Where to Camp in Christchurch© Pxhere
Where to Camp in Christchurch

Where to Camp in Christchurch ⛺ [2023]

© Pxhere

The Guide to Camping in Christchurch

As the major hub of the South Island packed with free and cheap things to do, Christchurch is one of those rare cities in New Zealand where you can actually save money. Why spoil this amazing fact by staying in expensive accommodation? Camping in Christchurch is no doubt an appealing option for many travellers, but where exactly can you camp in Christchurch?

There are three types of camping options in Christchurch: holiday parks, one Department of Conservation campsite, and freedom camping for those with a certified self-contained vehicle. Those without a self-contained vehicle would be better to make use of the holiday parks or some of Christchurch’s backpacker hostels to save money on accommodation.

So take a look at the directory below to find the perfect place to park up your van or pitch your tent for a night in Christchurch.

5 Best Places to Camp in Christchurch

Before we list all of the holiday parks, campsites and freedom camping areas in Christchurch, here are some of the best places in Christchurch to sleep under the stars:

  1. Orton Bradley Park – Seasonal camping on a private parkland with walking trails and an on-site cafe serving delicious takeaway pizza
  2. Little River Campground – Seasonal campground on the way to Akaroa with native bush and lively birdlife
  3. Tasman Holiday Parks – Christchurch – The full holiday experience with a pool, playground, bar/restaurant and more
  4. North South Holiday Park – One of the best holiday parks close to the city centre, as well as outer city attractions
  5. Spencer Beach TOP 10 Holiday Park – Great value for money for one of the best beach campsites in Christchurch.

Where to Camp in Christchurch© JUCY Group

Holiday Parks in Christchurch

Holiday parks in Christchurch have a range of facilities at a high standard. Unsurprisingly, this comes at a higher price than other types of campsites. They offer a number of accommodation types, but campers can always rely on holiday parks to have powered sites to plug in their campervan, as well as tent sites (providing there is availability). Expect to pay approximately NZ$21-$54 per tent site (one/two people) and NZ$23-$44 per powered site (one/two people).

For more on what to expect from a holiday park, check out The Accommodation Guide to Holiday Parks in New Zealand.

Christchurch City

Outskirts of Christchurch

  • Riverlands Holiday Park, Kaiapoi – Attractive riverside setting, can be an affordable camping option for a solo travellers
  • Pascoe Park, Styx – Affordable camping option on the edge of Christchurch
  • Kairiki Holiday Park, Kairiki – Parkland camping above the mouth of the Waimakariri River
  • Woodend Beach Holiday Park, Woodend Beach – Spacious campsites at a premium rate
  • Rangiora Eco Holiday Park, Rangiora – Camping with a swimming pool near the Rangiora Race Track
  • Rangiora Leigh Holiday Park, Rangiora – Rural campsite on the outskirts of Rangiora
  • Orton Bradley Park, Charteris Bay – Seasonal campsite on private parkland
  • Little River Campground, Little River – Seasonal campground on the way to Akaroa.
pxhere© pxhere

Department of Conservation Campsite

There is only one campsite maintained by the DOC in Christchurch. Facilities include flush toilets and water supply. However, the campsite has been closed for a couple of years now so see the link below for reopening dates:

Note that prices are approximate and subject to change.

Where to Camp in Christchurch© ChristchurchNZ

Council Campsite

Christchurch has very little in the way of council-run campsites. The only one in the area can be found on the outskirts of the city on the way to Lake Ellesmere. Expect basic recreational facilities and be prepared to be self-sufficient.

  • Waihora Park Reserve Campsite – NZ$10 per person. Suitable for tents, car camping and motorhomes.

Note that prices are approximate and subject to change.

NZPocketGuide.com© NZPocketGuide.com

Freedom Camping in Christchurch

Freedom camping in Christchurch is only permitted to those with a certified self-contained vehicle. Freedom camping in a non-self-contained vehicle or tent is illegal. Those in a self-contained campervan can camp for a maximum of two nights in most of the public areas in the city. However, freedom camping is prohibited in the following areas:

  • Christchurch city centre (anywhere enclosed in Deans Ave, Harper Ave, Bealey Ave, Fitzgerald Ave and Moorhouse Ave)
  • New Brighton Beach car park
  • North Beach car park
  • Southshore Spit
  • Lyttleton town centre
  • Naval Point
  • Rapaki
  • Purau

For a more detailed map of the prohibited freedom camping areas, check out the Christchurch City Council website.

When freedom camping, please respect the environment and follow the 10 Golden Rules of Camping in New Zealand.

More on Where to Camp in Christchurch

That’s it for our guide on where to camp in Christchurch. For more accommodation tips, as well as for visiting Christchurch, take a look at these guides:

Finally, if there’s anything we’ve missed, you’re likely to find it in The Complete Guide to Christchurch.


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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