Freedom Camping on the Coromandel

We welcome responsible freedom campers on the Coromandel.

What's Freedom Camping?

If you stay overnight in an accessible public place other than a campground, then you're probably freedom camping.

We have freedom camping rules for all public areas that TCDC owns or manages and you need to comply withe these or risk a $200 fine.

The big rule – you must be in a certified self-contained vehicle if you want to freedom camp. If you’re a tourist and don’t know if your vehicle complies, ask your rental company. We have areas around the Coromandel that need protecting from freedom camping. Some areas are either prohibited to all freedom camping, or restricted with conditions. All prohibited and restricted areas are clearly sign-posted.

If you stay in a restricted area these conditions apply:

  • Park only in the designated (sign-posted) area.
  • Depart by 9.00am.
  • Stay a maximum of two consecutive nights.
  • NB: some areas such as sports ground car parks have a further condition that: Notwithstanding restriction 3, all freedom campers must depart on Saturday mornings.

We have three classifications for freedom camping on the Coromandel

  • Allowed
  • Restricted
  • Prohibited

Allowed

For public areas that TCDC own or manages, freedom camping in a certified self-contained vehicle is permitted, subject to any other controls that may be in place. Please make sure you are camping in an area that allows freedom camping or risk a $200 fine.

Remember - Not all public places in the district are managed by the Council and our freedom camping rules don't apply to these areas, such as conservation land and state highways. The Department of Conservation has a Freedom Camping Policy - you can find out about their rules on the DOC website.

Restricted Areas

Certified self-contained freedom camping is permitted, and the further conditions above apply. To freedom camp in restricted areas campers must park in a designated area, which is sign posted. For more details go to our Restricted and Prohibited Areas page.

Where can you freedom camp within the restricted sites?

Only between the freedom camping signs.

And only in a certified self-contained vehicle (applies across the whole district).

Within restricted sites freedom campers must park in the designated areas and these areas are not shown in the area maps in the bylaw document. The designated areas are clearly signposted - keep an eye out for these when you arrive at a restricted site. A document identifying all desigated areas will be available in time for Christmas.

For general camping information see our Camping on the Coromandel page.

Prohibited Areas

Freedom camping is not allowed in prohibited areas under TCDC's Freedom Camping Bylaw 2014. There are several reasons why an area is prohibited, including habitats for endangered species, need to protect public access to reserves, and for health and safety reasons.

All prohibited areas are clearly signposted. For more details go to our Restricted and Prohibited Areas page.


Got a freedom camping fine?

The Freedom Camping Act 2011 allows Council to issue fines for breaching Council's Freedom Camping Bylaw.

Our enforcement officers issue infringement notices with a fine of $200 on the spot if people are found to be non-compliant with the rules, however officers can use discretion.

Some of the reasons why we issue infringement notices include:

  • Freedom camping in a non-certified self-contained vehicle or in a tent.
  • Freedom camping in a prohibited area.
  • Freedom camping in a restricted area in breach of the conditions that apply to that area.
  • Causing damage to an area - its flora or fauna, or any structure.
  • Depositing waste other than in an appropriate waste receptacle.

If you've been given an infringement notice and think you've been unfairly fined, you can make an appeal using the form you can download here - Infringement Appeal Form. If you complete this and send it in, we'll consider your appeal.

You can now pay your Freedom Camping Infringement online. All you need is your credit card and infringement number.


Other things you should know

Other rules

There are other Council bylaws that may apply and controls under other legislation, such as for noise, dog control, liquor in public places, and parking control.

Campgrounds

If you want to camp in our district but don't have a certified self-contained vehicle, then please stay at a camp ground. There are many around the Coromandel to suit various needs and wants - you can find out more here - campground locations. 


Freedom Camping Bylaw 2014

In 2014 we worked through a review of our bylaw and Council adopted a revised bylaw at its meeting on 22 October 2014. The new Freedom Camping Bylaw 2014 came into effect at noon on 1 December 2014. The bylaw, which was amended in December 2015, can be viewed here.