Camping and campervans in Christchurch and Akaroa

There are plenty of beautiful camping spots in Christchurch, Akaroa and Banks Peninsula for you to enjoy. To protect our environment we have different rules depending on if you are staying in a tent, car or campervan.

The rules have changed for self-contained vehicles

The law has changed. Anyone freedom camping on council land in a vehicle must use a self-contained vehicle and have a valid warrant card in the front windscreen. To avoid getting a fine, find out what this means for your vehicle and know where you can and can't freedom camp.

Temporary closure of Naval Point freedom camping area in Lyttelton

The western part of the freedom camping area will be closed between 22 January and 23 February 2024 to enable maintenance work. The eastern part of the freedom camping area will remain open.

The entire Naval Point freedom camping area will be closed between 4 and 29 March 2024 for the SailGP event.

Camping in a tent or a vehicle without on-board facilities

If you are camping in a tent or sleeping in a vehicle without facilities, you need to stay in a camping ground that has facilities you can use.

Self-contained campervans (freedom camping)

If your campervan is certified self-contained, with a toilet, wastewater and rubbish facilities on-board, then you may freedom camp in some areas in Christchurch, Akaroa and Bank Peninsula.

Know where to camp

The map below shows you where you can and can’t stay, as well as camping grounds, dump stations, rubbish and recycling facilities, and public toilet locations. You can also use camping apps, like CamperMate(external link).

Please note that there is no camping in Council parks and reserves. See our Freedom Camping Bylaw for more information.

The rules for self-contained vehicles have changed

The law has changed. Anyone freedom camping on council land in a vehicle must use a self-contained vehicle. This applies across New Zealand.

What is a self-contained vehicle?

A self-contained vehicle has onboard facilities for camping. It must have a certificate of self-containment and a warrant card displayed in the front windscreen.

  • The certification system for self-contained vehicles is also changing.
  • The existing blue warrant card system is being phased out and a new green warrant card system will replace it.
  • Both systems have requirements relating to fixed toilets, water supply and wastewater systems, and secure rubbish storage.

What this change means for you

  • Blue warrant cards are valid until they expire, or until 7 June 2025, whichever occurs first. Only green warrant cards will be able to be issued after 7 June 2024 (no new blue warrant cards).
  • All rental camping vehicles must be certified with a green warrant card by 7 June 2024.
  • All privately owned camping vehicles must be certified with a green warrant card by 7 December 2024.
Existing requirements New Zealand Standard: Self-containment of motor caravans and caravans (NZS 5465:2001) Blue Warrant Card
New requirements Plumbers, Gasfitters, and Drainlayers (Self-Contained Vehicles) Regulations 2023 Green Warrant Card

The new regulator for self-contained vehicles is the Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Board. Visit pgdb.co.nz(external link) for more information about the new system and how to get a green warrant card.

What to know when freedom camping

Freedom camping offences and fines

The Freedom Camping Act has changed. There are new infringement offences and increased fines. Here are some of the things you need to know to avoid getting a fine.

Offences and fines relating to self-contained vehicles

  • Freedom camping, or preparing to freedom camp, on council land in a vehicle that is not self-contained ($400).
  • Failing to display a valid warrant card for self-containment ($200).
  • Displaying or presenting an altered or fraudulent warrant card ($600).
  • Freedom camping with more people than the vehicle is certified for ($400).

Offences and fines to protect our environment

  • Damaging plants, animals or structures while freedom camping ($800).
  • Not properly disposing of waste while freedom camping ($800).

Offences and fines relating to freedom camping bylaws

The Freedom Camping Act sets the national rules and lets councils make some local rules, which are set in bylaws.

Before you freedom camp, check if the local council has a freedom camping bylaw and if there are things you need to know to avoid a fine.

  • Freedom camping, or preparing to freedom camp, in breach of a prohibition or restriction in a bylaw ($400).

Christchurch City Council’s freedom camping bylaw

Christchurch City Council has a freedom camping bylaw. It has areas where freedom camping is not allowed, where your stay is limited,
or where other conditions apply. 

Enforcement officers

Councils have enforcement officers who check on freedom camping. They are there to help and can give you information about where to camp.

  • Failing or refusing to leave a local authority area when required to do so by an enforcement officer, failing to give your particulars, or giving false information ($600).

Stay at our place

Our campgrounds offer different experiences from small, relaxed seaside sites through to larger fully serviced holiday parks. All our campgrounds welcome different ways of camping, from tents to campervans.

Take a look at:

Love our place as much as we do

Be responsible campers and help us to protect our environment.

  • Respect nearby residents and wildlife.
  • Park considerately, not blocking any roads, driveways or tracks.
  • Use our free public toilets or your onboard toilet. It’s not permitted to go to the toilet beside the road, in the bush, on the ground, on the beach, or in a river, creek or lake.
  • Only empty your campervan toilet at a dump station, use our map to find the closest one.
  • Take your rubbish with you, or put it into a Council rubbish bin. If the bin is full, please phone us on (03) 941 8999 or 0800 800 169.
  • Lighting campfires can pose a risk to the community and the environment, and the rules change from place to place. Use a gas fire if cooking food, and be sure that it is clear of any flammable material.

Paying a freedom camping infringement

The Freedom Camping Act allows for the Council to issue infringement fines ranging from $200 to $800 for breaches of the Freedom Camping Act or the Council’s Freedom Camping Bylaw

Full details are in the Freedom Camping Bylaw 2021(external link).

Freedom Camping Infringements can be paid in person or by phone.

In-person

You can pay an infringement ticket (fine) at any Council service centre(external link).

Online

Payment can be made by bank transfer to the account shown on your ticket (include your name in the particulars field, and the infringement notice number in the reference field)

Phone (24 hours a day)

You can pay by credit card over the phone (24 hours a day) by calling the Council’s Customer Call Centre on 0800 800 169

Appeal a freedom camping infringement

Camping in Akaroa

Camping in a tent or a vehicle without certified on-board facilities

You need to stay at a campground where there are facilities you can use. Camping in a tent or vehicle without certified on-board facilities is not permitted anywhere in Akaroa or Banks Peninsula.

Full details are in the Freedom Camping Bylaw 2021(external link).

Narrow, steep and unsealed roads

Some of the roads in Akaroa and Banks Peninsula are narrow, steep and unsealed with limited places to turn around. For everyone's safety we advise that you don't travel on roads marked 'Not suitable for campervans' or '4WD drive only' unless you are in a suitable vehicle. 

To plan your journey, check the road conditions and get more information, visit journeys.nzta.govt.nz/christchurch(external link)

Campervan parking in Akaroa

Akaroa has narrow streets and limited parking at busy times - for daytime parking, larger vehicles are encouraged to park near the Akaroa boat ramp area. 

Wherever you decide to park, please park considerately, and in a park that is the right size for your vehicle.

Freedom Camping Bylaw 2021

Our Freedom Camping Bylaw was made in 2021 under the Freedom Camping Act of 2011. 

This bylaw controls freedom camping in certain areas owned or managed by the Council in order to protect these areas, including protecting access to the areas and the health and safety of people using them.

View our Freedom Camping Bylaw 2021.

If you want to give us a suggestion, compliment or complaint, you can provide feedback.

Camp Ground Legend2.fw

Camping ground


Two nights in self-contained vehicles only


City Coastal Restricted Zone


Freedom camping prohibited


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Toilet


Dum Stations Legend green.fw

Dump station


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Rubbish and recycling