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Nestling in one tiny corner of the world, New Zealand is a strikingly beautiful country of magical proportions. It's jaw-dropping beauty, and picturesque terrain is a must on every traveler's bucket list. The kiwi land is also famous for adventure sports and other recreational activities. You can indulge in bird watching, wildlife safari, hiking, trekking, and lots more.

Due to New Zealand's pristine landscape, Wild Camping or Freedom Camping as it is locally known as is one of the most popular activities among adventure travelers. It is basically pulling off by the side of the road and camping out the night amongst the scenic wilderness of the region. This could be in a car, a tent, or a Campervan.

Camping in New Zealand

People flock to New Zealand to find peace among nature. A perfect way to find tranquility in solitude or in groups is to set up a wild camp among such magnificent flora and fauna. Here are the best places for wild camping in New Zealand.

1. Scenic lake views at Matauri Bay


There is an enormous number of holiday parks and campsites at Matauri Bay which offers affordable camping. It is a popular spot for activities like deep-sea diving and swimming. It is quite a hit among families as the holiday park is easily accessible and provides the right safety measures. The main attraction is the scenic beach view. Pitching your tent around the beach with your better half makes the lake view even more captivating and romantic.

2. Kayaking in Urupukapuka Bay


Kayaking is one of the better-known adventure sports in the country. It has earned great popularity at Urupukapuka Bay camping site over time. Every year, tourists flock here for camping and taking part in some great beach sports activities. Hiring a motorhome to such a vista is a great idea for those who want to go camping and experience a wilderness vibe.

3. Exploring the unexplored at Poukaraka Flats, Waiheke Island


The Poukaraka Flats Campground is vehicle accessible campground that offers all your necessary campsite amenities. It boasts of a rich history of Maori culture and European settlement dating back to the early 1600s. This child-friendly biodiversity hotspot attracts a lot of bird watchers too.

Untapped bays and inlets around the region make it a heaven for the thrill-seeking kayakers to explore. Parking your Campervan along the beach is an excellent option for relaxation and rejuvenation.

4. Snorkeling at Matai Bay Campsite


Adventure geeks love this place because of the extraordinary snorkeling opportunity. This white sand beach bay offers a bunch of other water sports activities other than snorkeling which excites most water lovers. Moreover, as it has a campsite, you can save enough money on lodging, which you can later end up splurging on water-based adrenaline filled activities.

5. Trekking at Fantail Bay


The pristine sandy beach at Fantail Bay also boasts of lush green Pohutukawa trees along its periphery. It makes for a stunning view of the ocean for campers. The beach is ideal for swimming during the day and throwing in a bonfire with a barbeque at night. There are walking tracks around the beach that would interest trekkers and hikers.

Best time to Visit New Zealand for wild camping


According to the geographical records, summer temperature in New Zealand averages at 20-25 degree Celsius. The best months to explore wild camping opportunities is from March to June. The region is dry and sunny during the summers, which makes it very conducive to camping. However, camping during monsoons and winters are usually given a miss. The surroundings become patchy and chilly from July to January, respectively.

What are the ways to Wild Camp in New Zealand?


There are two ways you can Freedom Camp or Wild Camp in New Zealand. Both have a particular set of guidelines that you should keep in mind.

Self Contained Vehicle

You can choose to camp out in a Motorhome or Campervan. If you are camping out in a Campervan, your vehicle must meet the 'Caravan Self Contained Vehicle Standard.' That is an NZSF 5465 Certificate issued for the vehicle with an appropriate blue sticker to show for it. This suggests you must equip your Campervan with:

  • A functioning toilet
  • Freshwater storage capability for at least 3 days
  • Wastewater storage capability for at least 3 days
  • Trash bin with a lid

Now that you have obtained a certified camper van, you are free to camp around District Council Land & Department of Conservation Land (DOC) Land. However, the rules and regulations about wild camping vary according to a specific council or DOC land. For instance, some districts will not allow freedom camping within a 1-kilometer radius of the town, or you may not have permission to camp for more than 1 night in your van. You can obtain reliable information regarding where you can camp on the local council's website.

Non-Self Contained Vehicle

If you are camping in a tent or a Campervan without 'Self Contained Vehicle Certificate,' then you need to shack up at a designated site that allows freedom camping for only non-self contained vehicles. These are free campsites with a parking lot and a toilet nearby. This definitely restricts your campsite options as compared to a certified Campervan.

Overall, you have the right to enjoy the beauty of the country provided you act responsibly and cause no harm to the environment.

Conclusion

Since wild camping is usually filled with road trips, roof racks on your Campervan or Motorhome solves luggage storage issues. Also, essentials like mosquito repellents, tents, disposal baskets, gloves, water bottles, first aid kits, sunscreen are a must when you are so close to untamed nature.

New Zealand is the best place to channel the wanderlust in you. The land of the great white cloud - as the Maori's popularly call it, has a lot to offer thrill seekers, families, and couples alike.
Kalyan Panja Kalyan Panja Author

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