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NZ campervan hire suppliers crack down on dodgy freedom camping

Freedom camping can be a great way to travel, but if you flout the rules you could be hearing from your rental supplier.

New Zealand local government and major motorhome rental supplier Tourism Holdings Limited (THL) have teamed up to work on a fresh solution to campervan hirers who flout freedom camping laws. THL, which operates the Maui, Britz and Mighty rental campervan brands, is trialling a scheme in which infringement fines from illegal freedom camping will be collected by THL. In practice, this means that the fine will be added to the customer’s credit card bill when the rental is returned, in addition to an admin fee. 

Local councils have acknowledged that many practicing freedom camping with a campervan hire in NZ are well behaved but they also put forward that an irresponsible few are casting a stigma over the whole practice. Fines have been going unpaid, with many leaving the country without fronting up, hence the new initiative. Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) President Lawrence Yule says that support from the tourism industry is imperative to successfully improve the management of freedom camping in communities throughout New Zealand. “Tourism operators have multiple touchpoints with tourists and as such are perfectly placed for assisting local councils with educating customers, enforcement and collection of fines,” Mr Yule says.

Grant Webster, the CEO of THL, said that Tourism Holdings Limited was happy to work with councils, and was also committed to a proactive approach to the issue. “We have taken a strong educational approach to responsible camping to date; ensuring customers have the Campermate app at hand that informs them of all approved designated overnight parking spots, commercial campsites and DOC sites,” said Mr Webster. 

New Zealand is one of the best places in the world for freedom camping - not only is the natural scenery delightful to be amongst, but there are many, many places where freedom camping is permitted. Of course, this doesn’t give campervan holidaymakers permission to use these places as a dump. In fact, the general rule when it comes to freedom camping is to leave the site exactly as you found it. Sticking to these guidelines means you can still find some gorgeous places to park up your motorhome rental in New Zealand without worrying about nasty fines when you return your rental - plus, you’ll be ensuring that others who come after you can enjoy the country’s pristine beauty too. 


If you like the idea of freedom camping around New Zealand in a motorhome rental but aren’t totally sure what you want to see or do along the way, take a look at these New Zealand motorhome itineraries to kickstart your travel inspiration. Once you are decided on your travel plans, you just need to pick up your campervan from whichever city you like including Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown, amongst many other pick up locations.

Other New Zealand cities and town guides

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