Where to park my van?

symbolsI’m still working and the ski season has just about past the midway point. Still, I’m already thinking and getting excited about all the wonderful places I will visit in New Zealand. I’ve got my car and therefore a place to sleep, but freedom camping in New Zealand is getting harder and harder because of all the tourists that couldn’t clean up after themselves. Municipalties and locals are fed up with the mess and I can’t blame them. Freedom camping is banned more often than not.

That is why I got very excited when I ‘discovered’ the Rankers website and their handy app Camping NZ. The site shows campsites throughout New Zealand and categorizes them by price range and type of site. By zooming and scrolling through New Zealand’s map, you can find a suitable campsite wherever you are.

  • In the app you can download maps for offline use, which makes it easier to find things on the road and out of wifi reach. You have the choice of downloading a map of NZ or maps of certain areas you plan to visit.


The app Campermate is a similar app that relies on your experiences, so if you’ve used a campsite you can add it to the list, make comments or adapt information to keep things up to date. Besides campsites you can also find supermarkets, LOTR filming locations and showers on the map, with filters to help you look for something in particular.

I can already get very excited trying to figure out where I can camp for free or close to nothing. The app will help me find toilets and showers whenever I need them. I’m not saying I won’t be staying in hostels or at campsites at all, but by freedom camping and going to DOC’s basic campsites, I hope to save a lot of money that I can spend on activities like hiking on glaciers, doing great walks and making my own knife.

Has anyone got experience with freedom camping in NZ? Any sweet spots that shouldn’t be missed? Tips?



2 thoughts on “Where to park my van?

  1. I only paid for about 2 campsites the whole time I was in NZ! The basic doc ones are good but sometimes hard to find, but that’s part of the fun and gets you well off the beaten track! Tbh a lot of the time I just slept places I shouldn’t have, even quiet residential areas outside peoples houses, although I wouldn’t necessarily advise that…. As long as you don’t leave a mess or draw attention to yourself 🙂 but yeah, I never had any trouble freedom camping at all (there’s even a secret spot in Auckland CBD), just avoid the ‘no camping’ signs, have fun!

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