom Camping laws ?
Firstly, all Pacific Horizon motorhomes are Certified Self-Contained. This means they all have onboard the ablutionary and sanitary needs of the occupants for a minimum of three (3) days without requiring any external services for discharging any waste. Fresh water for drinking and cooking is stored in tanks, while waste water is stored in a separate motorhome waste water tank for disposal at a designated motorhome dump station. A full list of New Zealand's designated public dump stations is detailed here.
In addition we ask that you respect the local surroundings when you do freedom camp. Dispose of your waste responsibly by using any publicly available rubbish and/or recycle bins, use designated dump stations for emptying your motorhome waste water tank, and freedom camp only where it is permitted to do so. That way New Zealand’s natural beauty can be enjoyed by everyone for many years to come.
And finally, to avoid any possible chance of a fine for freedom camping in a prohibited area, be sure to ask a local authority first. We recommend asking at the local Information Centre (or i-SITE). i-SITE's are found in most towns and cities throughout New Zealand and are a great source of local information. For more information about i-SITES throughout New Zealand including a nationwide map of where they are all located visit the NZ Visitor Information Centre website.
To make your motorhome holiday in New Zealand even easier, we suggest downloading CamperMate, the free New Zealand travel app. CamperMate is a GPS location-based tool for your phone or I-pad that will help you find essential facilities nearby such as dumpstations, hostels, Information centres, Campsites (both paid and free), petrol stations & supermarkets.
Find out more or download Campermate here.