New Zealand Campervan Sites

I have stayed at quite a few New Zealand campervan sites while on tour in NZ, North and South Islands. If you like camper vans you will absolutely love it in New Zealand.

Campervan sites across the country are consistently clean and well equipped to cater for your overnight stay.

After enjoying driving through the stunning scenery or visiting the attractions this country has to offer, what you need is somewhere safe to park up overnight, refill your water and empty your waste tank, talk to some other travellers and locals, and spend the evening relaxing and thinking about where you are going to be driving to the next day.

New Zealand campervan sites usually have a communal kitchen if you don’t want to sit on your own in your campervan.

Campervan site at Hamner Springs
Campervan site at Hamner Springs

Equipped with fridges and freezers, ovens and microwaves, tables and chairs, cutlery and pans, and even condiments and sauces that you can use for free.

You can chat with fellow travellers while you are cooking and eating, get some ideas about places to visit.

You never know who you are going to meet and it all makes for an amazing camping experience. Alternatively, you can cook in the privacy of your own motor home and have a quiet evening.

Camp Grounds

Camping sites across NZ are excellent and cater for travellers much better than in a lot of other countries. Most sites have toilet and shower blocks, dump stations, fresh water supplies, washing machines, and kitchens with cooking and fridge facilities.

Although many New Zealand campervan sites will include a shop where you can purchase food supplies such as eggs and milk, it is more cost efficient to buy your main shopping from a supermarket as small camp shops are likely to be slightly more expensive.

There are also free Department of Conservation (DOC) camp grounds but there will be less in the way of facilities and they do vary quite a lot. Some include a long drop toilet, may include a tap and water supply if you are lucky, whereas others do not provide anything except an area to park your vehicle or pitch a tent.

If there are toilets and other facilities on free camping grounds you will sometimes see an honesty box where you can give a small contribution to help with the maintenance and upkeep of these facilities.

Campervan, Lake Outlet Holiday Park, Lake Wanaka, New Zealand
Lake Outlet Holiday Park, Lake Wanaka, New Zealand

Categories of Camping Sites

As with anywhere, not all New Zealand campervan sites are exactly the same. You can generally categorise the sites into three types.

Commercial Camping Sites

There are plenty of commercially run camp sites across both islands for you to choose from. Of these, probably around three quarters are Holiday Accommodation Parks of New Zealand (HAPNZ) members. You will find that most of these commercial sites have kitchens, showers and toilet blocks, dump stations for emptying your waste water, and powered sites with power points where you can plug in to the mains and recharge your camper van battery.

Powered Site - Campervan Plugged into Power on a Campervan Site in New Zealand
Powered Site - Campervan Plugged into Power on a Campervan Site in New Zealand

Local Council Camping Sites

There are some council run camping sites dotted around the country.

Department of Conservation (DOC) Camping Sites

Cycling and road sign, No overnight parking or camping - Photographer: Roy Sinclair
Photographer: Roy Sinclair

DOC has sites set aside for camping and among those there are a couple of hundred that are accessible to vehicles.

DOC sites are usually fairly basic and informal but there are services sites available too.

Of the three types, informal, standard, and serviced, only the serviced and the majority of the standard are actually suitable for campervans.

The informal sites either won’t be accessible because they are purposefully located in romote places and more for walkers than drivers, or they won’t be suitable to cater for campervan needs such as power and dump stations.

Waste and Rubbish

You will need to find a dump station every day to dump your waste water. Please do not dump waste water at the side of roads, respect the countryside and use the official dump stations for grey water or toilet waste.

Please also try to adhere to the recycling policies of the areas you visit. At most New Zealand camping sites you will find you can split your rubbish into plastics, metal, food waste etc. and there will be different containers provided for you to put your rubbish into.

Seasons

Be aware that some New Zealand campervan sites will only be open for part of the year. This is particularly relevant in the winter months and more so in the South Island where it is colder and if located in the mountain regions.

Check out Campervan New Zealand and my page on New Zealand Seasons...