17 January, 2020
Last updated on 19 July, 2022
Posted by Spaceships Crew
New Zealand is probably the best country in the world for a scenic road trip. As there are so many awesome places for camping in New Zealand, it is a traveller's paradise. It's safe; there are excellent facilities at the campgrounds and New Zealand Holiday Park holiday parks, no nasty animals to be wary of and of course, you're surrounded by incredible scenery.
To make your life even easier, we have collected all the info you need to have for camping in New Zealand. We are blessed to have a great range of free and budget campgrounds.
And the best way to explore New Zealand is in a Spaceship campervan. Why? Well, they drive like a regular car, and you're allowed to drive on gravel roads. That way you can experience the real New Zealand.
Information about camping in New Zealand is also provided in your Spaceship campervan rental, like information about the various New Zealand holiday parks and campsites. Plus, with every Spaceships hire you'll get two free travel guidebooks (250 pages each).
Camping rules in New Zealand
You'll need to camp at a designated campsite with your Spaceship. You can't just park & sleep anywhere. There are rules and regulations to (freedom) camping. We recommend staying at campsites with appropriate facilities. There is a range of free or budget campsites in NZ, starting at $0 per night.
Department of Conservation campsites
The Department of Conservation (DOC) manages over 200 vehicle-accessible camping areas. These are generally more basic New Zealand campsites and their locations are more remote and beautiful. It's the perfect place to enjoy New Zealand.
Basic camps (free)
These campsites have basic toilets and water may be from a tank, stream or lake.
Standard campsites ($8 per night)
At these campsites, you'll find basic toilets, water supply from tap, stream or lake, wood fireplaces and BBQ’s, cold showers, picnic tables and a cooking shelter and rubbish bins may be provided.
It's easy to find amazing campsites in New Zealand
Scenic campsites ($15 per night)
DOC's scenic campsites can be found in popular locations. These campgrounds have a limited range of facilities, such as toilets, water (tap), cold showers, picnic tables, fireplaces and rubbish bins.
Serviced Campsites ($20 per night)
A wider range of facilities and services. Flush toilets, tap water, kitchen/cooking bench, hot showers, rubbish collection. Laundry facilities, BBQ’s, fireplaces, cookers and picnic tables may be available.
More info about DOC campsites
DOC also has a network of over 950 backcountry huts, lodges and cabins, info on national parks, walks, marine reserves and safety info for the backcountry. More info about these and prices for adults and children can be found on the DOC website. Or you can download the PDF with all DOC campsites on the North Island or all DOC campsites on the South Island.
Holiday parks in New Zealand
If you are looking for a bit more luxury for your campervan road trip, a holiday park will be perfect for you. Holiday parks are more commercial camping areas that offer more facilities than regular campsites. Holiday parks can be compared to the traditional typical campings you'll find in Europe and the USA.
Kiwi Holiday Parks
Kiwi Holiday Parks is a group of over 50 Kiwi Holiday Parks located throughout New Zealand. They are a minimum 3-star rating. All properties provide communal kitchens, toilets, showers and laundries. Their facilities vary from Holiday Park Motels and cabins to powered and non-powered sites for campervan rentals.
Kiwi Holiday Parks often have both powered and unpowered campsites for a low rate per night. The price includes the use of all park communal facilities, such as kitchen, showers/toilets and laundry. Some Parks do have coin-operated showers.
Family Parks have a range of campgrounds in New Zealand and Australia. They have a minimum three-star rating and a range of accommodation from powered and unpowered sites for campervan rentals as well as on-site caravans, cabins and ensuite units. There are around 28 different campgrounds located around New Zealand.
Top 10 Holiday Parks
There are 46 Top 10 Holiday Parks located throughout New Zealand. These offer a complete range of facilities from park motels and self-contained units, cabins, tent sites as well as powered and unpowered sites for campervan rentals, caravans and motorhome rentals. You can save money by joining the club before you hit the road.
Spaceships app for camping in New Zealand
We have been working closely with a tourism partner to develop an interactive camping directory of New Zealand. It's easy to use and contains heaps of info about free and low-cost campsites all over the country. Download the Spaceships travel & camping app now and you'll always have the most up to date information about free & paid (cheap) campsites in New Zealand with you on your road trip. Plus heaps more info.
It's easy to find free & budget campsites with the Spaceships camping & travel app