I am planning to rent a campervan during a 1-month trip to New Zealand (South Island) which is self-contained, however, does not come with a shower. I wonder whether it is ok to use a solar shower while camping at Department of Conservation or other camp grounds? I strictly do not intend to use any shampoo or other chemicals while showering (I plan on taking proper showers every few days when staying at private camp sites with proper shower facilities).

I am asking because I intend to get deep into the back country for fly fishing where there are not always camp facilities with showers available.

2 Answers 2


DOC has different levels of camp sites from fully serviced though to the most basic. A few (eg Totaranui and Whites bay) have cold showers, and many of these have a rope and hooks for hanging a solar showers for those who prefer warm water.

For the basic sites you will most likely be visiting, especially the less busy and more remote ones, it is common to use a solar shower hung in a tree. Provided you do so well away from water courses. Its also common to use biodegradable soap, although its debatable if it is acceptable. Even at busy DOC camps, family groups often setup shower tents at the edge of their campsite that just drain onto the ground - although the acceptability of this varies between camp sites.

If you work within the principles of LNT you certainly won't run foul of regulations or what is considered acceptable. Do expect to see behavior you find less than desirable e.g. washing with soap in rivers, cleaning teeth at water supply taps. Although New Zealand is relativity 'clean and green', many of the tourists (local and international) are, putting it bluntly, ignorant pigs.


It looks like the answer is yes as they are one of the recommended items to bring as a camp host.

Solar shower – there are cold water showers available

Camp host information for Kenepuru Head

Beyond that, solar showers are mentioned by several reviews of the campgrounds.

The showers are set up to hang your solar shower and conveniently located in every bay. Because this is part of the Great Walk as well, trampers have their own handy sites available almost right on the beach.


Excellent DOC Campground We stayed there for a week with two small kids - really enjoyed the place and the surrounding Abel Tasman National park. Plenty of things to do also with kids :-). If you prefer warm showers bring your solar shower - and plenty of sunscreen and anti sandfly magic!



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