While places like Napier and the Western Bay of Plenty are looking to tighten laws and regulations around freedom camping, Auckland is actually making moves to expand options for freedom campers this summer. As it stands, there are 12 different sites around Auckland where freedom camping is permitted, but a new proposed trial is in the works that could more than double that number (at least temporarily) by February.
Around 60 sites are under consideration for inclusion in the pilot programme, although this is expected to be cut down to around 15 to 20 by the time local boards have looked over the proposed sites. This is exciting news for those planning to make the most of the hot summer weather with a campervan holiday around Auckland, however not everyone is pleased about the plans. Some local board members are saying that it’s all happening too fast, and that the pilot is likely to receive pushback from members of the public.
If the freedom camping pilot scheme does go ahead, sites which make the cut are likely to be upgraded with new facilities such as toilets and parking in January. The trial itself is set to take place in February and March, with an assessment in April to figure out whether these sites are worthy to be made available to freedom campers on a permanent basis.
The proposed trial is an Auckland Council initiative that was developed in response to unsatisfactory freedom camping conditions such as overcrowding and illegal camping. If you’re tempted to take advantage of the potential increase in Auckland freedom camping options over the 2017 summer period, there are a few things you should keep in mind. These sites are only being proposed on a trial basis, so the people who use them in February/March will have a big impact on whether or not they end up being available for freedom campers in the future. This means that treating them with care and respect is even more important than usual. One of the easiest ways to do this is by opting for a self-contained motorhome rental, which ensures that you have as little impact as possible on your camping site. And of course it’s always essential to leave the place in the same condition that you found it, allowing other campers to enjoy the same experience that you’ve had.