New Zealand Freedom Camping 2018 – That’s new!

Freedom Camping New Zealand new rules 2018
Tourists travelling New Zealand will have to abide by tougher Freedom Camping laws which come into effect 1st February 2018. With these measurements authorities are responding to ever increasing numbers of travellers on both islands, leaving behind piles of rubbish and destroying the country’s green image. The laws are designed to help protect the environment by reducing the number of “self-contained” certified vehicles and regulating places where campervans are allowed.

New Freedom Camping laws at a glance

  • From 1st February 2018 only vehicles with an on-board toilet will receive the “self-contained” certificate. Toilets must be accessible and usable at all times. Portable toilets will be allowed with tougher regulations.
  • If you have a vehicle with an old certificate, this will be valid until it officially expires. After that you will need to have your vehicle re-inspected and will only get a new certificate if it meets the new Freedom Camping regulations.
  • According to the new rules, vehicles will have to be self-sufficient for at least three days, meaning you should not need to refill your water or dipose of rubbish and wastewater within that time period.

How many vehicles are allowed to park up where and for how long, depends on local and regional by-laws. We recommend you read road signs thoroughly to avoid fines! Authorities are not letting anyone off with simple warnings anymore, but will instead issue a ticket straight away – or worse, they will clamp your vehicle so you are unable to leave until the fine is paid. Violations against the new Freedom Camping law are inflicted with a penalty of $200. Should you refuse to pay this on the spot, be assured that most rental agencies will deduct the amount from your credit card upon returning the vehicle because tickets in New Zealand are issued for the vehicle, not the driver.


Chilli Rentals offers several vehicles that meet the “self-contained” standards and are therefore more cost effective when looking for Freedom Camping spots. However, if you choose a different vehicle category, it is your responsibility to ensure you only park in spaces overnight that allow standard vehicles or tents. Otherwise you risk heavy fines.

Alternatively we recommend that you use official campgrounds and holiday parks. There are plenty to choose from to suit your budget. We do ask you to abide by the new Freedom Camping laws and leave your campsites as clean and tidy as you would like to find them. By doing so we can ensure that the environment is protected and New Zealand can keep its green image.