Helpful tips for campers in NZ – where to sleep and shower for free (or almost free)

Camper friendly places to stop/sleep/stay for free even if you’re not driving a self-contained vehicle (December 2013):
- Akaroa, Banks Peninsula, South Island – camper friendly car park in the village harbour, it’s even signed on tourist map of Akaroa, public toilets nearby
- Taupo, North Island – it is a very camper friendly city taking into account there are two free car parks for campers, public toilets and hot shower facilities in Super Loo ($2.50 for 4 mins). The two car parks are both in the city centre right on the lake shore. One is official and is signposted, but it’s for self-contained campers only. The other one is a little further down the road in Boat Harbour to the left of public toilets.
- Lower Hutt, close to Wellington, North Island – there is a huge park along the river in Lower Hutt where campers stop for a night. The park is big and shady so it’s easy to find a spot.
- Franz Joseph Glacier, South Island – on a way to Gilliespies Beach, after the turn of Matheson Lake, there is a river on the left hand side with an easily accessible space where campers stop.
- any DOC campsite is a good spot, they usually cost $6 per adult and $3 per kid and are widely available in the South. There are less of them on the North, though.
- rest areas that don’t have ‘No Camping’ sign are good as well, but it’s harder to find them closer to big cities or tourist attractions
- best advice is to try and stop before big cities and touristic places if looking for a free place to stop, because there are usually no places that are camper friendly and every corner has a ‘No camping or overnight stay’ sign

Showers for desperate travelers:
Finding a shower may not be easy at all in NZ. We’ve lost quite a lot of time looking for it at times. Here is a list of what we found on the way:
- Taupo, North Island – Super Loo ($2.50 for 4 mins) hot shower, city centre
- Wellington, North Island – Botanic Gardens Sports Field, hot showers, free
- Wellington, North Island – Oriental Bay following the road further down, there are public toilets with cold showers, free
- Te Anau, South Island – public toilets in central park, $5 for 8 mins, shower can be shared
- Kerr Bay DOC Campsite, Nelson Lakes, South Island – $2 for 5 mins for non-campers and $1 for campers, also has free kitchen facilities and toilets for non campers and laundry ($3 washer, $2 dryer)
- Mt Cook Village, South Island – Public Shelter, $2 for 5 mins
- Pelorous Bridge DOC Campsite, South Island – hot showers and kitchen for a fee for non-campers
- Anakiwa, Marlborough Sounds, South Isnald – public toilets on the beach have free cold showers
- Auckland airport, North Island
- Cambridge, North Island – Super Loo with toilets and showers

Happy camping!

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