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Freedom Camping

Image for the Freedom Camping page.
This page tells you about camping in public places on Council land.
Updated: 23/06/2020 12:00 a.m.
Picture of self-contained certification on a windscreen.

Self-Contained Vehicle certification.

Freedom Camping Survey

The survey closed on Monday 22 June 2020.

Thank you to everyone who completed our survey.


Freedom Campers: Introduction

Freedom Camping can be a popular way to stay in the Whangarei District, especially in summer time. Because of the high demand for freedom camping spots in Whangarei (especially in summer) we have rules and guidelines for campers to follow.

The rules and camping locations are different for people staying in tents, vehicles, or certified Self-Contained vehicles.

Our top 5 tips for all campers:

  1. Keep your campsite clean and tidy - leave no sign of your stay when you leave.
  2. Dispose of waste correctly – use a transfer station or dump station.
  3. Care for the environment, wildlife and public facilities such as toilets, signs and fences.
  4. Confirm that you are allowed to camp in your spot – from the maps below, a sign at the site, a freedom camping ambassador, or an iSite.
  5. Consider other people nearby – share the space, keep noise to a minimum.


Picture of two young freedom campers preparing their van for camping near a beach.
Freedom Campers must take all rubbish with them when they leave.

Where can you stay in Whangarei District? 

Our Camping in Public Places Bylaw regulates camping in Council controlled public places in our District. 

It does not regulate camping on Department of Conservation land or other privately owned public spaces (e.g supermarket carparks).  

Please read the information on this page carefully. You can be fined $200 if you do not comply with the rules.

This page provides you with an overview of the rules for different types of camping and pdf maps of the prohibited areas and areas with designated sites, as well as a link to an interactive map with the same information.

Camping in a self-contained vehicle

If you are certified self-contained (which means you have an approved wastewater system and holding tank) and you have a certificate and a warrant to prove it, you can camp in many places in our District.

There are four sites that have a restricted area where you can camp (see Schedule 2 below).

At three of these sites you can only stay overnight for one night. You can also stay in the areas for non self-contained camping, but you must comply with all site restrictions.

You can stay for a maximum of three nights in any other WDC public place, except for the prohibited areas. 

Once you have reached the limit of your stay, you must move at least one kilometre away for your next stay and not return for at least four weeks.

Your self-containment certificate allows you to stay ‘off the beaten track’, and we encourage this.

Please empty your holding tanks at one of the dumpstations available.  Follow the link below to see where these are located in our District.

Camping in a non self-contained vehicle

If you camping in a vehicle or a caravan that is not self-contained, there are 18 areas you can stay, but you must park within the designated site (see Schedule 3 below).  

The maximum stay is one night, except for the Bascule carpark, where you can stay for up to three nights.

Camping in a tent

There are six areas you can camp in a tent on public land (see Schedule 4 below).  You can stay for one night only.

Maps showing where you can camp

The schedules below show locations as pdf maps.

Alternatively, you can click on the link to the interactive map. This will take you to a new page and you can zoom in and out to view all of the prohibitions and restrictions in the District.

Camping in Public Places interactive map

PDF maps of all prohibited areas and areas with designated sites

S1-01 Bland Bay Reserve Map [275.5kb]
S1-02 Drummond Park Scenic Reserve - Parihaka Lookout Carpark Map [325.6kb]
S1-03 Eliott Reserve Map [309.1kb]
S1-04 Herekino Street - service lane and carpark behind 4-22 Herekino Street Map [304kb]
S1-05 Hikurangi Sportspark Map [297.4kb]
S1-06 Hora Hora Sportspark Map [312.9kb]
S1-07 Kamo Sportspark Map [344.8kb]
S1-08 Kensington Park Map [332.6kb]
S1-09 Koropupu Community Sportspark - Springs Flat Map [314.7kb]
S1-10 Langs Beach - Cove Road beach access and carpark area Map [296kb]
S1-11 Mander Park Map [348.9kb]
S1-12 Marsden Point Wharf Map [258.8kb]
S1-13 Matapouri - Morrison Road carpark Map [309.5kb]
S1-14 Mcleod Bay – playground and reserve area Map [268.2kb]
S1-15 Mcleod Bay – Stuart Road All Road Reserve Map [269.7kb]
S1-16 Morningside Sportspark Map [301.3kb]
S1-17 Moureeses Bay Recreation Reserve Map [264.6kb]
S1-18 Ngunguru School Map [284.2kb]
S1-19 Onerahi Beach Reserve - between Cliff Street and Johnson Street Map [277.4kb]
S1-20 Onerahi Sportspark Map [269.6kb]
S1-21 Otaika Sportspark Map [254.3kb]
S1-22 Otangarei Number 1 Reserve Map [317.1kb]
S1-23 Otangarei Sportspark Map [334kb]
S1-24 Pataua South - bridge carpark and reserve area Map [260.3kb]
S1-25 Port Road - service lane and carpark area behind 11-67 Port Road Map [306.5kb]
S1-26 Portland Recreation Reserve Map [283.4kb]
S1-27 Ruakaka - Princes Road Reserve Map [266.1kb]
S1-28 Ruakaka Recreation Grounds Map [287kb]
S1-29 Taiharuru Map [273.6kb]
S1-30 Takahiwai Sportspark Map [239.6kb]
S1-31 Teal Bay and Ngawai Bay - Teal Bay Recreation Reserve Map [257.4kb]
S1-32 Tikipunga Sportspark Map [311.9kb]
S1-33 Tutukaka Marina Reserve Map [298.9kb]
S1-34 Urquharts Bay Map [292.7kb]
S1-35 Whananaki - Mangaiti Reserve Map [278.2kb]
S1-36 Whau Valley Dam Map [288.7kb]
S1-37 William Fraser Memorial Park on Pohe Island Map [293.5kb]
S1-38 Woolleys Bay - Eastern Carpark Map [276.6kb]

Driver fatigue

There is a difference between freedom camping and resting on the roadside if you are tired. 

If you are too tired to keep driving, then please find a safe place to pull off the road and rest before moving on.

Public and commercial campgrounds

For information on campgrounds in our District, please visit our whangareinz website.


For information on Department of Conservation (DOC) campgrounds please click on the link below.

You can also obtain a weekly campsite pass from DOC, where you can save up to 50% on many of DOC's campsites.

If you are an NZMCA member you can get a special DOC/NZMCA campsite pass. Follow the links below for more information.

Department of Conservation

DOC weekly campsite pass

DOC/NZMCA campsite pass

If in doubt, please ask! You can find out more at:

Whangarei i-site 

Camping in Public Places Bylaw

To read the full Camping in Public Places Bylaw, please follow the link below:


Whangarei District Council owns this website and the information, images and photographs in it are subject to copyright. No portion may be copied or republished without prior permission of Whangarei District Council. We have made every reasonable effort to provide accurate and reliable information. The use of any information is at the website visitor’s own risk and discretion.