Freedom Camping Wanaka

Imagine waking up to the sight of crystal-clear lakes mirroring the snow-capped peaks while you breathe in the crisp mountain air. That’s just the beginning of what awaits you when you head out on a freedom camping trip to Wanaka. But where are the best freedom camping spots in Wanaka that you can call home for the night?

To make finding that perfect place easier and to remove some of the confusing rules about freedom camping in Wanaka, we’ve put together this ultimate guide. Below, you’ll find a list of specific campsites and the amenities they offer, along with information on where freedom camping isn’t allowed in Wanaka.

Wanaka Freedom Camping Spots

  1. Red Bridge Campground
  2. Raspberry Creek Freedom Campground
  3. Crown Rang Summit Freedom Campground

Before we get into the specifics, it’s worth noting that while these campgrounds are suitable for freedom camping, they are in remote locations and this means that they are best visited by campervan.

Talk to the team at Travellers Autobarn today about hiring a campervan, and we’ll help you get started with your Wanaka freedom camping adventure!

Red Bridge Campground

Red Bridge Campground

Hawea Flat, Wanaka

Red Bridge Campground is a great spot for getting away from it all, and it offers free spaces for a self contained vehicle to park for up to three nights. There are also non-flush toilets here, which means you don’t necessarily need to be in a self-contained vehicle, but that’s all of the amenities on offer, so you’ll need to be confident with self-sufficient camping.

This campground is in very close proximity to Wanaka and it takes just a 12 minute drive to get here. Once you arrive, you’ll find an open gravel car park that will essentially be your home throughout your stay, but the surrounding area offers excellent walking trails that are just begging to be explored, including a couple that take you straight to Lake Wanaka.


  • Non-Flush Toilets

Raspberry Creek Freedom Campground

Raspberry Creek Freedom Campground

Mount Aspiring, Wanaka

Located in the Matukituki Valley and offering amazing views of Aspiring National Park, Raspberry Creek Freedom Campground is the perfect place to enjoy freedom camping if you’re planning to spend your days hiking and exploring the natural beauty of your surroundings.

This site is only suitable for self contained vehicles, and there are designated areas for you to park in. There are also basic facilities, but you’ll find a toilet block with untreated water and no-flush toilets that are free to use.


  • Non-Flush Toilets
  • Untreated Water

Crown Range Summit Freedom Campground

Crown Rang Summit Freedom Campground

For the camper who really wants to get back to nature, Crown Range Summit Freedom Campground is an ideal spot. Suitable for a self contained campervan only, you won’t find any amenities here, but you will be offered some of the best views in all of New Zealand’s South Island.

Not only will you find yourself surrounded by walking trails and natural beauty, but this campsite doubles as a lookout and this provides you with a great view of The Remarkables in the distance. It’s also really easy to access as it’s just off the road between Wanaka and Queenstown, making it super convenient for anyone looking for a permitted place to freedom camp.


  • No Amenities – Self Contained Vehicles Only

A Note on Freedom Camping in Wanaka

Note on Freedom Camping in Wanaka

It’s fair to say there aren’t very many named spots to freedom camp in Wanaka, and this is because under a bylaw imposed by Queenstown Lakes District Council, freedom camping or “parking up” is not permitted in an occupied vehicle overnight in a public place or in any town.

In fact, breaking this bylaw can result in a $200 fine or your vehicle being clamped. With this in mind, it’s best to either stick to the sites we’ve detailed above (in which freedom camping is allowed) or take a look at this map provided by Queenstown Lakes District Council that shows unnamed areas where freedom camping isn’t permitted (highlighted in pink).

Freedom camping in Wanaka is an experience like no other, and if you’re looking for an adventure and a chance to save money, then it’s definitely something you should consider doing for your next holiday.

However, to get the chance to wake up to stunning views of the mountains and really embrace the great outdoors, you’ll need to hire a campervan for your Wanaka freedom camping adventure.

Speak with the team at Travellers Autobarn today, and we’ll give you the full details on which campervan would best suit your needs. Before you know it, you’ll be hitting the road and taking in everything that Wanaka has to offer!

Freedom Camping in New Zealand – Important Information

While freedom camping in New Zealand is undeniably one of the best ways to see everything this beautiful country has to offer, there are some important things you need to know.

  1. Almost all freedom camping sites are only suitable for self contained vehicles, and hiring these can be 10%-40% more expensive compared to non self contained vehicles. This is something you’ll need to think about when planning your budget.
  2. Freedom camping sites typically have very limited amenities (some even have none at all), and even during the summer, temperatures can fall as low as 0°C overnight.
  3. Most freedom camping sites operate on a first-come-first-served basis, so there can be a certain level of stress when trying to find a space.
  4. Department of Conservation (DOC) campsites allow you to extend your stay beyond the usual limit as long you have a DOC Campsite Pass. Many people find these hugely beneficial, and for as little as $95 per person, you can stay for up to 30 nights.
About the Author

Bastian Graf

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.

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