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What makes a great and safe freedom camping space?

Miriam Richardson

Physical space

  • Turning space to get in and out easily.

  • Room to open doors and put out a step. (BONUS: room for long vehicles.)

  • Safe to park: gaps big enough for gas safety. (3m between vehicles.)

  • Flat (lpg fridges need it flats).

  • Room for all that turn up.

  • Sealed or very firm ground, particularly in winter.

Nice to have

  • Close to town amenities — shops, banks, cafes.

  • In or near a recreational area — lakes, walking / bike tracks, pools.

  • Near or with any services: dump station, water, rubbish, toilet, shower, laundry.

  • A fabulous view. Everyone loves a view.

It needs a good sign. Hmmm. A good sign?

  • Unambiguous wording. Truly, this is cannot be taken for granted.

  • What kind of camping is allowed.

  • Time restrictions.

  • Where to park (and not park).

  • Any restrictions or special conditions.

  • BONUS: Big enough to read from the drivers’ seat.

Whakatane’s McAlister St freedom camping spot: a great example

  • The parks are wide enough for safety, and its easy to turn in and out.

  • Motorhome parks (and non-parks) are clearly marked.

  • There is a large, clear sign.

  • There is a dump station, water, rubbish & recycling bins, and it is walking distance to town.

  • Sadly there are only 5 spaces in the only freedom camping spot in the town.

  • Pretty good view too, for an urban carpark.

The beautiful Tuapiro Reserve in the Bay of Plenty

  • Spaces are car-width, a clear map shows where you can park. 

  • Its a ovely place to park; plenty of room, great walks and views. 

  • This photo shows how vehicles have used alternate parks to give each other fire safety. But these campers are vulnerable, as others could park between, too close for safety, and blocking the doors.


BY: Miriam Richardson


Place. Space. Safety.

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