Summer is in full swing here in New Zealand, which intends two things: 1) unreliable climate and 2) unpredictable tourists.
It’s no secret that New Zealand has become a hot spot destination for quality fans around the world. While Kiwis are generally happy to share their little slice of paradise with the rest of the world. They simply expect one big thing: don’t make the piss.
Need a translation? No concerns, I gotcha.
Take the piss is a British/ NZ/ Australian word that does NOT entail go pee-pee on something.
When someone in New Zealand is taking the piss, it means that the person has taken certain liberations at the expense of others — still confused? Let me positioned it in layman’s calls: If you visit New Zealand, please stop treating it like your own personal garbage can.
For a while, New Zealand was known as a dream destination for “freedom camping.”
In short, discretion tenting is a poorly-named activity that allows travelers setting up camp anywhere, even sits with no facilities or specified campsites. A classic kiwi diversion, it was all well and good when it was mostly really kiwis out freedom camping around their own country.
But what do you think happens if New Zealand exploded into tourism stardom, and millions of people flocked to this little island for general holidays?
If you predicted stacks of beings verified it as a chance to travel for free, then you are correct. If you predicted that flexibility tenting pisses off a good deal of regionals and is a massive part of the overtourism conversation today? You are also right.
Image by RON ECKMAN
To be clear, New Zealand does still stand freedom camping but under strict specifications( which many discount ). Nonetheless, it’s often misjudged, and it Obviously does not mean you can pull up your wildly offensive Wicked Campervan and park at the most Instagram-able place you can find.
Don’t worry fam, if you’ve dreamed of renting out an outrageously expensive old VW Combi and tenting by a wild, deserted turquoise pool filled with blossoming flowers; you’re not out of luck. I’m going to tell you exactly how you can have your cake and eat it too.
Here’s precise how you can freedom camp responsibly in New Zealand, be respectful and not take the piss. Read on, dear ones.
1. Go self-contained, make love
There was once a meter when freedom camping wasn’t as favourite, and local councils didn’t view it as security threats to New Zealand’s pristine environment.
That all changed in 2011 when the Rugby World Cup resulted in entire fleets of campervans being rented out. The public 420 marked free campsites were trashed. People pooped everywhere. It was a mess.
In 2018, regulations get tighter. Now, the national standard says that all camper vans must be self-contained. Self-contained is the word to remember around liberty camping.
This means you need to be able to live in your vehicle for three days without necessary more sea or dumping your wast.
No self-contained sticker
Let me settled it differently.
This means you need to be able to shit in your van for three days without getting rid of your poo. So don’t come at me with your Toyota Estima telling me it’s self-contained unless you’ve got three days of poo placed up there to prove it, ok?
The regulations also require the vehicle to have freshwater storage, wastewater storage, a lidded bucket for your rubbish, and a lavatory that can be used inside the car, even when the bunked is in place.
Let’s make it clear for the population living in the back. If your van does not have a toilet, it isn’t self-contained.
This is what a self-contained van looks like. Does it look like something your grandparents would pass in? Yes, but that’s just how it works. It’s big enough to live in for days.
2. That little blue-blooded sticker doesn’t want shit
If you’ve been in New Zealand, you’ve probably witnessed the much-coveted blue sticker that is supposed to prove your van is the self-contained meaning you can camp anywhere you damn well, delight. Not true.
It’s usually stuck on the back windshield or bumper of a campervan- or shitty converted hatchback or mini-van used by long-term backpackers to bum around in.
If you’re shopping around for a camper van to use during your year-long working holiday, don’t let some slimy salesclerk stunt you into believing that off-color sticker has any gist whatsoever.
The magical blue-blooded sticker means nothing any more!
If you’re mystified, refer to the requirements in point# 1.
If you can’t poop in the van for three days directly according to the specifications, it’s not self-contained.
Even the van it has 10 of those blue stickers on the back, it’s not self-contained. I could get some of those stickers on the black market and sounds them on my Subaru Outback. That doesn’t make it self-contained.
Don’t pay an extra $ 1,000 for that van you found on Trade Me just for the sticker! The sticker doesn’t mean anything anymore. It’s the actual set up inside the camper. This is what they check for.
Do you think they’ve got a bathroom and three days of poo in here? NO.
3. Where are you able park your self-contained camper van?
Now that you know what your self contained camper van is and is not, you can start looking for specified exemption camping spots.
Just because you have a self-contained vehicle does not mean you can pull up on any quiet road you feel like and conk out for the night.
Chances are beings probably live down that road and don’t want to see your ugly ass van when they wake up in the morning. Please respect the people and the estate here. New Zealand is the dwelling of countless, and it’s not Disney Land. Would you park your auto outside someone’s house and live out of it wherever you’re from? Then why would you do it here?
This also means you can’t drive up to the coasts of Lake Wanaka for a peace light of sleep.
Try it, and you’ll be met with a $400 punishment when you wake up in the morning. Trust me, it’s easier to pay for a campsite at that point.
But, if you’re dead set on finding free tent recognises, you’re not out of luck.
There are plenty of recognizes for responsible opennes tenting, but the rules and regulations alter depending on the region your in, and the specific DOC land around said part. The best bet is to go to the neighbourhood iSite Visitor Information Center, DOC guest Center or check with the local council.
Rankers are also an excellent aid for those looking to find a suitable free camping location.
While it makes a beautiful photo, it’s improbable to think you can pull up to any old-time coast and park up for the darknes. Most likely, your free campsite will be an aged gravel parking lots in the middle of nowhere.
4. How to be an excellent little sovereignty camper
Okay, you’ve got the right vehicle, you’ve received the right spot to park up for the darknes , now what?
Just like any camper, there are a few things you can do to be a responsible guest. Remember, each locating will have it’s own specific rules and regulations. These sizzling tips-off will be universal no matter where you are.
Generally, No Fires: Fervours can be a serious threat to New Zealand’s ecosystem, especially in dry spheres such as Central Otago. There are year-round fire restraints on public management shores, and no open fires are permitted during the fire season. You needed to be glowing a fire at designated DOC campsites with fire quarry amenities. If you’re hoping to roast some s’mores by the fire, you’re probably out of luck. Be prepared to cook all of your nutrient on your gas stovetop.
Pack it in Pack it out: It seems ridiculous to have to say this in 2020, but here we go. You must take whatever littler you increase while tenting out of the campsite with you and dispose of it in the rubbish bins or recycling bins. Chocolate bar covers, toilet tissue, tea pockets, we’ve seen it all. Don’t try to tell me it accidentally fell out of your pocket; we don’t care. When you’re getting ready to leave a site, do a careful previously over to make sure your site is clean.
Don’t bathe in the pool: As tempting as it may be to score a free shower in crystal clear lakes, defy all desire and pay for an actual shower abroad. You knows where to find cold and sometimes hot showers at campsites as well as paid showers at service station or hostels. Similarly, don’t wash your manky-ass clothes in the lakes or flows either. Soaps and detergents are harmful to water life, so if you’re going to wash your clothes in a horse, drop the ocean in the grunge to let the grunge filter it before entering the water systems.
Dispose of your wastewater at designated areas: Now that you know how to be a responsible liberty camper with a vehicle that can hold wastewater( greywater) for three days, what the fuck is do you do with it when it’s full? You don’t dump your shit anywhere other than marked waste disposal dump stations. Most official campsites will have dump stations
Boil your water for at least 3 minutes: In general, liquid in New Zealand is much clean than a good deal of non-eu countries, and often sucking from creeks and flows will be harmless, but it’s best not to gamble if you’re worried about the water quality. Give the water a rapid three-minute boil to be disposed of any hazardous bacteria that may be lurking.
Lock your shit up: While it’s rare to find violent crime in New Zealand, theft is relatively common when it comes to visitors and camper vans. Be sure to lock up your camper van when you’re out or when you’re sleeping for the darknes. There have been a few sporadic cases of violent crime against camper vans; While you generally don’t have to worry about that, it’s always good to think twice before tenting in a super remote and isolated field.
Lastly, paying off a freaking campsite formerly in a while: Look, I get it, traveling is expensive, and even $20 campsites can add up over a few cases weeks. But tough shit. That’s life. That’s traveling. Not everything can come for free. By all means, do your best to seek out one of the 500 open designated free camping areas. If you can’t find one close by, bite the bullet and find a local campsite.
5. Just remaining in campsites or vacation commons
You can find holiday parks in nearly every town, and DOC campsites speck all down the country.
New Zealand has an incredible system of cheap campsites and festivity parks galore where you can park up with heaps of facilities. When I am traveling around in a campervan, I often split my darkness between celebration park campsites, democracy camping, and DOC campsites. After all, hot showers are fantastic.
If you be brought to an end at an unattended DOC campsite, don’t take the piss and try to pay for free. Don’t arrive late at night and leave before dawn all to avoid the $10 fee.
The money you pay for DOC campsites is much needed to maintain our beautiful ecosystems. It affords equipment to guests so everyone can enjoy this country. Seek out freedom tenting if you are required to, but don’t forget that there’s nothing bad with a good aged manner DOC campsite formerly in a while.
Now, go forth and be free, you wild’ lil flexibility campers.
Get that film that will win you at least 20 likes on the gram. Twirl in the field of lupins, New Zealand’s most beautiful weed.
Do what you need to do but do it responsibly. Thanks for inspecting this beautiful part of the world. And an even bigger thanks for leaving it better than you obtained it.
Have any tips-off for freedom tenting responsibly? Have you ever traveled this method before? Spill!
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