Department of Conservation (DOC) and Regional Park Campsites
Department of Conservation (DOC) Campsites
New Zealand has 14 national parks and over five million hectares of land protected in parks and reserves. Within these parks, the Department of Conservation (DOC), a government agency, manages over 250 vehicle-accessible camping areas on conservation land within these parks. Volunteers across the country help to maintain the campsites all year round so they're beautiful and clean for spending the night in your rental campervan.
Most DOC campsites have limited amenities, offering a 'back to nature' style of camping. All Wilderness motorhomes are suitable for camping at DOC campsites. Our vehicles are fully kitted out for this kind of camping with appliances and heating that work regardless of whether you are hooked up to mains power or not, long-life batteries, and ample water storage. Recently, DOC have added a limited number of serviced campsites to their offerings in some parts of New Zealand.
Every region boasts its fair share of DOC campsites which are easy to find and cost very little to park up for the night (free - $19). Facilities at DOC campsites can vary considerably depending on the category:
- Serviced campgrounds ($7-19) have flush toilets, tap water and showers, rubbish collection, picnic tables, mown grass, and access for all vehicle types as well as some powered sites. Many have barbeques or fireplaces, kitchen and laundry facilities, a shop and waste disposal sites. There is plenty of space to park your rental motorhome and often gravel paths for site-hunting.
- Standard campsites ($5-16) include toilets, water supply, mown grass and vehicle access. Facilities and services such as barbecues or fireplaces, picnic tables and rubbish collection may also be provided but, not always. Campervan access is a given.
- Backcountry campsites ($1.50 - 6) have toilets and a water supply which may be from a stream. They may have picnic tables, cooking shelters or fire places.
- Basic campsites (free) offer limited facilities so are only suitable for self-contained motorhomes like those in the Wilderness fleet. They have basic toilets and water from a tank, stream or lake.
You can save up to 70% on DOC campsite fees by purchasing a Conservation Camping Pass online.
Regional Park Campsites
Both Auckland and Wellington have regional parks with camping sites targeted at the locals who need an escape on weekends or holidays. You will find very few tourists at these parks so they are great places to meet locals.
The Auckland Council has a network of 26 regional parks across the Auckland region in bush, farmland, and seaside locations. You can stay in remote bush locations, on farms complete with animals, or in picturesque spots on one of Auckland's offshore islands. The campgrounds are very popular with the locals so if you want to see how Kiwis camp, stay at an Auckland Regional Park. They have basic facilities (drinking water and vault toilet) and fees are very inexpensive. The gates are locked at some parks from about 8pm so if you're planning to arrive late call ahead to Parksline (09 366 2000) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Greater Wellington Regional Council
has a network of six similar campsites in regional parks throughout the Wellington region. These have basic facilities and are very inexpensive. You need to book ahead at most of these sites.
It pays to book ahead for all campsites stays during the peak period (December and January).
As with DOC campsites, you can stay in any Wilderness campervan or motorhome at regional park campsites.