Freedom Camping and KiwiCamp
Freedom Camping Changes
The rules for freedom camping in New Zealand have changed and the Self-contained Motor Vehicles Legislation Act is now law. The following key changes now take effect:
• You can only freedom camp on local authority land if your vehicle is certified self-contained.
• Vehicles with a portable toilet are no longer able to be certified self-contained.
• The original infringement fee of $200 has been increased to $400. Many of the fees will increase further when regulations come into force. New infringement offences are also in place.
• From 7 December 2024, all rental vehicles will need a green warrant to be certified self-contained under the new requirements.
• From 7 June 2025, all vehicles will need a green warrant to be certified self-contained under the new requirements.
Further information on the freedom camping changes can be found on the MBIE website.
Where can I camp?
There are 46 different places you can freedom camp in the Western Bay.
Check out our interactive map of permitted freedom camping sites and click/tap on the freedom camping areas to find out more information on each site, including which sites have restrictions on camping over summer. The map also includes locations of toilets, tables and rubbish bins.
Note: the freedom camping site at Wairoa Road Reserve is currently unusable, as the site is covered in dirt and debris from a nearby land slip (Dec 2022).
Freedom Camping in Prohibited Areas
A $400.00 infringement fee will apply to anyone that camps or prepares to camp in a prohibited area referred to in Schedule 1 of the Freedom Camping Bylaw 2019 (pages 10-14).
Can I take my dog?
There are a few freedom camp sites that allow you bring your dog with you, however there are some restrictions. You will find all the information you need here.
How long can I camp?
Campers can stay in a designated area for a maximum of three (3) nights only during any four week period. The four (4) consecutive weeks begin from the first overnight stay. This excludes tenting at TECT Park, where the limit is two nights.
Rules and Responsibilities
Fully self-contained vehicles (meaning they must have their own toilet and waste-disposal facilities) are welcome to stay at our 46 well-signposted designated sites around the Western Bay.
Freedom camping in tents is only permitted at TECT Park, and permission must be obtained from the Park Manager first. Please ensure you also check the TECT Park Alerts page for any further restrictions.
To ensure a pleasant stay for yourself and fellow campers;
- be considerate of residents and other campers
- remove all rubbish, including solid and liquid waste
- provide evidence your vehicle is self-contained, if asked by a council officer
- abide by the Freedom Camping Bylaw 2019
Please be aware that freedom camping sites are monitored by Council and some sites are monitored by CCTV cameras.
A $400 fine applies for:
- Campers parked outside the designated Freedom Camping area (outlined in yellow on our interactive maps). Oversized vehicles wheels must be within designated area.
- Campers who are not in a certified self-contained vehicle.
- Anyone who has stayed more than three (3) nights.
- Interfering or damaging the Freedom Camping area, its flora or fauna or any structure in the area
- Leaving rubbish on the Freedom Camping land.
- Discharging substances which are likely to be noxious, dangerous, offensive or objectionable to the extent that it has or is likely to have a significant adverse effect on the environment; or has caused, or is likely to cause, significant concern to the community or users of the area or land.
- Other offences may apply, please see Freedom Camping Bylaw 2019 Section 4.
Please note, that while you are welcome to use the KiwiCamp facility services, you can only freedom camp overnight if you are in a certified self-contained vehicle. This means no tenting or staying overnight in a non- certified self-contained vehicle at the KiwiCamp site, or any other freedom camping site throughout the District. Please also refer to our freedom camping signage at each site.
Where is the KiwiCamp?
What is KiwiCamp?
KiwiCamp is a clean and modern ablution block, with all the services you need.
The purchase of a KiwiCash digital key is necessary to access the KiwiCamp facilities – hot showers, cooking hotplates, dishwashing sink and a laundry. Toilets are free to use.
KiwiCash is a smart way of making payments for access to KiwiCamp facilities around New Zealand, using KiwiCash Digital Keys.
Your KiwiCash Digital Key identifies you and connects you to your online KiwiCash account. This allows you to make secure, easy payments for services with a tap of your Digital Key at any KiwiCamp facility. Online accounts can be created and topped up on the KiwiCash App or on their website.
Digital Keys are available for purchase for $5 at any Council Area Office.
For further information, please read the Freedom Camping Bylaw 2019.
Enjoy your stay!
Freedom Camping Infringement Waiver Request
Should you receive an Infringement Notice for freedom camping and wish to request a waiver, please click on the link below. Complete the form within 28 days of receiving the infringement notice.
Freedom Camping Bylaw Review August 2019
Council reviewed its Freedom Camping Bylaw in 2019. The review included removing five freedom camping sites, modifying the overnight parking areas for two sites, and changing the permission wording for tenting at TECT Park. To find out more, see the key decisions document.