New Zealand is one of the most naturally spectacular countries on earth. So, it’s no doubt more travellers are booking a campervan and exploring the great outdoors since there’ so much on offer here. If you plan on hiring a campervan for your trip around New Zealand, you might be wondering how to find campgrounds and which ones allow you to ‘freedom camp’ and camp for free.
There are strict laws in New Zealand which determine where you can and cannot freedom camp, which normally depends on the location and whether your vehicle is self-contained. Luckily, we live in the age of technology, so access to information is right at our fingertips. We have put together a list of our top 4 apps to help you freedom camp your way across the country!
There’s always a slight panic when you’re taking a camping trip that you may not be able to find somewhere suitable to settle down for the night. With CamperMate, you can let go of that worry. With a bank of thousands of campsites throughout New Zealand, it will recommend and guide you to a safe resting place with clear directions. It also features offline maps, so even if you lose service on the road, you won’t get lost.
As well as being able to get you to safe camping grounds, CamperMate will point out useful amenities along the road, including rest areas, public toilets, garages, shops, and more.
All of this goes to prove that it’s a super useful app for any camper. But it also has some other amazing features. One of our favourite CamperMate features is the activity-search function, which allows you to look for fun things to do by region. You can even book tours and experiences directly through the app, and some even offer discounts for using CamperMate.
You can save your favourite destinations and activities to a “favourites” list as well, making it easy to find them and cutting out the need to search for them all over again.
Rankers Camping NZ
Camping NZ is an official New Zealand app for camping, so you can be sure the information is trustworthy and reliable. This app has a lot of information on individual campsites, making finding what you need to know very easily. You can also book campsites ahead via the app if required. Like most other apps, Camping NZ also relies on user-generated information on campsites such as photos and reviews of the sites.
WikiCamps is a great app for finding campsites in New Zealand. A great benefit of WikiCamps, you’re able to download the maps for offline and it allows you to navigate and get directions to sites, directly from the app. The difference between WikiCamps and some others is that is has a lot of other useful features. It has a compass, a camping checklist, world time zone clock, and other great camping features. Unfortunately, this is not a free app, it costs $2.99.
NZ DOC Campsite Finder
The Department of Conservation (DOC) manages more than 200 campsites throughout New Zealand. From sites by the lakeside and sandy beaches to forest settings, and everything from basic free campsites to serviced campsites. NZ DOC Campsite Finder app is a helpful tool for locating these sites. The app is quite basic and directs you to pages on the DOC website. However, it’s very user-friendly compared to having to navigate the website yourself, and a fabulous way of finding DOC campsites – which are perfect for freedom camping.
We would recommend everyone downloads at least one of these apps before setting off on your campervan journey. Even if you do not plan on freedom camping, these apps are great for finding paid caravan parks and advise you on which have amenities such as toilets, dump stations and communal kitchens. They are a must-have on any holiday!
Bastian is the Sales & Marketing Manager here at Travellers Autobarn. He holds a Master of Commerce in Marketing and International Business Management, and 20+ years experience in campervan hire, road trips and travel.