New South Wales
Northern Territory
Queensland
South Australia
Tasmania
Victoria
Western Australia
North Island
South Island

Renowned for its breathtaking landscapes and vibrant outdoor culture, New Zealand is a true paradise for freedom campers who are looking to experience stunning scenery and unforgettable adventures. 

There are over 500 responsible freedom camping spots in New Zealand, each with its own charm and appeal. However, with so many incredible places to choose from, it can be difficult to know where to start. 

At Backpacker Deals, we’ve put together a list of our ten favourite freedom camping spots across the country to get you started on your next wilderness adventure. Check out our top picks below and allow our team to help you plan the ultimate freedom camping experience today! 

Where to Go Freedom Camping in the North Island

Known for its beautiful beaches, gorgeous islands, and spectacular volcanoes, the North Island of New Zealand is the perfect place for anyone looking to experience a real action-packed adventure. Immerse yourself in the many wonders of the North Island on your freedom camping trip and pay a visit to these top spots… 

Ngawi Camping Area, Wairarapa

Ngawi Camping Area, Wairarapa

Located on the southern coast of the North Island, Ngawi Camping Area offers a unique coastal experience for freedom campers. With rugged cliffs, low light pollution, and expansive ocean views, it's the ideal spot for anyone who wants to spend time fishing, surfing, or stargazing. 

As if that wasn’t enough, its close proximity to the Cape Palliser lighthouse guarantees an extra special touch to any stay. Not only is this lighthouse steeped in history, but it also boasts the largest colony of fur seals on the North Island!

Facilities: toilets, rubbish bins

Maximum duration of stay: 21 days

Dawson Falls, Taranaki

Dawson Falls, Taranaki

Nestled in the Egmont National Park, Dawson Falls provides a serene alpine environment, with sounds of birdsong and tumbling rapids to lull you to sleep.

Take a dip in the ancient natural pools, enjoy the sight of the magnificent waterfall, and journey along the diverse hiking trails that wind through the lush forest. This freedom camping spot is perfect for nature lovers who enjoy bird-watching and exploring the great outdoors.

Facilities: toilets, visitor centre

Maximum duration of stay: 4 nights

Whakaipō Bay Recreation Reserve, Taupo

Whakaipō Bay Recreation Reserve, Taupo

The gorgeous Whakaipō Bay is a hidden gem nestled right on the northern shores of Lake Taupo. Located just a 10-minute drive from the town of Taupo, this serene camping spot offers spectacular scenery and a deeply peaceful ambience.

The nearby trails are great for biking and hiking, and the still waters and stunning lakeside views are perfect for kayaking, swimming, and picnicking. 

Facilities: n/a

Maximum duration of stay: 4 nights

Hamilton’s Gap, Awhitu 

Hamilton’s Gap, Awhitu 

A secluded beachside spot on the Awhitu Peninsula, Hamilton’s Gap is ideal for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life.

This epic freedom camping spot boasts awesome black sand dunes and dramatic cliffs that create a stunning backdrop for any overnight stay. It's a fantastic location for beachcombing, fishing, and enjoying the tranquillity of nature.

Facilities: toilets, showers, picnic tables

Maximum duration of stay: 2 nights

Snells Beach, Auckland

Snells Beach, Auckland

Situated just north of Auckland, you’ll find the freedom camping site at Whisper Cove in Snells Beach. This quiet spot offers a convenient getaway with beautiful coastal scenery.

The beach is perfect for swimming, paddleboarding, and relaxing by the water, and the nearby Mahurangi Regional Park provides additional opportunities for hiking and exploring.

Facilities: n/a

Maximum duration of stay: 2 nights


Where to Go Freedom Camping in the South Island

If snow-capped mountains, crystal blue rivers, and vast rolling hills are a little more your style, then you won't want to miss the many freedom camping spots the South Island has to offer. Check out our favourite South Island sites below and start planning your camping trip today!

Jimmy Armers Beach, Kaikoura

Jimmy Armers Beach, Kaikoura

Known for its enchanting marine life, incredible scenery, and stunning sunsets, Jimmy Armers Beach in Kaikoura is by far one of the best spots for freedom camping on the South Island.

Campers who are lucky enough to stay at this must-visit destination can take in panoramic views of the ocean and mountains, enjoy delightful beachside picnics, and seize the chance to spot seals, dolphins, and (if you’re particularly lucky) even whales. 

Facilities: toilets, shower, rubbish bins, picnic tables

Maximum duration of stay: 1 night

Te Moana Gorge, Timaru

Te Moana Gorge, Timaru

Located inland from Timaru, Te Moana Gorge is a highly picturesque camping spot. The gorge features a beautiful river, delightful walking tracks, and lush surroundings, making it perfect for swimming, fishing, and exploring. 

The area is incredibly rich in native flora and fauna, offering a peaceful nature retreat to anyone who visits. During your stay, you’ll want to keep an eye out for the diverse birdlife in the area, especially the elusive whio, Timaru’s very special native blue duck. 

Facilities: toilets, picnic tables

Maximum duration of stay: 3 nights

Crown Range Summit, Roaring Meg

Crown Range Summit, Roaring Meg

Renowned as the highest main road in New Zealand, the Crown Range Road offers breathtaking vistas of the scenery below, promising an unforgettable camping experience.

The Roaring Meg area provides a dramatic backdrop with its rugged terrain and panoramic views. It's an ideal spot for photography enthusiasts, hikers, and nature lovers who simply want to soak in the stunning scenery.

Facilities: n/a

Maximum duration of stay: 4 nights

Hanmer Springs River Reserve, Hanmer Springs

Hanmer Springs River Reserve, Hanmer Springs

Located within the resort town of Hanmer Springs in Canterbury, the Hanmer Springs River Reserve offers a tranquil riverside camping experience with awe-inspiring views.

This freedom camping spot is an incredibly popular location, so you’ll want to get there early if you want to stay the night! The reserve is perfect for picnicking, swimming, and relaxing by the river, with many guests making the most of the therapeutic hot pools nearby after a day of exploration.

Facilities: toilets

Maximum duration of stay: 2 nights

Monowai Campsite, Fiordland

Monowai Campsite, Fiordland

Nestled just within Fiordland National Park, Monowai Campsite offers an immersive wilderness experience and serves as an excellent base for exploring the stunning natural beauty of the South Island’s Fiordland.

Surrounded by dense forests and serene lakes, this freedom camping spot is a real paradise for hikers, anglers, and wildlife enthusiasts alike.

Facilities: toilets, tap water (untreated), picnic tables

Maximum duration of stay: 1 night


Plan Your Next Freedom Camping Trip With Backpacker Deals!

Are you ready to hit the road and check out these top freedom camping spots across NZ? At Backpacker Deals, we’re here to assist you with all your freedom camping needs! 

Check out our campervan hire options and allow us to help you find the perfect self-contained vehicle for your upcoming adventure. Alternatively, you can peruse our comprehensive guide to freedom camping in New Zealand to ensure you’re up to date with all the rules, regulations, and responsibilities before heading out on your trip. 

AUTHOR PROFILE
Alex Sykes
Alex is an avid traveller and writer living in sunny Queensland, Australia. Originally from England, Alex is a keen explorer who has travelled to countless must-see destinations across Australia and overseas. Today, Alex is dedicated to helping others experience the world's best locations, providing them with the information they need to plan their dream holidays.

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