Motorhome Parks / Overnight Options
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New Zealand has over 300 holiday parks and campgrounds offering safe, friendly accommodation with full facilities, electricity equipped sites and very reasonable fees. Additionally the Department of Conservation (DOC) provides facilities for motorhomes at a modest cost in many scenic locations throughout the country. Free-camping is also permited in most regions.
Motorhome parks in New Zealand are generally open year round, with most providing full kitchen, bathroom, laundry and waste dump facilities. Many can boast spectacular locations such as beside beaches, at thermal springs, next to national parks, beside rivers and lakes, and in metropolitan centres. Reservations are not necessary except during the local peak summer holiday period from Christmas until mid January when it is recommended to call ahead, especially if you anticipate arriving late.
Holiday Accommodation Parks of New Zealand
As an umbrella organisation, HAPNZ is the national motorhome park association in New Zealand with approximately 300 member properties. Beneath the HAPNZ umbrella are three major chains of holiday parks; Family Parks of New Zealand, Kiwi Parks and Top 10. Regular users of holiday parks - such as those on a motorhome vacation - have the option of joining loyalty programs upon arrival that offer discounted access to all properties within the chain for a membership fee of approximately $NZD40. As no single holiday park chain achieves representation in every location you are likely to visit during your travels, your New Zealand Frontiers rental package includes a guide to the locations and contact details for all HAPNZ parks.
More info: HAPNZ
Department of Conservation Campsites
The Department of Conservation manages over 250 vehicle accessible camping areas on conservation land throughout New Zealand for you to enjoy. Many are found in the types of scenic natural settings which New Zealand is renowned for - from lush forest to lake shores and sandy or pebbled beaches to alpine locations.
Conservation campsites are generally basic with facilities ranging from informal sites with very simple facilities such as pit toilets and stream water to a few well serviced grounds with a camp warden, hot showers, lighting and rubbish collection. Fees are from $NZD3 to $NZD14 per person.
More info: Department of Conservation
Free camping and parking for a coffee break
One of the wonderful benefits available to those who choose to travel by motorhome is the freedom to stop at your leisure. You will find opportunities to park up with an alpine vista outside your kitchen window or the beach outside your bedroom door!
You only need use common sense when choosing a place to stop for a few hours:
- Is it safe and clear of the road?
- Is the ground stable to drive on?
- Will your vehicle or activities be likely to cause environmental damage?
- Is it private land?
For your comfort you will want to find a place which is flat and level and which is quiet. Respect the local people and do not park in front of houses or where you might annoy others by spoiling their view.
Free camping and overnight parking on public land and in rest areas maintained by local authorities is also permitted in many areas around New Zealand - but involves further considerations. In recent years the use of motorhomes has become very popular in New Zealand and most City, District and Regional Councils have responded to environmental responsibilities, safety considerations and commercial interest concerns, along with the general dilemma of increasing numbers of motorhomes parking overnight by creating policies on the topic. Unfortunately such laws are established on a region by region basis and vary from general prohibition to active encouragement. Should you anticipate engaging in freedom camping you are advised to seek the local regulations from the nearest information centre. Always check for and obey signs which forbid camping. You must obey any enforcement officers. Do not park next to a campground. You may not be able to stay in national parks or on popular lakefronts or harbour-sides, but there will usually be another place just as beautiful not far down the road.
You can help to reduce the need for such new laws by always being courteous to locals, thoughtful about where you park, and never leaving anything behind when you leave. "Take only photographs and leave only footprints" Never dump your grey or black water anywhere other than at a proper dump site and always take your rubbish with you.
Campgrounds and holiday parks offer many benefits and most people who free-camp still pay to use campgrounds frequently for the laundries, dump sites, water sources and other facilities they offer travellers.
Freedom Camping Motto: "Assume nothing - always ask a local"
New Zealand is proud of its 100% Pure image. In recognition of the responsibility for maintaining this image, exercising guardianship and promoting common, clear advice to those wishing to experience the privilege of freedom camping in such a widely admired land, The Tourism Industry Association of New Zealand along with a wide range of other interested organisations has established the New Zealand Freedom Camping Forum to provide advice and promote responsibility among freedom campers. New Zealand Frontiers supports the values of the Freedom Camping Forum. New Zealand Frontiers only operates fully self contained motorhomes and encourages all clients considering freedom camping to visit the website of the Freedom Camping Forum and adhere to the motto 'Assume nothing - always ask a local'
More info: Freedom Camping Advice
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