Responsible Freedom Camping

Under COVID-19 Alert Level 1 or 2 Freedom camping in the Kaikōura District will be subject to the normal controls contained in Kaikōura District Council’s Responsible Freedom Camping Bylaw 2019. These controls include, but are not limited to, requiring self-contained vehicles, definition of prohibited camping areas and limits on how long campers may stay in permitted areas. Please support our local businesses and accommodation providers as much as possible, thank you.

Please help to stop the spread of COVID-19 by


Kaikōura welcomes those who camp responsibly. We ask all campers to treat our environment with respect and not to leave rubbish or human waste behind them.

Responsible Freedom Camping Bylaw


The Responsible Freedom Camping Bylaw 2019 outlines where camping for free can and cannot happen in Kaikōura and all relevant rules and fines.
The main things you need to know is.......

  • Responsible Campers in the Kaikōura District must have a self contained vehicle (no tents, sorry) that complies with NZ Standard Self Containment NZS5465:2001. The certification for a self-contained warrant needs to be displayed on the vehicle.
  • Overnight Camping is for the period between 8pm and 7am, this is to ensure that locals and visitors can also access the areas where the Responsible Camping sites are located.
  • Except where this Bylaw provides for a lesser period, no person may Responsibly Camp for more than 3 nights in any four-week consecutive period in any one area or within 500 m of that area. This is to ensure that everyone has a chance to stay in Kaikōura and enjoy the district.
  • Vehicles must park within defined spaces or within identified parking areas, whichever is present. One vehicle per space please.
  • No use of public facilities to; wash dishes; wash clothes; dry clothes; bathe; except for facilities designated for that purpose. A site can very quickly look messy so please keep your personal effects inside the vehicle. 
  • Public Toilets are available at South Bay Reserve, Boat Harbour, West End Car Park, Cnr Mill and Beach Road, Gooch’s Beach and Kiwa Road, Mangamaunu.
  • Public Dump Station is available at South Bay Reserve – on left hand side just inside of gate.
  • Council encourages travelers and campers to use local accommodation and support our local businesses as much as possible.

Under the Responsible Freedom Camping bylaw, all council owned or managed land in the district is either; a prohibited area, a permitted area (with restrictions) or a designated responsible camping site. The bylaw does not cover private land, DoC land, KiwiRail or NZTA land. Those who want to camp for free must check the Responsible Camping Bylaw 2019 and follow all applicable rules or face a minimum $200 fine.

Check out a full copy of the Responsible Freedom Camping Bylaw 2019 here

Complaints, issues and requests for service


Responsible Camping Bylaw enforcement

Responsible Camping Ambassadors are here to help educate visitors and residents and make sure the bylaw is followed. Fines can be issued for any/all of the following;

-not following the rules for the area (includes camping in prohibited or closed areas, overstaying etc.)
-interfering with or damaging flora or fauna or any structure (fences, signs etc)
-not disposing of effluent or solid waste properly
-using public facilities to wash clothes, dishes other items or bathe (other than facilities intended for that purpose)
-camping in an area that has been temporarily closed. 

The issue will be referred to our Responsible Camping Ambassadors and responded to as soon as possible. 

Noise Control, Animal Control and Parking 

Complaints about wandering or aggressive dogs, wandering stock or potential animal welfare concerns. Complaints about noise. Complaints about illegal parking (not paying, parked over several spaces, overstaying stated time limits). 

  •  Call 027 668 8780 (24/7 service. Please call. Texts will not be received or replied to.)

Calls will be dealt with by on-duty staff. 

Rubbish, littering and human waste

Council is responsible for managing any issues around human waste or dumped rubbish

  • call 03 319 5026 (business hours only)
  • report an issue anytime through the Contact Us page 

Council staff will log the complaints with the appropriate team and they will be dealt with as soon as possible. 

Public Safety/Indecency

To raise concerns about personal or public safety, drug or alcohol abuse, inappropriate behaviour, public nudity/indecency including toileting please contact the Police.

  • For urgent or life-threatening issues call 111
  • For non-urgent or life threatening issues call the Police on 105

Fire Safety

Members of the public concerned for their safety or safety of their property due to a fire should always call 111.

Fire and Emergency NZ are responsible for managing fire safety in NZ, including fires on or near our beaches and coastal areas. Council works with FENZ to ensure our communities are aware of any fire regulations and know what they should or should not do. 

16 December 2020