Responsible Camping

sign snip

Kaikōura has many holiday parks and campgrounds. Please support local businesses by choosing to stay at one of these. 

Responsible camping sites wind down for winter

As the summer season draws to a close, Council is winding down its’ trial of promoting sites for responsible camping. Visitors are being asked to use a commercial campground instead.

The trial sites were established in late 2018 with the aim of decreasing unwanted behaviours, supporting local (commercial) alternatives to freedom camping, and making it easier for affected residents to report issues/ act as guardians for camping areas. The trial changed campers behaviour and reduced pressure on previous impacted sites such as Kiwa Road but also identified a new range of issues including impact on businesses and our environment.

The wind down means portaloos have been removed and the Scarborough Street site gate has been closed and locked. options for a physical barrier for the Pohowera site are being investigated. In the meantime, it has been significantly reduced in size to help control camper numbers and their environmental impact.

 Information about the wind down is being shared through the Council website, Facebook page and other channels used by those who choose to freedom camp. Replacement signs are being developed. 

Although council is continuing to encourage campers to use commercial campgrounds or to camp responsibly, the wind down of the sites is expected to see more freedom campers move to areas such as the South Bay picnic or reserve areas, Jimmy Armers beach and the lookout. The removal of the portaloos may result in more campers using the beach as a toilet. Council staff will continue to monitor these areas monthly and clean up waste as they become aware of it.  

The public can help by reporting issues such as human waste or litter through the contact us form  or by calling 03 319 5026 during business hours.

Work to look at creating a Responsible Freedom Camping bylaw for Kaikōura under the Freedom Camping Act 2011 is now underway. Options around a bylaw are currently being consulted on as part of this year’s Annual Plan.

The Responsible Camping Working Group will be a key part of working towards a bylaw and developing sites and solutions that are right for our district. As well as shaping the development of a bylaw, their work over the next year will include identifying changes or improvements to trial sites, developing a plan for the coming summer and working together to identify what funding that can be applied for to help reduce the cost to ratepayers. Councillors Pablecheque and Mackle have joined the Responsible Camping Working Group. The group will meet again in late May and will be invited to make a submission as part of the annual plan process.

Work underway to plan for the future of camping at Kiwa Road

There is a closure in place at Kiwa Road due to the ongoing health risk posed by the presence of human waste in the area. Council is encouraging people not to camp in the area to avoid the health risk and to allow the area to recover from environmental degradation caused by heavy use over the last summer. This is not a camping ban. People using the site over this summer do so at their own risk.

We're working with our community and area users to develop a plan for its’ use in the future.  

If you'd like to know more or get involved, please email us or read more here 

 Useful links 


1 May 2019