Freedom camping can be one of the very best ways for motorhome travellers to experience a country, particularly one with legendary scenic delights like New Zealand. Unfortunately in recent times New Zealand has had a rocky relationship with freedom campers, with an irresponsible few ignoring regulations, camping in restricted areas and leaving campsites in a mess. However, one of the country’s top summer holiday regions has turned this trend around in an encouraging development for all those planning on freedom camping with a campervan hire in NZ.
The Coromandel region is celebrating an excellent start to summer, with freedom camping infringements significantly down over the December 2016 - January 2017 period compared to last year, dropping from 520 to 297.
“This is an extremely positive result, as our bylaws officers are not using any different tactics to previous years and it would appear that the message is getting out to freedom campers about the appropriate places for this type of camping on the Coromandel,” said Barry Smedts, Environment Manager Thames Coromandel District Council.
There are many Council owned or managed sites across the Coromandel where freedom camping is permitted, as long as you’re using a certified self-contained vehicle. Fortunately for curious motorhome holidaymakers hunting for somewhere to park up for the night, prohibited or restricted sites are clearly signposted. Those planning a trip to the Coromandel in the near future can get all their ducks in a row at the Thames Coromandel District Council’s freedom camping webpage.
Coromandel has become an increasingly welcoming place for those booking a motorhome rental in New Zealand - just last year two of its popular tourist towns, Whangamata and Whitianga received a ‘motorhome friendly’ certification from the New Zealand Motor Caravan Association (NZMCA), joining the previously certified Coromandel Town. NZMCA CEO Bruce Lochore said of the region’s motorhome friendly destinations, “Official recognition as Motorhome Friendly will encourage more of our members and international visitors to stop, stay and spend. And for motorhomers, the towns’ status as Motorhome Friendly is a clear indication that they can expect a warm welcome.”
To better deal with the few freedom campers who aren’t complying with the rules, the Thames Coromandel District Council last year teamed up with Tourism Holdings Limited, Jucy Rentals and Local Government NZ for an innovative trial. Launched in September last year, the trial tested whether it’s effective for fines to be collected when people return their New Zealand motorhome rentals. This is partially intended to counteract the number of international visitors who would accrue fines and then simply leave the country. The trial comes to an end at the close of the New Zealand summer.
If you’re keen to discover for yourself the freedom camping opportunities that the Coromandel has in store, booking a certified self-contained motorhome rental in New Zealand is an absolute must.