Motorhome Camping in New Zealand

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motorhome camping

Enjoying Your Holiday

If you're new to motorhome camping, this page will get you started so you can truly enjoy your motorhome camping in New Zealand (or campervan, rv, mobile home, camper or whatever else you want to call it).

Depending on the specifications of your motorhome, camping could be referred to as glamping - a term we heard that refers to "glamorous camping" - that's what we do. Or you may love the "roughing it" experience. Whatever, you will find useful information and links on this page.

What is Camping?

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It seems like a straight forward question. However, self-contained campervans can overnight park in areas that you couldn't put up a tent, for example. So for motorhome camping there are more options than for other types of camping. Not all motorhomes/campervans can take advantage of the overnight parking allowances - you must have a self-contained vehicle to do so.

To read more on freedom camping, click here.

For more useful camping info visit the New Zealand Motor Caravan Association Inc click here


What is the Camping Care Code?

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This is the Camping Care Code published by the Department of Conservation:

Be a careful camper and practice ‘no trace’ camping.

  • Choose your campsite carefully; set up your camp on firm, high or sandy ground. Only camp in designated areas. Please do not camp where camping is not permitted.
  • Be tidy and always leave campsites clean. Take your rubbish with you if bins are not provided. Food scraps attract vermin.
  • Use a cooker, fireplace or BBQ. Light fires only where permitted, collect dead wood and keep the fire small. Soak the fire with water before you go.
  • Detergents, soap and toothpaste can harm aquatic and marine life. Use biodegradable products and wash in a container well away from the water.
  • Always use toilets provided. There are toilets at all DOC campsites. When camping elsewhere follow the environmental care guidance
  • Motorhome or campervan users - please always dispose of waste at official dump stations. If you don't have a toilet onboard, please camp where there are toilet facilities. Do not dispose of waste in public places.
  • Campgrounds are social places but everyone needs some rest and relaxation. Please respect the rights of others for quiet enjoyment of the outdoors.
  • Pay your fees to help keep campsites available in the future.
  • Always thoroughly clean your equipment before and after trips to minimize spreading weeds and diseases.
  • Protect native plants and animals.

Toitu te whenua/leave the land undisturbed.


Where Can I Stay?

There are several options for motorhome camping in New Zealand. There are:

  • commercial fully-serviced campsites
  • campsites run by regional councils, such as:

Facilities at regional council camps and DOC campsites are usually fairly basic which doesn't matter at all if you have a self-contained campervan/motorhome, because you will have your own hot water and power. You need to ensure you have a power system that allows you to be "off-grid" (not plugged in) - check that your campervan has extended life batteries and/or solar panels.

Don't be put off by the lack of facilities as the campsites run by DOC are often in the most beautiful settings and give you a true New Zealand camping experience - whether you're "roughing it" or "glamping". The same applies to some of the campsites run by regional councils.

To read about New Zealand holiday parks and campsites in more detail, click here.

For full information on the area you are planning on visiting for motorhome camping, visit the local visitor information centre (iSite) - click here.


What is Campervan Etiquette?

This is what we think is ideal etiquette for campervan/motorhome camping:

  • Be considerate
  • Keep the noise down after dark
  • Respect other eople's privacy - leave a reasonable space if parking next to someone
  • Keep the area around your motorhome tidy - we don't want to trip over random furniture or washing etc
  • Leave the area as you find it - leave no evidence of your stay
  • On the road, pull over to let others pass if there is a queue behind you
  • Do not travel in close convoy on the road - make sure there is enough room between you so cars can overtake if they need to