Changes to freedom camping rules from today

Auckland’s new Freedom Camping bylaw will maintain a balance between allowing accessible holiday options around the region while prohibiting or restricting camping in areas that need it the most.

Chair of the Freedom Camping Bylaw Panel, Councilor Linda Cooper, says Auckland is a popular destination for freedom camping, so it is important that we get the rules right.

“Like many other local authorities, Auckland Council wants to ensure freedom campers camp responsibly and have a great experience while visiting our region. This means staying in suitable places, keeping themselves and others safe, looking after the environment and respecting their host communities and other campers.

“Although most people make the effort to camp responsibly, freedom camping still has impacts that cause community concern. In Auckland, these impacts are exacerbated by the region’s growth and intensification, which puts extra pressure on shared spaces like parks, beaches and community.

“We have tried to strike a balance between what the Freedom Camping Act allows and what also works for the community.”

Public consultation towards the end of 2021 saw feedback from 1,572 people, 46 organizations and 21 local boards. This resulted in additional changes to the bylaw proposal.

The key points you need to know about the 2022 bylaw include:

  • 58 designated areas where freedom camping is prohibited and 20 designated areas where it is restricted. This is in addition to existing prohibitions on all Auckland’s reserves managed under the Reserves Act 1977 and on all regional parks (paid camping is allowed at designated sites).
  • In other areas, freedom camping is allowed subject to four general rules requiring all freedom campers staying in Auckland to:
    • use a certified self-contained vehicle;
    • stay a maximum of two nights in the same road/off-road parking area;
    • vacate their parking space by 9am on the day of departure;
    • not return to stay in the same road/off-road parking area within a two-week period.
  • On Waiheke Island, freedom campers must leave the island after a maximum of two nights to dump their waste, unless they have arranged alternative accommodation.

The proposed Bylaw doesn’t prevent people from parking vehicles legally during the day, staying at camping grounds or resting/sleeping at the roadside to avoid driver fatigue. The council doesn’t intend to use freedom camping regulation to manage issues associated with homelessness and will take a compassionate approach to enforcement to protect vulnerable Aucklanders.

You can view the full bylaw on the Auckland Council website.

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