Freedom Camping and Route Planning

nz-campervan-no-camping“Freedom camping has been outlawed in New Zealand.” These were the upsetting words I heard so long ago that I have forgotten their source. The words which have seen me frustrated, looking at holiday parks which cost around £20 for a single night and wondering how on Earth I was actually going to be able to fund this trip. And also thinking I would miss out on views like this:

Click for the link to Adventure Journal

Click for the link to Adventure Journal

Oh internet, for I assume it was you, how you failed me with your false words. Now I know it to be true that ‘freedom camping’ or wild camping is perfectly legal! Granted, it is preferred that you are in a self-contained vehicle but it is not a necessity. There are just new laws intended to fine those who ignored the existing guidelines. Read on to discover my findings.

I stumbled across a helpful website on About Travel, which pointed me in the direction of a few further sources to corroborate their story.

It would seem that some areas seek to discourage freedom camping due to some of the negative connotations. Many councils do still issue on the spot fines and try to move you on but it would seem that they are acting outside of their jurisdiction. The DOC (Department of Conservation) website offers the most valuable resource, with lists and maps of areas where freedom camping actually is prohibited (or restricted). All other public land is, therefore, fair game.

So, will I freedom camp every night to keep costs down?

In a word, no. Though I would love to indulge every now and then. Why? Well, I am a sociable creature for the first and I think that I would enjoy the company of a warmshowers host or that of a group of fellow back/bike packers. Secondly, it’s just not the best for the environment… or my health. With no amenities, I will have to bring every single thing I need with me and take every trace of myself away with me too. I love these pictures from (another brilliant website) Hippie Camper! I definitely want to conserve the environment whilst I am away.

Freedom Camping Guidelines by Hippie Camper New Zealand

Freedom Camping Guidelines by Hippie Camper New Zealand

So what’s the plan? With the help of The Curious Kiwi’s website, I have found a few viable options and am also hoping to hear back from a couple of hosts who might be able to help me out. There is an excellent hostel, Oparau Roadhouse, which offers free pitching for campers, who are permitted to use the on-site facilities. I hope to arrive there on New Year’s Eve, ditching the original plan of Kawhia where the campsite are yet to respond.

With a little luck, the festive leg will look a little like this:

Auckland to Oparau

With stops in:

Auckland airport – hotel (last luxury for a tired traveller)

Waiuku – Warm Showers (fingers crossed)

Port Waikato – Freedom camping!?!

Raglan – Warm Showers/Hostel

Oparau – free camping at the Roadhouse?

Lots more planning to go and I am hoping that this Rankers App is really going to help me plan. It has every campsite in NZ listed (apparently). What a find!

It’s only 200 miles (or will be by the time I’ve got lost a few times), a mere 5% of my journey but I am sure it is set to be pretty challenging! There are many cyclists who could easily tough this out in a day or two at the most but I must remind you, I’m a complete novice and will be carrying all of my things. This is going to be HARD for me. Have you looked at the elevation map? I am not making this easy for myself.

At this stage, it would really give me a boost to see a little more sponsorship coming through. Please think of me, tell your friends and sponsor me for my amazing cause, Emilie’s Charities.


Elisha x


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