Freedom Camping in Canterbury

The best way to explore the Canterbury region is via road. Discover hidden gems, unique places of interest and get out and meet the locals.

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Freedom Camping in the Canterbury Region

The best way to explore the diverse region of Canterbury is via road. Self-contained vehicles give you the flexibility to stop often, explore the hidden gems and to experience the countryside like a local. As the Canterbury region is made up of several local authorities, it's important you're aware of the by-laws and freedom camping restrictions for each district.


Freedom camping areas: 

Restrictions include:

  • Designated areas strictly apply.
  • Vehicles must be self-contained.
  • Freedom campers are allowed to park for a maximum of 4 nights within a single calendar month (between 5pm and 9am the following day)

Travellers are encouraged to use the range of holiday parks and camping grounds scattered across the Hurunui District. Find out more.


There are no restrictions on freedom camping in the Waimakariri with the exception of an area in Waikuku Beach.

Travellers are encouraged to use camping grounds where possible. Find out more.




Arthur's Pass and Selwyn

Most camping grounds in the Selwyn District have public toilet facilities. No bookings are required, campsites are determined on a first in first served basis.


Freedom camping areas (block-out dates apply) include:

  • One site at the west end of Lake Ruataniwha Reserve, Twizel – located on Max Smith Drive
  • Three sites at Lake Opuha, Fairlie. Located at Bennetts Road, Hayes Road, Opuha Gorge Road
  • For the above sites date restrictions apply prohibiting camping between 23 December and the second Monday in January (inclusive). 


Freedom camping areas (no block-out dates) include:

  • Pattersons Ponds – located on the Tekapo Canal Road
  • Lake Wardell – located along State Highway 8 near Twizel

Restrictions include:

  • Camper must have fully self-contained toilet facilities e.g. the camper’s toilet must be readily usable at all times.
  • Campers must meet ablution needs for a minimum of 3 days without requiring discharge of waste and without the occupants relying on external facilities.
  • Campers can stay a maximum of 3 consecutive nights.
  • Camping is prohibited within 20 metres of the lake shore. 


Mid Canterbury

An overnight stay is allowed at the below picnic areas for self-contained vehicles. Toilet facilities are available.

The following campgrounds provide self-contained and non-self-contained services for campers:

  • Rangitata River Mouth
  • Ashburton Holiday Park
  • Rakaia Gorge
  • Hakatere

Find out more about freedom camping locations in Mid Canterbury.

Freedom Camping in Christchurch & Akaroa/Banks Peninsula

The do's and don'ts 


  • Freedom Camping Etiquette

    Freedom Camping is a great way to explore the hidden gems of the Christchurch & Canterbury region.

    To ensure our scenery, waterways and environment are protected for visitors, locals and future generations to enjoy, make yourself familiar with the rules and regulations.

  • Freedom Camping in Christchurch

    Find out where you can Freedom Camp in Christchurch & Banks Peninsula with the recent bylaw changes.

  • The Best Beaches In & Around Christchurch

    Summer means lazy days at the beach, meeting friends and having fun! Here in Christchurch, we are lucky to have some awesome beaches on our doorstep. Discover stunning spots - all within an hour drive from Christchurch city.