Basically this question, only for New Zealand (both islands).

I know that the Freedom Camping Act exists, which basically allows camping everywhere unless it's forbidden.

So, where is it actually forbidden? Is there a list? Or are local municipalities not making use of this possibility to restrict wild camping?

By camping I mean using a tent in combination with a non-motorized vehicle like a bicycle or legs. I understand that RV's/campers might have different rules.

2 Answers 2


Generally, places where it is forbidden there is good signage, or it is a place where it is not surprising to be forbidden.

Generally, it seemed that random stretches of highway would be posted, but just a mile or two down the road would be a spectacular place to pull over and hang out.

Additionally, many parks have areas in which camping is prohibited or restricted, but there would invariably be plenty of other places in which to camp, so it was never a big surprise. The NZ Dept. of Conservation website has a pretty good listing of where camping is prohibited or restricted. Many of the popular areas mandate staying at the huts, others are pretty relaxed, the DoC site will indicate which is which.

Overall, New Zealand is a pretty awesome place and if you just freestyle it, plan on free-camping but do no detailed planning, you won't have any problems. Rent one of those campervans or RVs and you'll have a blast.

  • agree whole-heartedly,Zealand is a fantastic place to visit.Already saving up to go again ! Commented Apr 3, 2015 at 11:21
  • Oct 2017 update: The court has determined restricting Freedom camping to CSC vehicles is lawful. Now freedom camping in non-CSC vehicles is effectively banned or restricted to a few locations in some districts. Signage probably will not exist except at problem locations and cannot be relied on. Lack of signage cannot be used as a defense against in infringement notice ($200 fine)
    – user5330
    Commented Oct 2, 2017 at 21:17

To clarify terms - in New Zealand Wild camping is not a widely used term. If you are to use it here, people will interpret it as back country camping (well away from roads). Freedom camping is used as a term for camping outside of designated camp sites. If by wild camping, you mean road accessible, unserviced camp site in a remote location, New Zealanders refer to this simply as camping.

The freedom camping act does not distinguish between vehicle supported, RV and Tent based camping. There is a recognised standard for Self Containment for RV's - commonly referred to as Certified Self Containment (CSC). Camping close to roads is now widely restricted to RV's with CSC - in effect freedom camping is severely restricted unless you have an RV with CSC. In some areas freedom camping is practically banned as its limited to a very few location. Most Local Authorities have $200 fines for breaking the rules, and its commonly enforced (often in the early hours of the morning before sunrise).

If you want to camp in remote, unserviced camp sites, DOC has a large number, typically $6 /per person per night - often with very limited facilities. There are a lot of other places where its allowed and a number of low cost camp-sites offering basic facilities and safe, legal camping.

A good web site for detailed information of places to stay and the rules around them, visit Rankers.co.nz

Where you are well away from roads, on a vast majority of DOC administered land camping is acceptable.

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