1 Dec 2021

Some new restrictions on where people can freedom camp in Christchurch and Banks Peninsula come into effect from today, 1 December.

“This summer we want freedom campers to visit and enjoy our district, but they need to be aware that our new Freedom Camping Bylaw places some additional restrictions on where they can stay overnight,’’ says Christchurch City Council Head of Strategic Policy Emma Davis.

New national rules in the pipeline

The Government has announced that it plans to make changes to the legislation that regulates freedom camping, including how camping vehicles are certified, and increasing fines for bylaw breaches.

The changes will be introduced to Parliament next year, and are expected to be in place by next summer (2022/2023).

Find out more about the changes that have been announced by the Tourism Minister.

“The additional restrictions have been put in place to safeguard the environment and to protect local communities from the adverse impacts of freedom camping, so we are really hoping that visitors to our region will respect the rules.

“We will have staff and contractors out checking over the summer to make sure that freedom campers are taking heed of the restrictions and are not creating any issues,’’ Ms Davis says.

Under the new bylaw, freedom camping is now:

  • Banned at weekends, from October through to May, in the North Beach Carpark.
  • Banned in Southshore in Christchurch, and in the hillside residential area in Takamatua on Banks Peninsula.

Camping remains banned in town centres, some residential settlements, and in Council parks and reserves.

“We have some fantastic campgrounds across our district where visitors can stay this summer. If people want to freedom camp, I would really encourage them to use the map on our website or a camping app to find out where they can, and cannot, camp overnight.’’

There is a new rule in the bylaw to prevent campers from blocking thoroughfares, particularly in busy carparks, where other users need access and it could become a safety issue. 

“We want to get the message out there that elaborate camping set-ups belong in campgrounds, not in public car parks.”

People in self-contained campervans (those certified as having appropriate toilet, wastewater and rubbish facilities on board) can freedom camp in the newly created City Coastal Restricted Zone, which stretches from South New Brighton Beach to Waimairi Beach. However, campers should know that the maximum stay in the Zone is now four nights in a 30 day period, with no more than two nights the same place.

The new bylaw has also created an area at Naval Point, Lyttelton, specifically for freedom camping. Up to 18 self-contained vehicles can stay there, for up to two nights in any 30 day period.

While freedom camping continues to be prohibited in Akaroa, there is an area set aside for freedom camping that can host up to 18 self-contained vehicles.  If you miss out on one of these spaces, there are some great campgrounds nearby.

For more information, visit the Council’s camping webpage.