Freedom camping in New Zealand

Each district in New Zealand has different rules about freedom camping and parking of campervans. Sometime places it’s permitted, and in others  it will result in a fine and you being moved on.

The best place to find information about where you can camp and what rules to follow is from those who know the area. Ask locals for information:

  • i-SITEs
  • Holiday Parks
  • Department of Conservation  (DOC) Visitor Centres and offices

The impact of freedom camping on our environment, as well as safety concerns, means Tourism New Zealand does not recommend freedom camping in New Zealand. Use the camping grounds unless you are in a fully equipped campervan with its own toilet.

Note: these on-board toilets can only be legally emptied from motorhomes into Dump Stations, which are normally found in holiday parks: these are free to use even if you’re not staying in that camping ground. See more tips  here about travelling in a campervan – Loved my time in the Backpacker van I travelled in recently.

Seals … cute but dangerous

The New Zealand fur seal

are …  fin-footed carnivorous marine mammals and are distinguished by visible external ears and hind flippers which rotate forward.

This pointy-nosed seal has long pale whiskers and a body covered with two layers of fur. Their coat is dark grey-brown on the back, and lighter below; when wet they look almost black.

Kaikoura, New Zealand is a good place to see seals easily: read here  to see what the  NZ Dept of Conservation says about not harassing these (and other) mammals in NZ.  Dont get between them and the sea, and keep your dogs on a lead.

As you can see I was travelling in a Backpacker campervan

Keep 10 metres between you and the seals
Watch for seals all along the Kaikoura coastline
I'm so cute!
Just pull over and see the seals!

Surf highway #43 New Zealand

Before going to WOMAD 2011 New Plymouth, I drove from Christchurch, via the Cook Strait on the Interislander, to New Plymouth. I spent the night before WOMAD at Oakura camping ground just south of New Plymouth … after WOMAD I continued on highway 43 AKA the surf highway

Seems all surfers have great bodies!

But more of the road trip on future blogs. Freedom campers – please use our camping grounds and don’t pollute our clean and green country – we want to keep it that way!

riding the waves as the sun rises
Vans of all sizes: I was in the centre one from BACKPACKER
NZ has wonderful campgrounds with great facilities

These    photos are from part of a series about my recent  road trip to WOMAD 2010 held annually in New Plymouth: I was travelling in a Backpacker campervan, and on the Interislander ferry over Cook Strait – from Christchurch  to WOMAD and back again. for more information check out these links  (above) and the categories on the right.

WOMAD New Zealand Read more here on WOMAD NZ and other parts of the world

WOMAD New Zealand completed the Southern Hemisphere’s WOMAD experience. Dub Colossus had the crowd swaying to the beautiful sounds of Ethiopia mixed with 70’s influenced dub, the graffiti wall filled with brilliant art as the weekend continued and the Taste The World stage were entertained with accordions, tasty tips and tales and De Stijle, the Dutch street performers who popped by for an impromptu beer.

Hypnotic Brass Ensemble – the audience loves them

Hypnotic Brass Ensemble on stage at WOMAD 2010 New Plymouth Great stuff!

Hypnotic Brass Ensemble (USA) Formed on Chicago’s south side, these eight horn-playing brothers were taught by their father Phil Cohran, Sun Ra’s extraordinary lead trumpeter in the 1950s who later became a vigilant jazz educator for budding Chicago brass musicians. His youngest sons (from among Phil’s 15 sons and seven daughters, born from three mothers) would be woken at 6am for strict instrumental practise before school. At night they would slip on headphones to secretly groove to the explosive hip hop of NWA and Public Enemy. By 1999, after all the brothers had left school, they took to Chicago’s streets and subways to start busking, creating a new brassy style they called ‘hypnotic’, fusing the better parts of jazz, rock, reggae and hip hop in their own arresting compositions.
Website: www.myspace.com/hypnoticbusiness

These photos are from part of a series about my recent  road trip to WOMAD 2010 held annually in New Plymouth: I was travelling in a Backpacker campervan, and on the Interislander ferry over Cook Strait – from Christchurch  to WOMAD and back again. for more information check out these links  (above) and the categories on the right.

The Interislander: the ferry between Picton & Wellington, NZ

These photos are from part of a series about my recent  road trip to WOMAD 2010 held annually in New Plymouth: I was travelling in a Backpacker campervan, and on the Interislander ferry over Cook Strait – from Christchurch  to WOMAD and back again. for more information check out these links  (above) and the categories on the right.

A perfect day on an interislander ferry: "so smooth it could have been ironed' I overheard
everyone wants to photograph the Arahura as it passes us

Maori welcome to WOMAD artists

I love this shot! Media and artists go photo mad!
I just love this shot! Media and artists go camera crazy

WOMAD NZ 2010 artists were welcomed to Aotearoa / New Zealand (and Taranaki of course) at a special powhiri on at Owae Marae, Waitara.

As media, I  too was  invited to attend the event which is always an uplifting and colourful event and one which artists talk about for many years.

It’s hard to work out who-is-who, but maybe you can recognise one of your favourites.

We all wait to be led onto Owae Marae

Local school pupils wecome us with song
Monks join us as we are called onto the marae
Outside the carved wharenui (meeting house)
On this marae men go in first - not something I've experienced. I'm told by a local Maori photographer that it's because women are sacred, so are protected by the men leading the way: "no women, no children, no tribe ' he said. NOTE: I have not verifed his comment.
After each speech, it is supported by waiata ( song)
A welcome is always followed by a meal - Eliades Ochoa sits opposite me
Sitting beside me, Jenny, and Lester Stirling (The Skatalites) chatter over their meal

NOTE: This blog is one of a series about my recent  road trip to WOMAD 2010 (World of Music and Dance) held annually in New Plymouth and other parts of the world:  I was travelling in a Backpacker campervan, and on the Interislander ferry over Cook Strait – from Christchurch to WOMAD and back again: enjoy, and leave me a comment or two!

To find the other blogs about the trip, look up the categories to the right of this blog page: ie WOMAD; Interislander Ferry; Music; Campervan, Maori, and bookmark this page, or sign up for an email update for when I add new bogs n the series – they will include the Maori welcome to the artists, links to music by my favourites, cooking with some of the various singers, the Gyuto Monks with their mediations, singing and cooking, and of course, my road trip in the campervan, and lots of photos of people at WOMAD.

Shoes must be removed before entering the wharenui

Mariem Hassan at WOMAD 2010 New Plymouth

I caught this quiet moment between Mariem and her drummer and dancer (the ground drums are played by women) at the WOMAD welcome on the Owae marae in Waitara, New Zealand.

Let's dance! Mariem Hasan on TSB Bowl stage

Listen to Mariem here

This is the background info I was given about this talented woman:

“After more than 30 years of performing, Mariem Hassan is hailed as the true voice of the Western Sahara. Her people are Saharawis, living in exile within Algeria since Spain abandoned the Western Sahara in 1975 and their desert lands were claimed by Morocco. Within the Algerian refugee camps, women singers are recognised as pillars of strength, humanising the harsh living conditions through their powerful songs of hope. Mariem sings in Hassania, the language of her dessert homeland and deemed closest to classical Arabic. During the 1970s, Mariem joined forces with Matir el Uali Mustafa Sayed (more popularly known as El Uali), touring internationally with his band until she recorded her first solo album, Deseos, during 2005. In concert, her intense voice sits atop two electric guitars (substituting for the rustic tidinit) and two tebals (ground-drums played by women), melding ancient spiritual sounds with whispers of blues, reggae and other current music, driving her music into the 21st century. Different dances, performed by the percussionists, enrich a repertoire based on traditional and spiritual songs. Her solo fame has been further enhanced by a documentary film, Mariem Hassan, The Voice of the Sahara, released in 2008 at the Fisahara Festival.”  (I watched this film at WOMAD 2010 New Plymouth and it was moving –there’s no doubt this mother of five is a rebel with a  cause)

Website: www.myspace.com/saharafree.

Quite an interview: the translator is German and Mariem was speaking in Spanish

NOTE: This blog is one of a series about my recent  road trip to WOMAD 2010 (World of Music and Dance) held annually in New Plymouth and other parts of the world:  I was travelling in a Backpacker campervan, and on the Interislander ferry over Cook Strait – from Christchurch to WOMAD and back again: enjoy, and leave me a comment or two!

To find the other blogs about the trip, look up the categories to the right of this blog page: ie WOMAD; Interislander Ferry; Music; Campervan, Maori, and bookmark this page, or sign up for an email update for when I add new bogs n the series – they will include the Maori welcome to the artists, links to music by my favourites, cooking with some of the various singers, the Gyuto Monks with their mediations, singing and cooking, and of course, my road trip in the campervan, and lots of photos of people at WOMAD.

WOMAD 2010 – New Plymouth, NZ

Sign up for my blogs (add your email address on the right hand side of this blog) and the next few will be all about my road trip to WOMAD 2010, held annually in New Plymouth: traveling in a Backpacker campervan, and on the Interislander ferry over Cook Strait – from Christchurch to WOMAD and back again.

Here are a few photos to whet your appetite.

Waiting to board the ferry in Picton, South Island
everyone has their camera out on the ferry
Everyone has their camera out
Spending the night on Wellingtons wonderful waterfront
Spending the night on Wellington's wonderful waterfront
Opening act at WOMAD: Hypnotic Brass Ensemble
Its not all cooking - Gyuto Monks demonstrate their cooking skills
It's not all music:Gyuto Monks show their cooking skills
Let's dance!

Top tips for choosing & enjoying a campervan

Thanks to Backpacker for sending me these tips … only 12 more sleeps till I go campervaning !

I have a Wanderer booked with them

Once you’ve decided your destination, plan your travel route and choose the pick-up and drop-off locations that suit you. You have the option of a vehicle pick up and drop off at the same location or, if you want to keep your travel plans flexible, you can pick up from one location and drop off at another

  1. Where you can, plan ahead and book your trip early to avoid disappointment. Bookings are particularly heavy during peak travel periods so either book early or travel during an off peak period
  2. It’s really important to ensure you hire the right sized campervan to accommodate all your friends and family. Backpacker has 5 different models to choose from and staff are happy to assist you in choosing the model that best suits your needs
  3. Choose a campervan that suits your budget. With Backpacker campervans, you only pay for what you need, giving you the flexibility to pay for as much or as little as you want
  4. Decide what facilities you need and choose the campervan that meets your needs. A Backpacker Campervan is your ‘home on wheels’, and includes features such as gas stove, fridge and microwave and in most models, toilet and shower. With everything you need in the one campervan, you won’t find yourself making midnight trips to the toilet and queuing for the shower in the morning
  5. Are you taking kids?  Backpacker staff will be able to show you all the safety features such as safety barriers for top bunks and where baby and booster seats can be fitted. Do any of your kids require car seats? Not all campervans can accommodate all types of child restraint equipment. So, make sure you check when you book that your type of seats will fit. If you need to order car seats, Backpacker has a range of booster and baby seats available. These should be requested when you make your booking to ensure seats can be made available at the time of your trip
  6. Familiarise yourself with your vehicle and ask questions on pick up during your show through.  When using the campervan for a long period of time, it is important to feel totally comfortable operating and living in the vehicle. If you come across something you’re not sure about, there is a manual in each campervan with simple tips to ensure you have a stress-free holiday
  7. Pack outdoor furniture (you can hire picnic tables and chairs from Backpacker and they are included in the Backpacker Bonus Pack). And, don’t forget a torch and batteries, map, swimming gear and fuel discount receipts
  8. Ensure that you only take what you need – no over packing! The campervan space needs to be inhabitable at all times. It’s not like loading up the car and unloading after the drive

10.  Do a full supermarket shop after you have picked up the campervan.  You will find supermarkets located near all Backpacker branches. This will enable you to avoid eating out the entire holiday and ensures you always have a steady supply of snacks on hand wherever you are

11.  Work out the route you plan to take to your destination around ‘campervan’ convenient places to stop for lunch, breaks and activities. Plan your travelling distances each day carefully. Make sure you schedule a 15 minute break for every two hours travelled. And, don’t forget to stop and rest when tired

12.  Get on the road and settle at camp sites as early as possible. You don’t want to be unpacking in the dark.

13.  Finally, make the most of your time! Campervan trips are a great way for families and friends to see the country, enjoy each others’ company and make long-lasting memories

More  to follow as or after I have had my one-week holiday

freedom campers in new zealand

Freedom campers asked to assume nothing

2010 NOTE: you can, and likely will be, be given an instant fine for parking in places specifically marked “no overnight camping”  Camping includes – campervans, caravans, mobile homes, tent etc.

16 Sep 2009 New Zealand’s wide open spaces and unique environment provide a mecca for freedom campers but tourists are being advised to check with the locals before pitching a tent or parking their campervan.

“Assume nothing – always ask a local” is the message being touted by authorities keen to tidy up the presumption that anyone can camp anywhere in New Zealand.

In a united campaign, holidaymakers are being encouraged to check with i-SITEs, the Department of Conservation (DOC) Visitor Centres and Holiday Parks for local camping information to minimise any negative impacts.

And a recently launched website ‘camping our way, love NZ’ has become a one stop shop for campers seeking information on eco-wise practices, keeping safe, facilities, regional camping, what to do and where to stay in New Zealand.

Freedom camping
Freedom camping has become a popular way to enjoy New Zealand and sums up the practice of camping away from recognised camp sites.

It includes holidaymakers camping in caravans, buses, cars, tents or campervans and staying over in rest areas or reserves, at beaches, in car parks or at the side of the road.

While there are no statistics available to cover the number of people who freedom camp, it is recognised as a popular pursuit with both New Zealanders and international visitors.

Regional restrictions
Restrictions on freedom camping vary in each region. In some areas people can camp with relative freedom but in other places freedom camping is restricted to selected areas.

Each community tends to manage freedom camping in ways that are appropriate for them and many councils have bylaws to control the practice.

While freedom camping is seen as a way of bringing visitors into an area and adding value to the local economy, authorities believe it needs to be managed to care for New Zealand’s natural environment to preserve it for future generations.

Ask a local
The new “assume nothing, always ask a local” tourism initiative is the first time there has been a unified stance on how best to manage freedom camping.

Education helping campers to embrace the principle of kaitiakitanga (guardianship) and ‘camping our way’ is seen as the best way to get the message across and will be advertised at DOC visitor centres, i-SITE information centres around the country and at holiday parks.

Rental vehicle companies have also been asked to link to the ‘camping our way’ website and promote the message during their booking process.

NZ Freedom Camping Forum
The New Zealand Freedom Camping Forum (NZFCF) was formed in 2007 by the Tourism Industry Association New Zealand (TIA) and is developing a number of initiatives to help communities better manage freedom camping in their areas.

“Freedom camping is a popular way to enjoy New Zealand and we don’t want to prohibit people from travelling that way, but we do want to minimise the negative impacts,” said TIA advocacy manager Geoff Ensor.

Kaitiakitanga
The message echoes New Zealand tourism industry’s guiding principle of kaitiakitanga – guardianship and sustainable management of natural, built and cultural resources for the collective benefit of current and future generations.

“New Zealand is a beautiful country. Help keep our towns, cities, parks, beaches and native bush free from pollution and waste. Please also respect our unique flora and fauna. Be active and get involved in caring for the environment. It is everyone’s responsibility,” the ‘camping our way’ website reminds visitors.

These topics may also be of interest to you

check this warning out too …http://www.newzealand.com/travel/media/press-releases/2009/11/nature_curios-campers-beware-of-wildlife_press-release.cfm

Related Links
i-SITE Visitor Information Centres
The official New Zealand information centres for travellers.
Other Sites
DOC Campsites
Camping Our Way website

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