Budget Friendly Campsites In New Zealand

Whether you're a kiwi looking to hit the road and explore more of New Zealand, or planning a quintessential road trip from overseas, you will be spoilt for choice with impressive motorhome campsites here in New Zealand.

Campsites in New Zealand are renowned for their spaciousness, well-equipped facilities, and beautiful landscapes. Across New Zealand, you are bound to find a campsite suited to your travel needs as well as your budget!

Why New Zealand campgrounds are so good

Campervan campgrounds have made up a massive part of New Zealand's holiday culture for so long, so it doesn’t come as a surprise that each location has been well thought out to make sure you have the best holiday experience possible, no matter where you choose to park up.

Advantages of using campervan camping grounds:

  • Reasonably priced... equaling out to be around a quarter of the cost of a hotel stay, campervan sites are a great value holiday option. Whether you're wanting a low-cost weekend getaway, or to stay on longer whilst shaving costs down, campervan campgrounds are a great option to keep your holiday costs down.
  • Family-friendly and safe... If you are exploring a new area by camper, staying at a campervan campsite can ease your mind, by knowing exactly where you are. This means you can easily navigate and access basic amenities like bins and bathrooms.
  • Easy to book and casual stays... For the holiday planners, these sites can be booked well in advance of your travels to make sure you get to hit all your dream spots during your trip. And for the easy-going traveller who likes to plan during the journey, there are plenty of casual booking sites too. If you are looking to find a spot en route, our thl Roadtrip App will come in handy.
  • Epic locations... New Zealand campervan sites can be found at some of the most desirable locations in the country. Fancy parking up lakeside or right by the ski field? Hit all the best tourist spots at one of the incredible locations.

Types of campsites in New Zealand

With plenty of campervan campsites to choose from within New Zealand, we have put together some information on what the options are, so you can make a choice that suits your needs.

Holiday Parks

Holidays parks are a popular option for holidaymakers in New Zealand. Providing all the creature comforts you could possibly need for your home on wheels, with much lower prices when compared with other traditional accommodation optionst, TOP10 Holiday Parks are a widely popular choice.

Check out our list of the benefits of staying at a holiday park on your campervan holiday.

Reliable sites

  • Most Holiday Park sites feature flat, hard surfaces to keep your campervan mud-free. Free-draining lawns allow for less cleaning and more time to sit back and enjoy your holiday. A hard and flat campsite makes for a comfortable stay.
  • Landscaped grounds. The thoughtful additions of shady trees and picnic tables provide extra space for you to stretch out and enjoy after being out on the road.
  • Water and power. After days spent exploring new spots and taking holiday snaps, you can connect your camper to power and charge your phones as well as cook a hot meal and shower the day away!
  • Holiday parks also have community facilities like kitchens, bathrooms, and laundries if you want to take a break from van life!

Exceptional facilities

  • TV lounges and internet: for those wanting to unwind outside of the motorhome, many sites have internet and TV lounges for your entertainment.
  • Spa pools, play areas, and BBQ areas: after a big day of driving, cooking some snags on the BBQ, and destressing in the spa could be just what you need. Let the kids burn off some energy on the playground or in a games room while making new friends!
  • Bike and kayak hire: once you've parked up in your site, ask the staff at the holiday park about hiring bikes or kayaks so you can get out and explore the area.

Fees and bookings

A powered site for two people at a holiday park usually averages out to be around $35-40 per night. Bookings are strongly advised during peak travel periods, like summer holidays, and major local events. During other times of the year, you can usually just cruise in without a pre-made booking.

Out of New Zealand's 400-odd holiday parks, there are 250 under the Holiday Parks Association, a great place to start research and make bookings.

DOC Campsites

If you are looking to unplug and be one with nature, the Department of Conservation campsites in national parks and scenic reserves within New Zealand are one to consider! With over 200 campervan-friendly locations to choose from around the country, prepare to be amazed by the unreal scenery you can surround yourself in when you set up camp.

Some DOC campsites are unpowered, so if you are wanting to plug in your motorhome to use its facilities, make sure you do your research in advance.

  • Basic: basic campgrounds are unpowered, free of charge, and equipped with toilets and running water.
  • Standard: standard campgrounds are usually unpowered with toilets and running water. Sometimes they include barbeques, picnic tables, and bins.
  • Serviced: serviced campgrounds have more facilities to use, such as toilets, running water, cooking facilities, hot showers. With both unpowered and powered sites, these are ideal for campervan travel.

Fees and bookings

Some of the Department of Conservations campsites are free to use, while others cost a small fee (approx. $15 per person).

These sites should be pre-booked either online or at a DOC visitor centre. Some sites operate on a first-in first-served basis, with payment made to the warden or done in a self-registration box upon arrival.

The best way to go about your bookings is to buy a DOC weekly campsite pass, to get half-price camping at over 100 DOC campsites across New Zealand.

Council Campsites

Most regional, city, and district councils within New Zealand manage campervan sites. These could range from basic nature camps to public motorhome parks. Often found near public areas such as parks, these sites differ in their offerings but they are usually quite basic, offering facilities like toilets, park benches, and rubbish bins.

Fees and bookings

Outside of council-owned holiday parks, most council campgrounds are cheap (approx. $10 per person for a night), or even free as some fall under the category of 'free camping'. To check out council camps, pop into the local I-site or have a look at Rankers.

Freedom Camping

Freedom camping is staying overnight in an area that isn't a designated campsite, like a beach reserve or riverside. Only vehicles that are fully self-contained with onboard toilet, greywater, and freshwater systems quality for freedom comping, so Mighty campervan hires are included.

The rules around this type of camping vary in between regions, some have a blanket ban while others encourage it and offer allocated sites. If you are unsure what the stance is in the area you're staying, check with the local I-SITE visitor centre.

Just because you might see a toilet, rubbish bin, or other campervans parked there, it might not mean it's okay to stay there. Freedom camping abuse has seen a major crackdown on illegal camping, often resulting in fines.

Fees and bookings

You may be able to find approved freedom camping areas in car parks or near reserves. Generally, these are free to use but it's important to read up on the rules around freedom camping in New Zealand.

Campsites on the Road

If you're travelling by camper and want a quick and easy to use tool to help with navigating nearby campgrounds, you couldn’t pack a better companion than the thl Roadtrip App.