Freedom Camping

Each council in New Zealand can have their own bylaw to oversee freedom camping in their district or city.

In Waitomo, campers can park overnight in a self-contained vehicle in any public area within the District as long as there are no restrictions in place (in WDC’s Freedom Camping Bylaw or parking constraints).

The Bylaw has locations classified as red, blue, yellow, and teal which restrict or permit certain activities in certain locations.

Red – Prohibited

Preferred locations

Blue – self-contained vehicles only

Yellow – self-contained and non-self-contained vehicles

Teal - self-contained, non-self-contained vehicles and tents

Conditions for camping in preferred locations:

  • maximum stay of two consecutive nights
  • vehicles must depart before 9am
  • no lighting of fires
  • rubbish must be put in a bin or taken with you and site left clean and tidy

Please see our maps (PDF 4.67 MB) here which show where in the District freedom camping is permitted and prohibited.

Read our Freedom Camping Bylaw 2023 (PDF 6.18 MB) for more information, details on enforcement, and the full list of prohibited and permitted sites.

In 2023 the Freedom Camping Act 2011  was amended to bring in some nationwide changes, these include:

  • vehicles with a portable toilet will no longer be certified self-contained.
  • The original $200 infringement fee has been increased to $400, with further fees for different related offenses.

Read our information brochure