Camping in New Zealand is one of the most popular past times, both for visitors and locals. And why not! Mountains, beaches, rivers and lakes – all perfect for a night under the stars, in a tent or motorhome.
In New Zealand you’ll find wide variety of camping options, from Department of Conservation (DOC) campsites to fully serviced holiday parks. In many areas of the country Freedom Camping (camping in public places) is also allowed, but only in designated areas. Check first where these are, as otherwise you could be fined! Check our “where can I camp” information.
Well, that’s totally up to you! Motorhomes are certainly popular in New Zealand and typically they are pretty easy to drive. And there is something to be said for having your “home” always with you. One of the largest motorhome companies is Maui motorhomes with a large and modern fleet. There are also a number of cheaper options, such as Jucy campervans. Tents however are also hugely popular, simply cheaper and many prefer the “connection” with the outdoors.
As you’d expect, with New Zealanders being keen campers, there are a number of camping shops. The largest is a chain of stores through the main centres of New Zealand called Kathmandu. The gear is all their own brand, of a reasonable quality and generally affordable. They have frequent sales, and really that is the best (only?) time to buy from them, with 50% off in many cases.
Macpac also are another popular camping store, with many shops, and arguably slightly better quality than Kathmandu. Again, the gear is mostly their own brand and they have frequent sales.
If you are looking for a mix of a house brand and name brand camping equipment, another good option is Torpedo 7, which has a strong online presence, but also a number of retail shops. Again, they have many sales, so lookout for deal.
New Zealand generally is a very safe country to travel in, but like all travel, you do need to take precautions and plan your trip well. Most importantly, as an island nation New Zealand has changeable weather and you always need to be prepared. Even on short outdoor trips you should carry a waterproof jacket and warm clothing. For anything over a short walk, always let someone know where you are going and when you will be back.