Can I camp in New Zealand?
New Zealand is an excellent place for camping and it’s a popular pastime with many Kiwis. The popularity of camping has helped to ensure there are a huge number of well managed camp sites available from the remote DOC (department of conservation) camps to commercial camping grounds (sometimes referred to as motor camps),
Getting kitted out is easy and there’s a range of retailers in all fair sized towns and cities.
DOC camping grounds are ideal for those looking to get “beyond the tourist trail” and they operate over 120 campgrounds, often located in stunning spots near lakes, mountains and coasts. You will find facilities pretty basic but the prices are very affordable and most sites have running cold water, toilets and fireplaces.
Payment is on a first come, first served basis and you may also find cabin and huts available in many camps for a little extra. http://www.doc.govt.nz/templates/defaultlanding.aspx?id=37038
Commercial camps and holiday parks can be found throughout the country with a few major chains, such as TOP 10, operating nationwide. Facilities are generally of a high standard with communal kitchens, dining areas and many with games and TV rooms.
What makes camp sites in New Zealand so appealing is the excellent locations so look carefully, you can often end up with a view far beyond anything you could expect from a hostel room!
Its also worth noting that you can camp in the grounds of some hostels. This is usually cheaper than staying in a dorm but lets you use the facilities! Have a look in the BBH blue book or ask at out of town hostels.
When to Go
The best weather is from January to March with warm temperatures and less rain. The periods around Christmas are always particularly busy with school holidays and to be avoided if possible.