The West Coast is blessed with an abundance of secluded and scenic spots ideal for freedom camping, where camping is done in a location without facilities and is not a designated campground.
Freedom camping rules
In order to maintain the privileges of freedom camping and ensure the protection of our environment, it is important everyone camps responsibly and observes local freedom camping-related rules.
You are responsible for learning what bylaws exist.
- Freedom camping overnight is prohibited at sites displaying no camping signs, including the below sign:
- Freedom camping overnight is allowed for self contained vehicles at sites displaying the below sign:
Freedom camping in a prohibited or restricted area can result in a $200 infringement fee which must be paid prior to departing New Zealand.
Freedom camping on conservation land
Freedom camping is permitted on Department of Conservation public conservation land, except in areas where it is expressly prohibited or restricted to self contained vehicles.
This is indicated by signage.
Freedom camping on private land, near roads and towns
Each district on the West Coast has different bylaws concerning where Freedom Camping is allowed.
These are based on the Freedom Camping Act 2011. It is best to contact the local Councils to see what is allowed and what is prohibited or the local Visitor Information Centres.
Many areas are also signposted. Again, it is solely your responsibility to know what bylaws exist and abide by them.
Find out more on the District Council websites:
- Camp away from the region’s town centres and residential areas.
- Dispose of your wastewater at one of the regional dump stations.
- Only dispose of your rubbish in bins provided
- Do not light any fires.
- Leave the area as you found it, free of litter and damage.
- Stay a maximum of two nights.
Part of keeping the West Coast and New Zealand beautiful is to be responsible with your waste wherever you camp. Carry in, carry out. Leave no trace.
Don't ruin your holiday as non-compliance can result in a $200 infringement fee or a maximum $10,000 fine if prosecuted. And nobody likes finding a stack of toilet paper next to a pristine lake! Below is an AA link of all the dump stations along the West Coast so you can be a responsible camper.
New World car park in Westport
From Westport/Victoria Square: Head west on SH67 then turn left onto Palmerston St, approx. 260m turn into New World carpark on the right. Owned by New World; must use outside trading hours as access is limited. Restrictions: Connections 50mm cam lock only; 100mm open pipe suitable for cassettes; tap washing available for cassettes in basin. No porta potties.
Countdown in Westport
From SH67/Palmerston St: Head north, turn right onto Fonblanque St. Destination is approx. 180m on right. Owned by Countdown; please use outside trading hours as access is limited. Restrictions: No access for large vehicles when carpark is full. Porta potties & small vans only.
Main Road Blackball Greymouth
From Greymouth: Turn left onto South Town Belt Road and dump station is adjacent sports domain.
Nelson Creek Domain in Greymouth
From SH7: Head northeast, turn right onto Nelson Creek Rd, travel approx. 6kms. Destination is on left, opposite 624 Nelson Creek Rd. Additional Information: Camp jointly run by DOC and local community. Historic walks. Restrictions: NZMCA/DOC Campsite pass NOT accepted.
Runanga Workingmen's Club
From Greymouth/SH6: Follow SH6 approx. 8kms, turn right onto Ward St. Take 2nd left, turn onto McGowan St then turn right at T intersection onto Pitt St. Destination is on the right.
Cobden Bridge in Greymouth
From intersection with SH7 in Greymouth township: Travel north on SH6, cross over the Cobden Bridge. Continue to intersection with sign on right "Weld St" and sign on left "No Exit". Turn left 40m to T intersection, turn left, 140m to parking area.
Oxidation ponds in Hokitika
From Hokitika: On SH6 travel approx. 2kms north.
Ross Goldfields Information & Heritage Centre
From SH6: At Moorhouse St intersection, continue straight ahead onto Aylmer St. Destination on left, through carpark to rear of Information Centre. Restrictions: Small to medium sized vehicles only.
Glacier Motors Mobil Service Station
From SH6: Head north, turn right onto Condon St. Located immediately left on the corner.
Marks Road in Haast
From SH6/Haast Pass Hwy: Head southeast and turn right onto Marks Rd. Located near public toilet in township.
From SH67/Westport: Head west on SH67. Stay on SH67 (signs for Greymouth/Murchison) then turn onto Rintoul St. Turn left onto The Esplanade. Additional Information: Located on corner, across the railway lines.
More Information on responsible camping
For more information on responsible camping please visit:
- Camping Our Way
- CamperMate app shows you locations of public toilets, rubbish bins, campsites and much more.
- Motor Caravan Association
- Holiday Park Association of NZ
Photo credit: Header photo by Juergen Schacke