Best places for freedom camping in New Zealand

Bryn Parish
New Zealand - Punga Tree by Bryn Parish

NEW ZEALAND There are more than 500 locations that allow for freedom camping in New Zealand. On these sites, you can camp in your campervan, tent, or car. The land is public and has minimal facilities, including a toilet. While camping is free, you need to ensure that you abide by the rules of the site. Some general rules, however, include responsible disposal of rubbish, use of recycling facilities, disposal of waste in a dump station, and use of public toilets or campervan toilets. Here are some of the best places for freedom camping in New Zealand.

New Zealand – Punga Tree by Bryn Parish

1. Orangihikoia Campsite

Are you a fan of fishing? What about hunting? And mountain biking and hiking? If your answer to any of these questions is an astounding “YES,” then the Orangihikoia Campsite should be on your freedom camping bucket list. The site is located near Lake Waikaremoana, and the Te Taita O Makora campground is south of it. You can access the site through a winding road that is long and narrow, so you will need to drive keenly. Some convenient amenities include water supply and public toilets. You will enjoy the view of the mountains as you soak in their soothing winds.

2. Waikawa Campsite

Camping in a forest comes with its unique perks. For instance, the Waikawa Campsite offers a chance for birdwatching due to its strategic location inside Tararua Forest. All sorts of bird species can be observed, but the most prominent ones include fantails, bellbirds, kakariki, riflemen, tui, and whiteheads. You might notice the small size of the campsite, but there are 15 campgrounds in total, which offer sufficient space. Swimming and hiking are some of the other interesting activities you can experience here. And for amenities, clean toilets and fresh water are available, just what every freedom camper seeks.

3. Mavora Lakes Campsite

This wouldn’t be a freedom camping site list without the mention of a lake. Now would it? Mavora lakes offer a wide assortment of activities besides swimming, of course. Some include trout fishing, boating, hiking, tramping, walking, mountain biking, and others. And if you want to enjoy a picnic on the grounds, there are BBQs, picnic tables, and fire spots for cooking. Public toilets are also available.

4. Twenty Five Mile Stream

Another campsite located near a lake is the Twenty Five Mile Stream. Lake Wakatipu ensures you can enjoy the cool sea breeze and the stunning view of nearby mountains. It is near Queenstown and Arrowtown, where you can get your supplies. But it has no public toilet, which should not be a drawback if your campervan is self-contained. Whether you like to fish, kayak, or swim, the lake offers you the chance to indulge yourself.


To consider

While Mavora Lakes and Twenty Five Mile Stream offer unique lake activities, Wakawa Campsite provides birdwatching, and Orangihikoia Campsite offers scenic mountain views. If you are looking for ground zero on your freedom camping trip, Twenty Five Mile Stream is perfect. And remember that freedom camping responsibly is important for the environment and the locals. Happy freedom camping!

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