Camping in New Zealand is a tradition that dates back to the early years of European settlement. Each year, thousands of New Zealand families unlock their motorhome or pack up their tent and sleeping bags, grab the barbeque, fishing rods and hiking boots and head off to their favourite camping spot in New Zealand. And it’s not hard to see why. Within an hour's drive of most places where Kiwis live are camping sites nestled in idyllic locations - on the shore of a white sandy beach, the edge of a lake or rainforest or close by geothermal hot pools. New Zealand is the ultimate camping destination.
Experience Camping in New Zealand by Motorhome
Holidaying in a motorhome is the best way to experience the great camping-in-New-Zealand phenomenon. You're in control of the wheel so you’ve got choices. You can either follow a detailed itinerary mapped out before leaving home or be spontaneous. For all but the two weeks after Christmas and holiday weekends over summer, campground reservations are not usually required for camping in New Zealand.
New Zealand is home to some of the best campgrounds in the world. Most are in breath-taking locations, have quality amenities, and are great places to meet fellow travellers. In some regions, you can wild camp in places where wild camping is permitted. Camping at a place you never knew about until you got there is one of the best ways to experience our country. For many of us, it’s the memory of those places that will stay with you forever.
You have four main options when it comes to camping in New Zealand: Commercial campgrounds or motorhome parks, Department of Conservation (DOC) and Regional Park campsites, and wild or freedom camping. These vary in location, amenities, and density of campers. Once you have read about what each offers you'll have a better idea about your personal preferences. Most Wilderness adventurers opt for a mix of camping styles spending a couple of nights in a remote site (either at a DOC campsite or wild camping) then head back to civilization to top up the batteries and provisions.
All types of camping in New Zealand have their merits and either way you'll be among Kiwis and their friends. Because all Wilderness campervans and motorhomes are certified self-contained (a requirement for wild camping in many regions), all options are possible – you decide. Our vehicles meet the ablutionary and sanitary needs of the occupants for at least three days, are equipped with water storage tanks for drinking and cooking and have waste water holding tanks.
Wherever you choose to camp, you can be sure of two things - your chosen spot will be beautiful and your Wilderness motorhome will have no trouble getting you there.
Where to Camp
Before you leave home, we recommend you download the WildernessNZ app on your mobile device. The app is available for FREE on Apple App Store and on Google Play (if you are using your iPad, make sure you search for the iPhone version of the app on the App Store). This GPS-based app is an essential travel companion for any New Zealand explorer. As well as showing locations of holiday parks, conservation campsites, and designated freedom campsites, the app shows public dump stations, public toilets, gas stations, supermarkets and much more.
If you prefer the traditional map book, you’ll find a great camping in New Zealand atlas in your Wilderness campervan which has detailed maps covering the whole country. It also contains over 1100 motorhome parks and campsites plus dump stations so it will be an invaluable resource while you’re on the road.
Finding the Best Spots for Camping in New Zealand
In 2014, we rolled our own New Zealand Camping directory exclusively for Wilderness hirers. The WilderNessts Camping Directory lists the best 100 locations to camp and detailed descriptions of why each is special. If you want to experience the wilderness of New Zealand, we recommend you take a WilderNessts Camping Directory with you.
Find out more about the WilderNessts