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New Zealand is blessed with an abundance of secluded and scenic spots ideal for freedom camping. In order to maintain the privileges of freedom camping, and ensure the protection of our environment, it is important everyone camps responsibly and observes local freedom camping-related rules.


Some Council's are creating new bylaws under the Freedom Camping Act 2011. In July 2012, the NZMCA commissioned public law firm, Chen Palmer, to prepare a guidance document to assist Councils and other interested parties in better undestanding the requirements of the Act. As a result of this guide a few Council's have deferred their decisions to pass new bylaws, pending further information.

For further information on the Freedom Camping Act 2011 please select the link below:

Model Freedom Camping Bylaw Nov 13 - this document was prepared by NZMCA and public law experts, Chen Palmer, and in consultation with Local Government New Zealand, Department of Conservation and Department of Internal Affairs. 

The Freedom Camping Act 2011

'How-to' guide for bylaws under the Freedom Camping Act 2011 (prepared by Chen Palmer)

Updated guidance for local authorities (prepared by LGNZ and DIA)

Report to the Local Government & Environment Select Committee - on the Freedom Camping Bill (prepared by DOC and DIA)

Conservation areas where Freedom Camping is prohibited or restricted (DOC website)

If you are unsure where you can freedom camp refer to your Travel Directory or enquire here:






Responsible freedom camping can be achieved in a certified self contained vehicle as these vehicles have the necessary facilities onboard to contain all the occupants waste for a minimum of three days. Many Councils are permiting freedom camping in certified self contained vehicles only.

A certified self contained vehicle must display a warrant on the front windscreen and, to assist enforcement officers, may display a sticker on the rear window or bumper to verify its status under the NZ Standard for Self Containment of Motor Caravans and Caravans, NZS 5465:2001.

The certification documentation was reviewed in March 2012 - for further information on the design please CLICK HERE.


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