Freedom Camping is a great way to get away from it all and see the best of New Zealand. It may be flexible, stripped back and close to nature, but there are some ground rules and considerations to bear in mind.
What is Freedom Camping?
At its simplest freedom camping (or free camping) is the ability to travel where you like, park up and sleep wherever you find a great view, and the chance to holiday off-grid without electrical hook up.
So far, so good. But bear in mind you cannot park up on someone else’s property or freedom camp where it is not permitted. There are areas where you are not allowed to freedom camp and these places may or may not have signage. It’s always best to check locally with an i-SITE or visitor information centre before setting up camp and being fined.
These are motorhomes (or other vehicles) with on board toilet facilities. In other words, there is fresh water, a toilet and a waste tank suitable for the party size for a few days without needing emptying. Most rental motorhomes are Certified Self-Contained, meaning they are good for 3 days without needing external services.
This provides the convenience and comfort of being able to freedom camp and not be restricted to staying on a commercial campsite where you have the luxury of plugging into a water supply and discharging your waste water tank.
If toilet facilities are provided on freedom camps, they will be very basic and unlikely to be desirable to use.
How Long Can I Freedom Camp Without Power?
We’d suggest that you plan to plug in and power up every 2 or 3 nights. Of course, this depends on the leisure battery installed, and how much power it is being asked to deliver.
The more devices and functions in use, the more power is being consumed. Even being stationary in the full sun will use more power than parking in the shade. So enjoy the sense of liberation that comes with freedom camping but plan regular stays on a campsite so you can charge up – and enjoy a nice hot shower of course!
Some negativity is directed at freedom campers because of litter and sanitary issues in places of scenic beauty. Take all rubbish with you and leave your freedom camp as you found it.
Check the Freedom Camping website before travelling.