Freedom camping

Photo of Whangarei District Council freedom camping signs at a beach.

We ask all freedom campers to abide by the current Covid-19 Alert Level restrictions and actions as specified by the New Zealand Government.

COVID19 - New Zealand Government

Camping can be a popular way to stay in Whangārei District, especially in summer time but it works well for campers, residents and the general public only when the rules are followed. This includes:

  • not camping in some areas
  • sticking to time limits in others
  • a range of other requirements.

Failing to comply with the rules can result in a $200 fine under the Freedom Camping Act or an $800 fine under the Reserves Act.  Follow the rules and avoid a fine.  

The rules and camping locations are different for people staying in:

Our Camping in Public Places bylaw regulates camping in Council controlled public places in our District, but it does not regulate camping on Department of Conservation land, commercial campgrounds or other privately owned public spaces (e.g. supermarket carparks). 

You can be fined $200 if you do not comply with the rules.

Tips and notices for all campers

  1. Keep your campsite clean and tidy - leave no sign of your stay when you leave.
  2. Collect your rubbish and recycling then use a transfer station or dump station to dispose of it.
  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.

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.

Below are the sites where you can camp.

Location Number of spaces Max Stay
A H Reed Memorial Park - Whareora Road(PDF, 304KB) 2 marked sites 1 night
Bascule carpark - Port Road(PDF, 241KB) 8 marked sites (4 for large, wide vans, 4 for small vans) 3 nights
Beach Road reserve - Onerahi(PDF, 265KB) As many as can fit safely into the site - around 4 1 night
Finlayson Street / Reyburn House Lane carpark(PDF, 278KB)  8 marked sites 3 nights
Kowharewa Bay(PDF, 287KB) As many as can fit safely into the site - around 4 1 night
Manaia Walkway carpark - Whangārei Heads(PDF, 285KB) As many as can fit safely into the site - 2 to 3 1 night
Marsden Bay Reserve(PDF, 262KB) As many as can fit safely into the site - around 8 to 10 1 night
Matapōuri - Wehiwehi Road(PDF, 275KB) As many as can fit safely into the site - around 4 1 night
Ngunguru Library - Ngunguru Road(PDF, 277KB)  As many as can fit safely into the site 1 night
Ocean Beach carpark(PDF, 266KB)
 As many as can fit safely into the site - around 4  1 night
One Tree Point - boatramp carpark(PDF, 227KB)  4 sites 1 night
Parua Bay(PDF, 229KB) As many as can fit safely into the site - around 15 1 night
Reotahi(PDF, 278KB) As many as can fit safely into the site - up to 3 1 night
Ruakākā Beach reserve - Ruakākā(PDF, 288KB) As many as can fit safely into the site - around 6 1 night
Sandy Bay(PDF, 256KB)
(toilet block carpark / grass area)
As many as can fit safely into the site - around 4 1 night
Tamaterau(PDF, 254KB) As many as can fit safely into the site - 4 to 5 1 night
Tarewa i-Site - Tarewa Road(PDF, 330KB) 6 marked sites for small vehicles 1 night
Waipu Caves(PDF, 251KB) As many as can fit safely into the site - many 1 night
Wellingtons Bay - Whangaumu Reserve(PDF, 304KB) As many as can fit safely into the site - around 4 1 night
Whananaki North(PDF, 263KB) As many as can fit safely into the site - around 3 1 night
Otuihau / Whangārei Falls scenic reserve - Tikipunga(PDF, 279KB) 4 marked sites 1 night
Woolleys Bay - Western carpark(PDF, 250KB) As many as can fit safely into the site - around 6 1 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 of Council's public places, 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 dump stations available.

Camping in a non-self contained vehicle

If you are camping in a vehicle or a caravan that is not certified as self-contained, you may camp at the locations below.

Location Number of spaces Max Stay
A H Reed Memorial Park - Whareora Road(PDF, 304KB) 2 marked sites 1 night
Bascule carpark - Port Road(PDF, 241KB) 8 marked sites (4 for large, wide vans, 4 for small vans) 3 nights
Kowharewa Bay(PDF, 287KB) As many as can fit safely into the site - around 4 1 night
Manaia Walkway carpark - Whangārei Heads(PDF, 285KB) As many as can fit safely into the site - 2 to 3 1 night
Marsden Bay Reserve(PDF, 262KB) As many as can fit safely into the site - around 8 to 10 1 night
Matapōuri - Wehiwehi Road(PDF, 275KB) As many as can fit safely into the site - around 4 1 night
Ngunguru Library - Ngunguru Road(PDF, 277KB) As many as can fit safely into the site  1 night
Ocean Beach carpark(PDF, 266KB) As many as can fit safely into the site - around 4 1 night
One Tree Point - boatramp carpark(PDF, 227KB) 4 sites 1 night
Parua Bay(PDF, 229KB) As many as can fit safely into the site - around 15 1 night
Reotahi(PDF, 278KB) As many as can fit safely into the site - up to 3 1 night
Sandy Bay(PDF, 256KB)
(toilet block carpark / grass area)
As many as can fit safely into the site - around 4 1 night
Tamaterau(PDF, 254KB) As many as can fit safely into the site - 4 to 5 1 night
Tarewa i-Site - Tarewa Road(PDF, 330KB) 6 marked sites for small vehicles 1 night
Waipu Caves(PDF, 251KB) As many as can fit safely into the site - many 1 night
Wellingtons Bay - Whangaumu Reserve(PDF, 304KB) As many as can fit safely into the site - around 4 1 night
Whananaki North(PDF, 263KB) As many as can fit safely into the site - around 3 1 night
Woolleys Bay - Western carpark(PDF, 250KB) As many as can fit safely into the site - around 6 1 night

Camping in a tent

There are six areas you can camp in a tent on public land.

Location Number of spaces Max Stay
Parua Bay(PDF, 229KB) As many as can fit safely into the site - around 15 1 night
Reotahi(PDF, 278KB) As many as can fit safely into the site - up to 3 1 night
Sandy Bay(PDF, 256KB)
(toilet block carpark / grass area)
As many as can fit safely into the site - around 4 1 night
Tamaterau(PDF, 254KB) As many as can fit safely into the site - 4 to 5 1 night
Tarewa i-Site - Tarewa Road(PDF, 330KB) 6 marked sites for small vehicles 1 night
Waipu Caves(PDF, 251KB) As many as can fit safely into the site - many 1 night

Public and commercial campgrounds

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

For information on Department of Conservation (DOC) campgrounds visit their website.

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.

If in doubt, please ask! You can find out more at our visitor information centre:

Responsible Freedom Camping Ambassadors

Our ambassadors visit popular freedom-camping sites and help campers to feel welcome and to understand the rules. Having someone tell visitors about where to dispose of rubbish or how long they can stay makes them more likely to follow through. They might also ask about fun things to do in the area!

Volunteers are given training and access to everything they need to do a good job.

Learn more