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.

Waste disposal

The Wastenet website lists rubbish and recycling station locations.

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.

Self-contained standard

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.

Visit Rankers or Camper Mate for more camping information.

Freedom camping maps

Description Type Size Download
Select All
Browns JPG 130 KB
Colac Bay JPG 137 KB
Dipton JPG 131 KB
Dunsdale JPG 122 KB
Dunsdale Reserve map JPG 1.7 MB
Edendale JPG 150 KB
Fortrose JPG 148 KB
Limehills JPG 150 KB
Lumsden JPG 190 KB
Mandeville Taylor Park JPG 124 KB
Nightcaps JPG 158 KB
Orepuki Monkey Island JPG 94 KB
Otautau Arboretum JPG 110 KB
Riversdale JPG 187 KB
Thornbury JPG 129 KB
Waikaia JPG 177 KB
Waikawa PNG 583 KB
Winton JPG 183 KB
Wyndham JPG 155 KB