What's Freedom Camping?

​Freedom camping is the ultimate outdoor experience. It means being free – just you, your fellow travellers and nature. It means you won’t have to worry about plugging your campervan into power, and you can really explore New Zealand’s beautiful, legal camping grounds. You’ll have the comforts and facilities of your motorhome, with uninterrupted, stunning views of the great outdoors.

What you’ll need to know about Freedom Camping & Certified Self Containment

All Tui Campers are Certified Self-Contained. What does this mean?  
Certified self-contained means your vehicle meets the ablutionary and sanitary needs of the occupants of the motorhome for a minimum of three days without requiring any external services for discharging any waste. Basically your motorhome has fresh water, a toilet and waste tanks, therefore providing more options about where you can freedom camp.

Freedom Camping Tips & Hints

First of all, it’s important to note that whenever you camp, you should never leave litter or human waste behind. Always place your rubbish in provided bins or take it away with you, reuse and recycle when you can, and use designated dump stations.

Switch off electrical equipment when not in use, use water sparingly and speak to tourism operators about their eco-friendly practices as well. Visit New Zealand’s Camping Our Way website to learn more about ethical camping practices.

Discover where you can camp on the road via Campermate Roadtrip app. Download the app, and it’ll give you more information on free and authorised camping grounds. Local councils can and will issue fines, like $200 infringement fines, so be sure to err on the side of caution.

Camping grounds, like the Department of Conservation Sites are a great place to start if you’re looking to get back to nature. Find more information on Where to Stay in your motorhome here.

How long can you freedom camp for without power?

We recommend plugging in and powering up your camper every second night. The more equipment you have, the quicker your batteries drain. Parking the vehicle in the shade can also reduce power consumption. It can be a good idea to alternate your freedom camping spots with Holiday Park camping spots.

Please note: There are districts in New Zealand that do not permit you to freedom camp. These areas may or may not be clearly sign posted. We recommend that you assume nothing and always check with a local first, or with the campermate app. Visitor Information Centres or ‘iSites’ will always be able to advise you.

For more information on where you can camp visit www.camping.org.nz.

Motorhome safety tips

Keep yourself safe in New Zealand

New Zealand is well known for its friendly people and relaxed travelling environment. However, like all other destinations it remains important to use common sense and to be mindful of both personal safety and keeping your possessions safe.

Rather than camping in an isolated area, we recommend that you stay at a holiday park or Department of Conservation (DOC) campground. It's also a good idea to have a mobile phone on you at all times. In the case of an emergency, the number you should call in New Zealand is 111.

If you are going on one of NZ’s great adventures, (even if it's bush walking), it's worth checking out this useful website​ AdventureSmart.

New Zealand is a relatively safe travel destination but we are not crime free. It is important you take the same precautions to look after yourself and your possessions as you would at home.

The emergency number for fire, ambulance and police is 111. Calls are free.

Remember these key things:

  • Avoid unlit areas and don't walk alone late at night.
  • Don’t carry lots of cash, valuables or expensive jewellery with you.
  • Always lock your vehicle and keep windows secure.
  • Don’t leave valuables, maps, luggage, GPS devices or visitor brochures visible in your parked motorhome, especially at scenic spots or trail heads.
  • Don’t leave bags, backpacks, wallets, mobile phones or cameras unattended in public places, especially at airports, railway stations or ferry terminals.
  • Park your motorhome overnight in a holiday park, Department of Conservation campground or other specially designated area. If in doubt, ask at the nearest i-SITE (official visitor information office).
  • Report lost or stolen possessions as soon as possible to the nearest police station.

For more information please go here.