Freedom Camping

The West Coast is blessed with an abundance of secluded and scenic spots ideal for freedom camping, where camping is done in a location without facilities and is not a designated campground. In order to maintain the privileges of freedom camping and ensure the protection of our environment, it is important everyone camps responsibly and observes local freedom camping-related rules. You are responsible for learning what bylaws exist.
Freedom Camping on DOC land

Freedom camping is permitted on DOC public conservation land, except in areas where it is expressly prohibited or restricted to self contained vehicles. This is indicated by signage.

Public conservation lands on the West Coast where freedom camping is prohibited or restricted to self-contained vehicles.

  • Freedom camping overnight is prohibited at sites displaying no camping signs, including this sign:

Camping overnight is not allowed

  • Freedom camping overnight is allowed for self contained vehicles at sites displaying this sign:

Self contained

Freedom camping in a prohibited or restricted area can result in a $200 infringement fee which must be paid prior to departing New Zealand.

Freedom Camping on private land, near roads and towns

Each district on the West Coast has different bylaws concerning where Freedom Camping is allowed. These are based on the Freedom Camping Act 2011. It is best to contact the local Councils to see what is allowed and what is prohibited or the local Visitor Information Centres. Many areas are also signposted. Again, it is solely your responsibility to know what bylaws exist and abide by them.

Depositing waste

Part of keeping the West Coast and New Zealand beautiful is to be responsible with your waste wherever you camp. Carry in, carry out. Leave no trace. Don't ruin your holiday as non-compliance can result in a $200 infringement fee or a maximum $10,000 fine if prosecuted. And nobody likes finding a stack of toilet paper next to a pristine lake! Below is an AA link of all the dump stations along the West Coast so you can be a responsible camper.

AA West Coast Dump Stations

More Information on Responsible Camping

For more information on Responsible Camping please visit:

Our Strategic Partners: