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Posted on 28/09/2023 14:23 PM

From pristine beaches to rugged mountains, New Zealand's breathtaking landscapes beckon outdoor enthusiasts worldwide. For adventurers, there is no better way to immerse yourself in this natural wonderland than by camping in the great outdoors under the starry Southern Hemisphere sky.

Join us as we embark on a journey to uncover the stunning and diverse types of campsites New Zealand has to offer. Get ready to pitch your tent, park your motorhome rental, and discover the magic of camping in Aotearoa, the Land of the Long White Cloud.

Freedom camping in New Zealand refers to camping in areas without designated campsites or facilities provided by campgrounds. With a motorhome rental, you can set up temporary accommodation in various natural and scenic locations nationwide. What makes freedom camping unique is the opportunity to immerse yourself in New Zealand's stunning landscapes, from beaches to forests, without the constraints of formal campsites.

While freedom camping in New Zealand may sound 'freeing', it comes with responsibilities. The government and local authorities have established regulations to ensure this practice is sustainable and environmentally respectful. These regulations include:

  • The use of self-contained vehicles with appropriate waste disposal facilities.
  • Camping only in designated freedom camping areas or on private property with permission.
  • Following the "leave no trace" principle, cleaning up after yourself and respecting the natural surroundings.
  • Responsible camping practices involve minimising your environmental impact, respecting local communities, and ensuring that future generations can enjoy these pristine locations.

Some popular freedom camping locations include Fiordland National Park near the breathtaking Milford Sound, Abel Tasman National Park with access to the famous Abel Tasman Coast Track, and Lake Pukaki for unparalleled views of Aoraki Mount Cook.


Department of Conservation (DOC) Campsites

The Department of Conservation (DOC) in New Zealand is vital in managing and conserving the country's natural and cultural heritage. This responsibility includes overseeing a network of campsites within New Zealand's stunning national parks and conservation areas. The DOC ensures these campsites are maintained, accessible, and environmentally sustainable. They manage campgrounds to allow visitors to connect with the country's natural beauty while preserving its ecological integrity.

DOC campsites offer various camping experiences catering to different preferences and needs. These campsites can vary from basic, where you bring your equipment and rely on basic facilities like pit toilets, to serviced campsites with more amenities such as cooking shelters, running water, and flush toilets. The variety allows campers to choose their comfort level while enjoying New Zealand's wilderness.

Campsite Types - Motorhomes Parked in a Row

There are six categories of DOC campsites, with some requiring bookings online or in person:

  • Serviced campsites: These campsites provide many amenities, including flush toilets, kitchen/cooking facilities, hot showers, and rubbish collection. You can book these campsites at a DOC visitor centre.
  • Scenic campsites: Typically located in popular coastal areas, scenic campsites offer toilets and tap water supply and often feature barbecues, cold showers, and rubbish bins. You can reserve some scenic campsites in advance.
  • Standard campsites: These campsites offer a limited range of amenities, such as pit or composting toilets and water supply, and some may have cold showers, barbecues, and rubbish facilities. Standard campsites are generally available on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Basic campsites: Basic campsites are suitable for self-sufficient campers and provide basic toilet facilities and water from a tank, lake, or stream. They cannot be reserved and are subject to availability.
  • Backcountry campsites: These campsites are often located in remote areas and typically offer toilets and water supply from a stream. Some may have basic cooking facilities and picnic tables. You cannot book backcountry campsites.
  • Great Walk campsites: There are 60 Great Walk campsites along various Great Walk tracks (except Milford). These campsites provide basic facilities, including toilets and water supply. Reservations are usually required, and you can make them online.

These DOC campsites provide camping opportunities and gateways to some of New Zealand's most spectacular natural attractions.


Regional Park Camping Areas

Regional Park camping areas in New Zealand are designated sites within the country's regional parks where visitors can enjoy camping amid beautiful natural settings. These camping areas are typically well-maintained and provide essential facilities such as toilets, water sources, and picnic tables. They offer a unique opportunity to connect with nature while still having access to basic amenities, making them suitable for new and experienced campers.

New Zealand boasts a wide array of regional parks offering camping facilities. Some notable examples include Shakespear and Tāwharanui in the Auckland region, which offer stunning coastal views. Battle Hill and Kaitoke in Wellington's regional parks also offer stunning camp spots in serene, forested areas.

Regional Park camping areas offer a place to stay and access to various recreational activities. Depending on the park, you can enjoy hiking, birdwatching, fishing, swimming, and kayaking. These areas showcase New Zealand's diverse natural beauty, including rugged coastlines, lush forests, pristine lakes, and stunning mountain vistas. It's an opportunity to immerse yourself in the country's remarkable landscapes while enjoying the simplicity and tranquillity of camping.


Holiday Parks and Other Commercial Campgrounds

Holiday parks and commercial campgrounds in New Zealand offer convenient and comfortable accommodation options. Travellers can choose from unpowered or powered campsites for a traditional camping experience or opt for cabins and cottages for added comfort.

Cabins range from basic to fully equipped, with options like en-suite bathrooms and kitchenettes. This variety allows visitors to tailor their stay to their specific needs. You can often find holiday parks close to popular towns or tourist attractions.

Some popular holiday park chains include TOP 10 Holiday Parks, Holiday Parks New Zealand, and 100% Pure New Zealand. These commercial campgrounds blend convenience and outdoor adventure, making them ideal for travellers seeking comfort while immersing themselves in the country's natural beauty.



Different Types of Camping - Glamping

'Glamour camping' or glamping is a new contender that combines the camping experience with luxurious, comfortable amenities and accommodations. Unlike traditional camping, where individuals often rough it out in tents or basic camping equipment, glamping offers a more upscale and comfortable camping experience.

This campsite type is popular among individuals who want to experience the beauty of nature and the outdoors without sacrificing comfort and luxury. Glamping offers a compromise between the rusticity of traditional camping and the conveniences of a hotel or resort, making it an attractive option for those seeking a unique and relaxing outdoor getaway.

Instead of tents, glamping accommodations typically provide comfortable beds, proper insulation, and often private bathrooms. You can find a range of amenities, including electricity, heating or air conditioning, hot showers, and sometimes even gourmet meals prepared by on-site chefs.

Glamping sites are often located in beautiful and natural settings, such as forests, mountains, deserts, or near bodies of water, allowing guests to enjoy the outdoors while still having access to modern comforts. These sites typically include guided outdoor activities such as hiking, kayaking, wildlife safaris, or stargazing tours.


Tips on Camping in New Zealand

Plan Ahead

  • Seasonal Consideration: Plan your trip based on the season. New Zealand's weather can be variable, so check the weather forecast for your destination.
  • Campground Research: Research campgrounds and their amenities in advance. Some sites require reservations, especially during peak seasons.
  • Camping Passes: Consider purchasing a camping pass to visit multiple campsites. The DOC (Department of Conservation) offers passes for their sites.
  • Mobile apps: Download useful mobile applications to help you find the best camp spots on your trip throughout New Zealand. These include Camping NZ, CamperMate, Rankers, WikiCamps, Campable, and the DOC Campsite Finder.


Gear, Permits, and Reservations

  • Camping Gear: Bring essential camping gear such as a tent, sleeping bags, cooking equipment, and clothing suitable for varied weather conditions.
  • Permits: Check if your chosen campsite requires a permit. You can book them online for DOC campsites, which often require one.
  • Reservations: Make reservations for popular campsites well in advance, especially if you're visiting during the peak season.


Etiquette and Environmental Responsibility

  • Leave No Trace: Follow the principles of "Leave No Trace" by properly cleaning up, disposing of waste, and respecting the environment.
  • Respect Wildlife: Observe wildlife from a distance and avoid feeding animals. Don't disturb their natural behaviours.
  • Campfire Safety: Follow fire safety rules and use designated fire pits if available. In some areas, open fires may be prohibited.
  • Noise Control: To respect other campers, keep noise levels down, especially in the evenings.
  • Waste Management: Dispose of waste in designated bins or follow the "pack in, pack out" principle for remote camping.
  • Cultural Awareness: If camping in culturally significant areas, respect local customs and heritage.


Discover the Magic of New Zealand Campsites Today!

New Zealand offers different camping types to suit every camper's preference and needs, whether seeking the comforts of serviced sites or the adventure of backcountry camping. The stunning landscapes, pristine wilderness, and well-maintained facilities make camping in New Zealand an unforgettable experience.

As you plan your adventure, consider the convenience and flexibility of travelling in a motorhome from New Zealand Motorhomes. By renting a campervan, you can explore this breathtaking country at your own pace, taking in the natural wonders and picturesque campsites at your leisure. Don't miss the chance to embark on an epic journey through New Zealand's remarkable campsites—rent a motorhome and make your dream camping trip a reality today. Your next adventure awaits!

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