Where to Camp for Free in Tauranga
A vibrant city in the Bay of Plenty, Tauranga is definitely a destination to add during your North Island campervan road trip. What’s more, the city is extremely camper-friendly, as long as you have a certified self-contained vehicle. There are many parks and reserves across the city where it is legal to freedom camp. Find out where in this list of free camping spots in Tauranga.
To plan more of your trip, check out our advice according to your unique travel style in The Complete Travel Guide to Tauranga.
1. Kulim Park
Park up at this bayside park with views of The Mount (Mauao). Kulim Park, like every park on this list, is available for freedom camping only in a certified self-contained vehicle for a maximum of two nights per month. There are only two freedom camping spots at Kulim Park, so get here quick if you want this piece of prime camping real estate.
Location: 101 Kulim Avenue, Otūmoetai, Tauranga.
2. Marine Park
Enjoy views of the harbour and proximity to restaurants and harbourside fish and chips at Marine Park. There are two sections at Marine Park for freedom camping, eight spaces in one and three spaces in the other. It’s also a pleasant place to watch the sunset. Self-contained vehicles only.
Location: Keith Allen Drive or Cross Road, Tauranga.
3. Fergusson Park
This huge park has plenty of space to roam, an observatory, food trucks and access to Otumoetai Beach. It’s especially good if you’re travelling with kids or a dog. There are three spaces for freedom camping here, only for self-contained vehicles. Note that the park for camping is open from 7pm Sunday to 10am Friday.
Location: 90 Tilby Drive, Matua, Tauranga.
4. Memorial Park
Not too far from Tauranga city centre, Memorial Park is a lively park with six spaces for self-contained campers to freedom camp. Kids will love it here with a children’s playground, skate park, water fountain, barbecue and more. For activities in the city centre, check out the 10 Best Things to Do in Tauranga.
Location: Seventh Avenue, Tauranga.
5. Rotary Park
If looking for a quieter spot to park overnight in Tauranga, check out Rotary Park. There are two spaces for freedom camping at this park overlooking Welcome Bay. Facilities at the park include a barbecue and a children’s playground. Again, the spot is only for certified self-contained vehicles.
Location: Rotary Park, off Te Hono Street, Maungatapu, Tauranga.
6. Gordon Spratt Reserve
There are eight freedom camping spaces available in the Gordon Spratt Reserve between 7pm Sunday and 10am Friday. The huge reserve can be found in the suburb of Papamoa Beach and isn’t too far from State Highway 2 if you want to make a swift exit the next morning. As always, self-contained vehicles only.
Location: 80 Alice Lane, Papamoa, Tauranga.
7. Cambridge Park
Enjoy a variety of landscapes at this large park in the south of the city. Large grassy areas, bushwalks and wetlands make up the scenery with walking trails the make the most of it. There’s also an epic BMX bike track, should that interest you. Otherwise, there are six free camping spots here for self-contained vehicles.
Location: 280 Cambridge Road, Te Reti, Tauranga
8. Graham Park
A park alongside the 9km (5.6-mile) family-friendly walkway/cycleway Waikareao Estuary Walkway, Graham Park has a few reasons to park up the night. The views over the estuary to The Mount (Mauao) at sunset are sublime. The downside is that the park is right beside the main highway. There are three freedom camping spots available here for certified self-contained vehicles.
Location: Takitimu Drive, Tauranga.
9. Taylor Park Reserve
One of the best freedom camping spots at Papamoa Beach, Taylor Park Reserve has two spots available for self-contained vehicles. Enjoy easy access to the beach, picnic tables, bathrooms and plenty of places to sunbathe. For activities to do while you’re there, check out the 7 Best Things to Do in Papamoa.
Location: 1007 Papamoa Beach Road, Papamoa Beach, Papamoa, Tauranga.
10. Motiti Reserve
Finally, if the other freedom camping areas along Papamoa Beach are full then try the Motiti Reserve. It’s another spot with easy access to the beach. Here makes up two of the free camping spots in Tauranga. Stay in a self-contained vehicle.
Location: 11657 Papamoa Beach Road, Papamoa Beach, Papamoa, Tauranga.