Freedom Camping

Getting out and about in our district’s beautiful river and coastal areas is popular with visitors and Whanganui locals alike.

We are privileged to have several fantastic commercial campgrounds and family friendly holiday parks, all in great proximity to our scenic coastal areas and the Whanganui River.

We also welcome freedom campers and we’ve recently put some regulations in place around where people can freedom camp to help protect our public places and ensure access for everyone.

Freedom camping regulations in Whanganui

The Freedom Camping Act 2011 allows us to use a bylaw to regulate freedom camping across some of the district, and we have elected to control it in the most used and most prominent areas across the district.

The Freedom Camping Bylaw includes restrictions such as limiting how long people can freedom camp in certain areas, what vehicles they can use, and how many vehicles can be freedom camping at any one time. Most sites are limited to a stay of 4 nights per calendar month, and campers are required to stay in a vehicle that’s certified as self-contained if the site doesn’t have 24-hour access to a public toilet.

Several areas have also been prohibited entirely, and many areas have “buffer zones” – areas around them in which freedom camping is prohibited, to encourage campers to respect the restricted and prohibited areas.

All of the rules are contained in the Freedom Camping Bylaw and the map below shows the restricted (yellow) and prohibited (red) freedom camping areas.

View a larger version of this map

The majority of freedom campers to Whanganui are domestic travellers stopping by to enjoy our district on their way going up or down the North Island, and the Whanganui District Council wants to encourage responsible freedom campers to come and go and to make the most out of their visits to our city and its surrounds.

People who are freedom camping can also be difficult to distinguish from people who are experiencing homelessness. If you are concerned about somebody in the community experiencing homelessness, get in contact with us so we can connect them with services that can help.