One thing that continues to stick out about New Zealand and its amazing beauty is how much of it is tied to being natural, remote, and so inaccessible (at least by conventional standards or norms). There are many campsites that appear just a little bit off the main road on a map and in practice take a little bit of adventuring to get there. But oh man, those views! There’s a reason that motorhome hire isn’t just for tourists, but is a common and popular past time of homegrown Kiwis as well!
Understand the Camping System
New Zealand understands its draws and there’s no question that this is a country that has camping built into its infrastructure. Renting motorhomes or camper vans and spending time exploring the country on holiday is an extremely common practice. This means all kinds of campsites as well as encouraging the practice of freedom camping – but only if you meet all the requirements.
Freedom camping means if you have a campervan or other recreational vehicle with a toilet then you can camp on public land for free. However, if you have the wrong type of vehicle are in a clearly restricted area, then that becomes a fine. That being said, freedom camping and the wide array of DOC (Department of Conservation) campsites means that you should never run out of places to camp.
Why You Want a Pass
There are several types of conservation camping passes that are available through the DOC, and they are a great deal for individuals looking to do some extensive camping and who want to keep their options open. There are passes available that specifically focus on campervans and motorhomes, allowing you to make sure you have the right pass for your specific situational needs.
Buying a weekly pass can lead to big savings on your campsite fees. There are over 100 different campsites covered by the DOC and many of them are the extremely popular options that are famous throughout the country as being among the best, most scenic that all of New Zealand has to offer. The pass does two things: helps support the government organization that keeps all these parks up and running but also gives you a discount so you can budget accordingly.
If you’re traveling solo $20 is the current price for a single pass, while a double pass for a traveling couple is $40. The appropriate one obviously depends on if you’re hitting the road solo or if you’re traveling with a friend and/or partner, but it is good at more than 100 vehicle accessible and friendly campsites.
When using these passes they should always be where they’re easy to see like a campervan dashboard – someplace that is visible. When a campsite warden requests to see yours, you need to provide it upon request.
Understanding the Nuts & Bolts of Your Camping Pass
- The pass is good for 7 consecutive days, but only the dates written on the pass
- Make sure the pass matches the vehicle registration
- These are non-transferable
- These passes are good for savings at specifically designated DOC sites
- These passes can’t be used at powered, serviced, or other restricted campsites
While this can sound a bit complicated on paper, the truth is that when you talk about needing camping passes, experienced travelers and campers in the New Zealand area will know what you’re talking about. These passes give you access to a wide array of outstanding campsites and allow you to save money while doing it. That really is the very definition of a win-win situation for all parties involved.
If you are going to spend time enjoying the trip of a lifetime exploring the best campsites that New Zealand has to offer, then why not do it at a discount with your camping pass?