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Camping in New Zealand

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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.

Camping Styles

You have several main options when it comes to camping in New Zealand: Commercial campgrounds or motorhome parks, Department of Conservation (DOC) and Regional Park campsites, Campable sites 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.

Because all Wilderness motorhomes are certified self-contained (a requirement for almost all camping sites except commercial campgrounds), 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.

Most Wilderness adventurers opt for a mix of camping styles spending a couple of nights in a rural or remote site then head back to civilisation 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.

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.

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Where to Camp

Before you leave home, we recommend you download the Campable app on your mobile device. The app is for FREE on Apple App Store and on Google Play.

Campable is a new concept that gives motorhome travellers a unique experience of New Zealand. For the first time, you can stay at private properties around the country getting up close to Kiwi life. Campable sites include working farms, vineyards, beaches and country resorts plus much more. The sites are usually more secure than freedom camping sites because they’re on private property. At many of the sites, you can interact with the Kiwi owner and have a truly Kiwi experience. Read more.

Freedom Camping the Wilderness Way

Finding the Best Spots for Camping in New ZealandIn 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 Camping Directory.

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.

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