Changes to freedom camping site rules this summer

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

Whangarei District Council has banned freedom camping in some busy locations over the height of summer to protect the environment and ensure everyone who wants to spend a day at the beach can do so. 

Freedom camping vehicles tend to take up more space than a regular vehicle, and when they stay at a popular location for several days it compounds problems for other visitors. 

Council has opened up other sites for freedom campers during the height of the summer, while prohibiting freedom camping on popular beach areas along the Tutukaka Coast for the peak holiday season. 

The sites that will be closed to freedom camping from 18 December to 8 February are the designated sites at Whangaumu Wellingtons Bay, Kowharewarewa Bay, Matapōuri (Wehiwehi Road), Woolleys Bay and Sandy Bay. 

New sites for fully self contained vehicles have been designated at Hātea East Capark (year round), and at Tikipunga and Onerahi Sportsparks from 18 December to Northland / Auckland Anniversary day each year. For 2023, Northland anniversary Day is on Monday 30 January. 

Freedom camping

Council’s Health and Bylaws Manager Reiner Mussle said all other freedom camp sites and default sites would be open during this time, but would be under increased pressure. “I urge campers to book a spot at a commercial campground or other accommodation provider over this period to ensure they have a place to stay during the height of summer.” 

Mr Mussle said certified self-contained vehicles can stay for up to three nights anywhere else in our District where parking or camping are not prohibited, provided they use their onboard facilities and are considerate of residents and other road users.  

Council’s enforcement contractor, Armourguard, will monitor freedom campers throughout our District over the summer season to inform freedom campers, locals and day visitors of the changes and their intentions.