Motorhome camping is easy in New Zealand, the country offers over 300 privately-owned holiday parks and campgrounds, all with safe, friendly accommodation with full facilities, electricity equipped sites and very reasonable fees. To supplement these, the Department of Conservation (DOC) provides facilities for motorhomes at a modest cost in many scenic locations throughout the country. Free-camping is also permitted in most regions.
In New Zealand the terms: motor camp, caravan park or holiday parks are used for overnight or long-term vehicle-based camping. They are generally open year-round, with most providing full kitchen, bathroom, laundry and waste dump facilities. Many can boast spectacular locations but reservations are not necessary except during the peak summer holiday period from Christmas until mid-January when it is recommended to call ahead – especially if you anticipate arriving late.
Parks for Motorhome Camping in NZ
Holiday Accommodation Parks of New Zealand
As an umbrella organisation, HAPNZ is the national motorhome park association in New Zealand with approximately 300 member properties. Beneath the HAPNZ umbrella are three major chains of holiday parks; Family Parks of New Zealand, Kiwi Parks and Top 10. Regular users of holiday parks – such as those on a motorhome vacation – have the option of joining loyalty programs upon arrival that offer discounted access to all properties within the chain for a membership fee of approximately NZD40.
Kiwi Holiday Parks
With 45 strategically placed Kiwi Holiday Parks around New Zealand it’s easy to find a great place to stay each night. Travel around or pick a spot and stay for a while to really explore an area. Kiwi parks have a range of accommodation options and are located by the beach, in urban areas, by national parks and everywhere in between.
Top 10 Holiday Parks
If you are travelling New Zealand by Campervan or Motorhome, you can stay at any of the TOP 10 Holiday Parks. Just book a powered or unpowered site. Powered sites have power points for suitably wired vehicles. Unpowered sites are your typical camping site, suitable for a self-contained vehicle. All guests have access to shared bathroom facilities (showers and toilets) and communal kitchen facilities if required.
Department of Conservation Campsites
The Department of Conservation manages over 250 vehicle-accessible motorhome camping areas. These are all on conservation land and many are found in the types of scenic natural settings which New Zealand is renowned for – from lush forest to lake shores and sandy or pebbled beaches to alpine locations.
Conservation campsites are generally basic with facilities ranging from informal sites with very simple facilities such as pit toilets and stream water to a few well serviced grounds with a camp warden, hot showers, lighting and rubbish collection.
Free camping and overnight parking on public land and in rest areas maintained by local authorities is also permitted in many areas around New Zealand – but involves further considerations. In recent years the use of motorhomes has become very popular in New Zealand and most City, District and Regional Councils have responded to environmental responsibilities, safety considerations and commercial interest concerns, along with the general dilemma of increasing numbers of motorhomes parking overnight by creating policies on the topic. Unfortunately such laws are established on a region by region basis and vary from general prohibition to active encouragement.
Should you anticipate engaging in this form of motorhome camping you are advised to seek the local regulations from the nearest information centre. Always check for and obey signs which forbid camping. You must obey any enforcement officers. Do not park next to a campground. You may not be able to stay in national parks or on popular lakefronts or harbour-sides, but there will usually be another place just as beautiful not far down the road.
You can help to reduce the need for such new laws by always being courteous to locals, thoughtful about where you park, and never leaving anything behind when you leave. “Take only photographs and leave only footprints” Never dump your grey or black water anywhere other than at a proper dump site and always take your rubbish with you.
Campgrounds and holiday parks offer many benefits and most people who free-camp still pay to use campgrounds frequently for the laundries, dump sites, water sources and other facilities they offer travellers.
Native Parks is about creating genuine, personal experiences for you on your motorhome camping holiday and is a great alternative to wild camping or the campervan parks in New Zealand.
Your Native Parks Membership card is used gain access to overnight stays on private properties, an opportunity to meet real Kiwi’s and taste a little of their lives.
Do You Have a Favourite Motorhome Campground in New Zealand?
Have you stayed in a motorhome campground recently that left an indelible impression? Do you have tips and tricks on finding and using motor camps worldwide? What advice can you offer to our readers? Please, share it right here!