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10 Free Camping Spots in Auckland

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Freedom Camping in Auckland

Nothing sounds sweeter to a backpacker or budget traveller’s ears than the word “free”. Freedom camping in Auckland is a great way to save tens of dollars when travelling around New Zealand. The Auckland region has a limited number of free camping spots, but the few it does have are only open to certified self-contained vehicles staying a maximum of two nights. Take a look at the list below for free camping spots in Auckland.

Remember to camp responsibly when freedom camping in New Zealand following the 11 Golden Rules of Camping in New Zealand. For more options for camping in Auckland, take a look at Where to Camp in Auckland.

Update: Under the Reserves Act, you cannot freedom camp on Auckland Council reserves and regional parks even in a self-contained vehicle. If in doubt, check the freedom camping page on the Auckland Council website.

1. Gulf Harbour Car Park

A pretty sweet seaside spot for certified self-contained vehicles. The Gulf Harbour Car Park has public toilets. Maximum stay is two nights. Find out How to Get Your Campervan Certified Self-Contained.

Location: End of Laurie Southwick Parade, Gulf Harbour, Whangaparaoa, Auckland. For a visual location of the Gulf Harbour freedom camping area, take a look at the Auckland Council website.

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2. Ray’s Rest Reserve

Get in early to secure your spot in this popular free campground on the edge of the Auckland and Waikato regions. With a certified self-contained vehicle, you can stay for up to two consecutive nights in one calendar month at the Ray’s Rest Reserve. A good place for a walk on the beach and watching wading birds. Note that there are no facilities.

Location: Rays Rest Reserve, East Coast Road, Kaiaua. Check out the Hauraki District Council website for more details on this freedom camping spot.

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3. Car Park Opposite Western Springs Reserve

An inner-city suburb location nearby attractions such as MOTAT and Western Springs, the freedom camping area opposite the Western Springs Reserve is a tempting prospect. Only a maximum of five vehicles can stay the night at this spot and you can only stay one night, leaving by 9am the following day. Needless to say, your vehicle must also be certified self-contained.

Location: 820 Great North Road, Grey Lynn. For a visual of the freedom parking area, check out the Auckland Council website.

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4. Hamilton’s Gap

A countryside drive on the Awhitu Peninsula brings you to Hamilton’s Gap, a freedom camping area on the coast. There are public toilets and a stunning beach to explore! Your vehicle must be certified self-contained to stay here.

Location: End of West Coast Road, Awhitu Peninsula.

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5. Rosa Birch Car Park

A good option for a quick overnight stay when driving in or out of Auckland, the Rosa Birch Car Park overlooks fields and is located close to PAKn’SAVE. Stay a maximum of two nights in the car park with toilet facilities. Your vehicle must be certified self-contained to stay here.

Location: Beresford Street, Pukekohe.

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6. Port Albert Domain

Located in South Kaipara, the Port Albert Domain is open to freedom campers in a certified self-contained vehicle staying a maximum of two nights. There are a children’s playground, toilets and a historic wharf at the site.

Location: Wharf Road, Port Albert, Rodney. For a visual location for this freedom camping area, see the Auckland Council website.

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7. Sunburst Avenue, Snells Beach

The popular summer holiday hotspot, Snells Beach, offers an area for freedom campers providing they have a certified self-contained vehicle and only stay a maximum of two nights. There are five dedicated parking spaces for motorhomes at the Sunburst Avenue car park.

Location: Sunburst Avenue, Snells Beach.

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8. Parry Kauri Park

Just south of Warkworth, Parry Kauri Park is a museum and a freedom camping area for campers with a certified self-contained vehicle. Learn about the kauri milling history of the area and walk a short kauri bushwalk during your stay.

Location: 32 Tudor Collins Drive, Warkworth. For a visual location for this freedom camping area, see the Auckland Council website.

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9. Hatfield’s Beach

Stay in Orewa, north of Auckland city, at the car park at Hatfield’s Beach. Those with a certified self-contained campervan can stay up to two nights and enjoy some fishing and swimming while you’re there.

Location: 544 Hibiscus Coast Highway, Hatfields Beach, Orewa.

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10. Te Toro Scenic Reserve

Update: Under the Reserves Act, you cannot freedom camp on Auckland Council reserves and regional parks even in a self-contained vehicle, which may also include Te Toro Scenic Reserve. This page will be updated once this has been confirmed.

Overlooking the Manukau Harbour, freedom camping in the Te Toro Scenic Reserve is a pleasant freedom camping spot with a small beach to relax at. Freedom camping is for two nights maximum with a certified self-contained vehicle, is first-come-first-served and must be in the signposted area. Public toilet facilities and picnic benches are available.

Location: After 494 Te Toro Road, Awhitu Peninsula, Auckland.

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[CLOSED] Matheson Bay

[Update: Matheson Bay is no longer open for freedom camping].

This well-kept secret on the Hibiscus Coast is not only a great swimming spot but also has a small freedom camping area in a sign-posted grassy reserve. Those with certified self-contained vehicles can stay for up to two nights. Check for wet grass conditions before parking up.

Location: Matheson Bay Road, Leigh.

More on Free Camping in Auckland

That’s it for our guide to free camping in Auckland. For more freedom camping advice, take a look at the following articles:

Finally, if there’s anything we’ve missed, you’re likely to find it in Where to Camp in Auckland.

Author

Robin C.

This article was reviewed and published by Robin, the co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. He has lived, worked and travelled across 16 different countries before calling New Zealand home. He has now spent over a decade in the New Zealand tourism industry, clocking in more than 600 activities across the country. He is passionate about sharing those experiences and advice on NZ Pocket Guide and its YouTube channel. Robin is also the co-founder of several other South Pacific travel guides.

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