The basics of freedom camping in Southland
Southland District Council looks after a number of freedom camping sites. Where you can go to freedom camp in Southland varies based on location. The links at the bottom of this page provide detailed information for each site.
- Southland District Council's Freedom Camping Bylaw applies to public places, not conservation land or private property
- camping on Council reserves is generally prohibited but Council has chosen to allow camping on some reserves, including the Dunsdale Reserve
- most towns have designated sites for self-contained camping. Some towns have sites that permit all types of camping
- camping is generally permitted on Council-controlled land in areas such as beaches and riversides
- camping is not allowed on private property without the consent of the property owner
- camping is generally not allowed in: urban areas, car parks, boating areas (including wharves, jetties & boat ramps), playgrounds, sports grounds, cemeteries, walking tracks, signposted lookouts
- open fires are not allowed at these sites
- dogs must be on a leash in the freedom camping area
Download Southland District Council's Freedom Camping Bylaw below.
For more information on freedom camping and free overnight campervan parking sites in Southland, including Department of Conservation camping grounds, visit Camping Our Way*
* Please note the Camping Our Way website is run by the Tourism Industry Association and Council has provided the link to this information to be intended as advisory only. It is the individual's responsibility to ensure they abide by the law and Council takes no responsibility for the accuracy or interpretation of this information.
Be a responsible camper
Southland District Council encourages campers to be careful and considerate. It is important you:
- be tidy and always leave the area clean
- dispose of all waste water at a dump station
- limit generator use to between 8am-9pm to prevent noise nuisance
- always drive along formed tracks
- always use public toilets, if they are provided
- use biodegradable cleaning products and wash in a container away from the water
- protect native plants and animals
- consider the rights of others
Download information about keeping healthy outdoors below.
NZS 5465:2001 “Self Containment of Motor Caravans and Caravans” was amended in July 2017 to clarify self-containment. Council’s Freedom Camping Bylaw 2015 incorporates this amendment into the definition of self-contained vehicle.