Camping, Propane (LPG) Availability and Fuel Prices in

Australia and New Zealand

Updated June 2017


General information:  

Overnight Locations:

Their are many camping options available to you in both Australia and New Zealand.  Everything from full on holiday park resorts to national and regional parks to recognized free camping spots available in book form or via apps on your phone or tablet to park anywhere places you find yourself.  Both Australia and New Zealand have different resources available to you for locating recognized camping locations so we will cover each of them individually below.  We will list the locations we have used below.  For New Zealand, our listings are shown in alphabetical order by the name of the nearest town and are broken into South Island and North Island.  For Australia, we have switched to a chronological order for the listings, which allows you to follow our route, and listings are broken into state/territory.  The numbers in parentheses indicate the (month/year) we were there.  

GPS Coordinates:  We show coordinates for each overnight spot we stayed at and also include elevation (in meters) for the locations where we think that may be a consideration to other travelers.    

Propane (LPG): 

RVs like our Tiger, with a chassis mounted propane tank, in some countries need to go to a different location than those with removable tanks that sometimes can be refilled but also can be exchanged.  In some regions one type of tank may be easier to fill than the other while in other areas the reverse may be true.  In both Australia and New Zealand, with thousands of rental camper vans in addition to many locally owned motorhomes and caravans, LPG is readily available at many, perhaps as many as half, of the stations that carry petrol and diesel fuel.  Of those stations with LPG, some will only be able to fill replaceable tanks, but many will have the 1 3/4” Acme thread fitting needed for fixed tanks.  We had no trouble locating LPG for the rental van we were using in New Zealand, and we would also have had no difficulty getting LPG for the Tiger if we had had it with us.  Australia, if anything, will prove to be even easier to locate propane.  

Fuel Prices:

These prices give the range of what we paid in each country.  We have a diesel engine; the diesel prices are actual.  We have included the estimated prices for regular unleaded gasoline, called petrol here.  All fuel prices are shown with both the actual local cost and with that cost converted into US gallons and US Dollars at the time of our visit.

US Credit Cards: 

Credit cards in both Australia and New Zealand have an embedded chip and use a PIN for security.  These cards do not require a signature.  While US cards are beginning to move to chip technology, many continue to be based on a magnetic strip.  Either way, most US cards still require a signature rather than a PIN and ours are this type.  There do seem to be more financial institutions in the US that will issue a chip and PIN based card and we know people who are using them in Europe.  Here, we’ve had no trouble using our chip and signature cards at any location with an attendent/cashier and magnetic strip cards would work as well.  The main limitation is that our cards will not work at an unmanned 24/7 fuel station, but then our Debit card with PIN doesn’t work at these stations either so we cannot say for sure whether a US issued chip and PIN card would work.  


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Australia: 

Exchange rate:  When we arrived in mid-June 2017, the Australian Dollar was at a rate of about $1.32 to one US Dollar ($1Aus = $0.755US).  This is a good rate for us as back in 2011-2013 the US Dollar had fallen to less than the Aus Dollar and we had decided to skip coming to Australia all together.  So far, in the almost two months we have been here the situation has worsened some with the rate falling to around one Aus $ = $1.26 US ($1Aus = $0.795).  We’ll update this report as time passes.  Posted prices in Australia seem rather high to us for things like eating out, groceries and alcohol, but at the current rate of exchange things are not particularly expensive.  As always we must say that we travel in a rather basic manner.  We seldom stay in campgrounds, don’t take tours or flights to the glaciers, eat out in restaurants often, etc.  The posted prices for all of these things are high so other travelers should consider everything they may want to do in determining their own budget.  It is safe to say that Australia can be an expensive travel destination depending on what you choose to do and what your native currency exchange is at the time of your visit.  

Overnight parking regulations:  Bush camping is readily available in Australia and it is not difficult to find suitable locations.  We are currently spending a lot of time in the outback areas of South Australia, Northern Territory and now Queensland and bush camping places are everywhere, as are other options such as campgrounds and National Parks.  In more populated areas options may be more limited.  There are numerous printed atlases such as the Camps 9 series (also available as an app) to help you find bush camping options as well as caravan parks. Many travelers, including us, rely on the WikiCamps app, which is less pricey and has been working well for us.  This app can be set up to only find free camping places or Holiday Parks, National Parks or whatevery you want, including dump stations.

National Parks: Just a word on this subject.  Australia has over 500 designated National Parks, but most of them are administered separately by the States and Territory.  The result is a complex system of fees and rules that you just have to feel your way through as you go.  For example, there is no national discount pass such as is available in the US.  The most famous parks such as Uluru/Ayers Rock are pretty pricey to get into, but most parks do not have any entrance fee at all so it evens out.  There is generally a fee for camping in national parks, but it is usually quite low.  Once you give up on looking for the easily explainable solution that you think must be there, it all works out ok.

Fuel:  Fuel prices tend to be pretty consistent in populated areas, varying only a few cents per liter, and Diesel and Unleaded petrol tend to be pretty similar in cost.  Supermarket chains are affiliated with fuel stations and provide fuel discount schemes that are worthwhile to use.  In the Outback, prices will be a lot higher in out of the way places, but not in major centers like Alice Springs or Mount Isa.  We have been seeing Diesel usually in the mid $1.20s/liter Aus, but in really out of the way places it has gone up to anywhere from $1.42 to $1.79/liter, so be sure to fill up when it’s lower before heading out in the dirt.  With the current exchange rate fluctuating as noted above, it’s a little hard to be precise, but we’ve generally paid from $3.59 to $3.79 per gallon US in built up areas, but up to $5.25/gallon in the far reaches of the Outback. 

Propane:  LPG is readily available throughout Australia.  As noted above, whether you have a fixed tank or removable cylinders you will have no difficulty finding LPG, which is referred to as LPG on signage, but as gas in conversation.  It is also cheap.  We’ve only had to get it once, when the Tiger first arrived, and paid Aus $0.679/liter, or US $1.96/gallon; less than half what we were paying in New Zealand, and even less than we average in the US.


Location, Type/Cost and Description (listings in chronological order by State)

Victoria

Heathcote     Overnight Parking     Free     S36.92394  E144.71146

Heathcote is a nice small town in wine country off B75 not far from Bendigo.  We were given several free overnight spots to use for one night each.  We parked on Barrack Street near the footie grounds.  (6/17)

Heathcote     Overnight Parking     Free     S36.92893  E144.70442

We spent a second night in this area, this time parked about 1/2 mile west of town up the road to the Pink Nature Reserve.  We parked in the parking lot at the trail head, across the road from Louis De Castella Wines.  Quieter.  (6/17)

Huntley     Camping area     Free     S36.66968  E144.32651

On the edge of town we spent 2 nights in the Lions Club Park; small but sufficient.  Nice flush toilets BBQ, running water.  (6/17)

Bendigo     Dump Station     S36.73859  E144.27332

Free dump and water available at the town showgrouns.  No casual amping.  Trash and recycling and toilet block.  (6/17)

Echuca Area     Bushcamping     Free     S36.04276  E144.60451

Right on the Murray River, with lots of room.  This is a great spot.  Plenty of trees but lots of open ground as well.  No services.  Head towards the river from Wharparilla.  Goes through some private land but is well signed as okay.  (6/17)

Robinvale Area     Bushcamping     Free     S37.75422  E143.23322

Large open land area (with trees) near the Murray River; many possible spots.  Turn off B400 about 45 kms east of town at Narrung State Forest Camp One; Narrung is the closest village to the camp spot.  If traveling west, the turn will be shortly after the turn to Heywood Lake.  (6/17)


South Australia

Renmark     Overnight Parking     Free     S34.16916  E140.74486

Public park in town, with trees, playing fields, swimming pool.  Dump and water available.  (6/17)

Burra Area     Camping     Free     S33.66981  E139.10167

Just west of town is the Red Banks Conservation Preserve camping area, 10 km in on gravel road, then turn south at the Redbanks Street sign.  Charming and quiet; pit toilets.  Stayed 2 nights.  (6/17)

Port Augusta Area     Overnight     Free     S32.46262  E137.96864

About 18 km out of town on the road to Quorm there is a large rest area with plenty of open areas fairly far off the road.  Pretty area next to a cliff.  (6/17)

Flinders NP     Campgrounds     Pay     S31.35740  E138.58186

We investigated each of the campgrounds along the interior gorge loop, and decided this one, the Cambrian Campground, was the best.  We paid $10 for a one week SA NP pass, and $15/night for this campground.  It has toilets and water.  

At  S31.52441  E138.60571 we also spent a night at the Wilpena Pound visitor center campground, for $25/night/no power.  It has fuel, dump station, water, showers, and other amenities.   Powered sites are also available at this location.  (6/17)

Blinman Area     Bushcamping     Free     S30.95558  E139.21550

About 70 km east of town on a gravel road is the Chambers Gorge Camping area, at the base of Mt Gammon, south of the Vulkathunha Gammon NP visitors center.  No services.   This is an open area along a dry creek bed, with indigenous engravings up the canyon.  (7/17)

Gammon NP     Campground     Pay     S30.55520  E139.17180

Italowie Gorge camping area.  Nice open campground, good base for exploring the NP; $12/night.  Toilets and water.  (7/17)

Marree Area     Bushcamping     Free     S29.64683  E137.63867

About 25 miles northwest of town, along the Oodnadatta Track there is a pull off into trees near a train trestle.  Quiet, open and lovely at night; it is a dry stream bed.  No services.  Turn off at the Alberrie Creek sign.  (7/17)

Oodnadatta Area     Bushcamping     Free     S27.90420  E135.81071

East of town about 55 km, at the Algebuckina Crossing sign, there is a large open area near the trestle; spent 2 nights.  Great spot.  (7/17)

Cadney Park Area     Bushcamping     Free     S27.94497  E134.15169

About 12 km east of town (Cadney Park is on the A87), on the Painted Desert Highway, there is a patch of open ground; west of Copper Hill, beside the sign saying Evelyn Creek Waterway.  Quiet.  (7/17)


Northern Territory

Uluru (Ayer’s Rock) NP Area     Bushcamping     Free     S25.22249  E131.04367

Roughly 12 km east of the park entrance there is a big open grassy field with trees.  Lots of folks camp here between visits to the park.  No services.  Spent 2 nights.  (7/17)

Watarrka (Kings Canyon) NP Area     Bushcamping     Free     S24.64653  E132.31827

Along Luritja Rd, heading north off the Lassiter Hwy toward Watarrka NP, just south of the junction with Giles Rd, there is a wide open area for overnight parking.  Can get quite a distance from the road.  No services; very quiet.  (7/17)

Watarrka NP Area     Overnight Parking     Free     S24.06077  E131.40849

About 20 cm north of Kings Canyon Resort there is a large parking area among trees at the Morris Pass Lookout.  Quiet.  (7/17)

West MacDonnells NP Area     Bushcamping     Free     S23.67811  E132.67305

Across from the Glen Helen Resort, the Finke River Bushcamp has loads of spots for overnight camping; it’s a super place, along the creek bed, quite lovely; 4x4 only.  (7/17)

Alice Springs     Campground     Pay     S23.72167  E133.87030

The Gap View Hotel, at the south end of town, has both unpowered ($15/night) and powered ($25/night) sites behind the hotel.  Quite popular as we think it is the least expensive in town.  Showers, laundry, and water.    7 day limit, supposedly.   Dump station is not far away, at the showgrounds (S23.73253   E133.86014).  (7/17)

Alice Springs     Bush Camping Area     Free     S23.79204  E133.87273

Drive south from town on A87 (the Stuart Highway), after about 5 miles the road turns west and then southwest, heading for the junction with the Lassiter Highway (to Uluru).  Very soon after the first turn west, you will see a large open area to your south; this is the free bush camping area.  There is no time designation; no services.  We have spent much of a two-week period parked out here.  There is a fair amount of highway noise, but not bothersome.  Plenty of people, but plenty of room.  (7/17)

Alice Springs area     Campground     Pay     S23.52306  E137.39700

Trephina Gorge Nature Park is a lovely nature park 85 kms east of Alice Springs on the Ross Highway; paved part way.  We stayed 2 nights in the Panorama Campground, which we thought was the best of the four available.  Cost was $6.60/p/night for two people.  No entry fee to the park; great hiking.  Toilets and water available (should filter before drinking, didn’t taste that great).  Quiet area.  (7/17)

Alice Springs area     Bush Camping Area     Free     S22.95035  E133.54297

Along the Stuart Highway (87), north of Alice and just north of the turn onto the Plenty Highway, there is a large rest area with picnic tables.  It’s a very nice, quiet spot.  There were 6-8 vehicles there with us, but still plenty of room.    (8/17)

Devil’s Marbles     Campground     Pay     S20.56860  E134.26401

The campground at this nature park on the Stuart Highway is quite basic but right next to the marbles; cannot be beat.  Cost was $3.30/per/person/night.  Toilets.  Lots of space.  (8/17)

Tennant Creek area     Bushcamping Area     Free     S19.84242  E136.15504

Along the Barkly Highway (66), east of the Barkly Homestead Roadhouse, is the Wonara rest area, a nice spot set a ways back from the road.  Worked out well.  Note that both the Stuart and Barkly highways have well marked rest areas that are available for overnight stops.  (8/17)


Queensland

Mount Isa area     Rest Area     Free     S20.37417  E139.26387

About 50 km west of Mount Isa, the rest stop is along the Barkly Highway (66)  and is really quite nice.  It is a huge area, and goes back off the road for a long ways, among the trees.  Toilets, picnic spot, and a WWII monument.  Lovely and quiet.  (8/17)

Cloncurry/Mount Isa road     Rest Area     Free     S20.80043  E139.99641

Again, along the Barkly Highway (66), the Fountain Springs rest area is halfway (60 kms) between the two towns.  We didn’t stop, having found a deserted spot closer to Mount Isa, but this should work quite nicely.  (8/17)

Cloncurry/Normanton road     Bush Camp     Free     S19.29131  E140.30190

Going north on Hwy 83 towards Normanton, about 5 miles south of the intersection where Hwy 84 bisects this road, we pulled aways off the road on the left, and overnighted quietly in the bush.  (8/17)

Normanton     Town Bushcamp Area     Free     S17.66141  E141.08688

At the north edge of town, cross the river and then turn left into a very large bush camping area near the river; take note of the crocodile warnings.  The camping is free but a permit from the visitor’s centre is required (when we arrived at the visitor center a sign said closed today and no permit required).  Plenty of room; no services and a bit dusty.  Nice and quiet.  (8/17)


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New Zealand: 

Exchange rate:  During our visit in April/May 2017, the New Zealand Dollar was at a rate of about $1.44 to one US Dollar ($1NZ = $0.68US).  This is a very favorable rate for us as in recent years the rate had been more like $1.18 NZ to $1.00 US ($1NZ = $0.85US).  At the current rate of exchange we did not find New Zealand to be particularly expensive, but as always we must say that we travel in a rather basic manner.  We seldom stay in campgrounds, don’t take tours or flights to the glaciers, eat out in restaurants often, etc.  The posted prices for all of these things are high and have risen considerably over the past five years as tourism of all types has increased dramatically in New Zealand.  It is safe to say that NZ can be an expensive travel destination depending on what you choose to do and what your native currency exchange is at the time of your visit.  

Overnight parking regulations:  Freedom camping, as it is referred to here, is allowed in New Zealand, but it is controlled and the controls have tightened over recent years due to a great increase in tourism using rental vans.  We are traveling here very much in the shoulder season of April and May, which is autumn in the southern hemisphere.  Still, when we have visited the most popular spots we have noticed the impact  caused by the number of rental vans; we can only imagine how busy it must be in the summer months of December to February.  Locating approved free overnight spots is not difficult using an app for your phone or tablet.  We used one from Rankers (www.rankers.co.nz), a company that is a great source of information on everything to do with camper van travel in NZ; from choosing your rental company to organizing your travel.  Their app also lists dump stations, regular camp sites and many other items that will be useful to you.  We recommend them highly.

DOC (Department of Conservation) operates New Zealand’s national parks, public lands and campgrounds.  Basic DOC sites are sometimes free, but camping rates for sites with fees have increased dramatically within the past few years.  A weekly pass is available from Rankers that will save money if you plan to use DOC campgrounds frequently.  Also, if you plan to spend more time in NZ than we did, joining the Camping Club (nzcma.org.nz) may make sense and they have longer term DOC passes available.

Fuel:  Fuel prices vary only somewhat on South Island, but for some reason much more on North Island.  Prices are generally posted clearly other than at unmanned 24/7 stations.  Diesel prices are significantly lower than Petrol, by around $.70NZ/liter, but this is somewhat misleading.  Local residents pay an annual fee when they register their Diesel vehicle while most, but not all, rental companies charge a Diesel Surcharge of $0.06NZ/kilometer for diesel powered vans, paid when you return the rental at the end of your visit. This fee makes up most of the difference in the lower cost of Diesel vs Petrol, but not all.  During our stay we paid between $1.05NZ and $1.35NZ/liter of Diesel ($2.70US to $3.50US/gallon).  Supermarket chains provide either fuel discount coupons or use a shopping card plan to give you discounts for fuel each time you shop.  Mobil stations also give a discount for fuel purchases over $40NZ, so watch for those as well.

Propane:  LPG is readily available throughout New Zealand.  As noted above, whether you have a fixed tank or removable cylinders you will have no difficulty finding LPG, which is referred to as LPG on signage, but as gas in conversation.  LPG is sometimes charged by the Liter and sometimes by the Kilogram (one KG = almost two liters), but either way, the price reflects the different method of measurement.  It is rather expensive at between $4.50/$5.00 US per gallon after conversion.


Location, Type/Cost and Description (listings in alphabetical order)

South Island

Charteris Bay  Overnight  $10pp/night  S43.65908  E172.70709

We ended up at Orton Bradley Park in this small corner of Lyttelton Harbor because we couldn’t find the designated free-camping spot at Governor’s Bay and were too tired to keep looking.  This is a private community park, quite lovely, with extensive grounds in a rural area, not far from Diamond Harbor.  Our site was without power, the serviced sites were $12pp/night.  The road follows the edge of the bay; we accessed by taking a “faster” route, thanks to our GPS, which took us over Dyer’s Pass, a huge mistake.  Much better to come through Lyttelton.  (4/17)

Cromwell area   Overnight   Free  S45.00779  E169.21411  

North of town approx. 2 miles on SH6, going up the west side of the lake, stop at Lowburn Harbor.  There is a large grassy area by the water.  Very pleasant; toilets, no dump.  Dump in tow at PB station.  Stayed again later in the month.  Quiet night.  (4/17)

Cust   Overnight  Free   S43.30172  E172.37010

We spent two nights at the Domain park in this small community west of Christchurch.  Very simple, but quiet and peaceful.  There is a children’s play area and open fields.  The only facilities were toilets.  It was great.  (4/17)

Dunedin area   Overnight & Dump  Free  S45.94826  E170.33516.  

Brighton Domain sports field.  Lots of parking areas around the field.  Toilets.  We parked right on the edge of the cliff over the ocean at Brighton Beach.  Max 2 days.  There is a dup across the way at Brighton Motor Camp (probably not free).  Took about 1/2 hour to get into Dunedin each day.  We also found a second dump (this one free) near Brighton at S45.93755  E170.35686  (4/17)

Dunedin   Day Parking   $5.00/all day/ free on Sundays  S45.87473  E170.50993.

We parked at the railway station two days running.  It is plenty close enough to walk into the center of town to  see the sights, and there is wifi in the railway cafe.  Use the lot at the east end of the station, as it has some larger spaces.  (4/17)

Fortrose   Overnight  Free  S46.58575  E168.80206

East of town take Boat Harbor Rd off the coastal scenic route and follow it to the cliffs next to the edge of a golf course.  Delightful and quiet; watch for muddy areas when rainy.  If you are approaching this site from Fortrose itself, take the road through the village and you will come to another site first, Morley Terrace.  It is more level and may suit you better, but we liked the cliff site a lot.  (4/17)

Franz Josef Glacier area  Overnight  $13pp/night  S43.29746  E170.22440

Lake Mapourika DOC Campground is a short distance north of the FJ Glacier.  As you enter, you can go right (to the MacDonald area), or to the left, to Otto’s Corner.  Go left.  It’s a small, delightful area right near the lake and is just great.  Flush toilets!  (4/17)

Glenhope area  Overnight  Free  S41.57676  E172.76953  Elevation 350 meters

The Clark Valley Recreation site on SH6 north of where SH63 turns east to Blenheim, and situated between Glenhope and Korere made a good overnight stop.  It has large open areas with lots of trees.  Somewhat close to the road; toilet.  (4/17)

Gore area  Overnight & Dump  $10.00 pp/night  S46.06322  E168.82722

Council Domain campground with power and facilities near Gore in the Hokonui Hills.  Lovely.  In nearby Croyden, turn in at the Croyden Motel/Lodge off SH94 and follow signage to Dolamore Park.  Signage not great, but visible.  Toilets, dump, showers.  As you leave, you will cross a little bridge, and if you angle off to the left, you will see the dump at the left end of the toilet block across the field.  (4/17)

Haast area  Overnight  $13 pp/night  S43.72168  E169.41121

Lake Parina DOC campground north of the town of Haast.  Right on the lake; quite charming.  Sandflies not bad.  Pit toilets.  (4/17)

Invercargill area   Overnight  Free  S46.28478  E168.08537

A bit north of Thornbury, about 30 km west from Invercargill off SH99 heading towards Riverton.  Grassy areas on both sides of the highway.  Signed as a picnic area; it is just after you cross the bridge.  Toilets and trash dumpster.  We came back for a second night.  (4/17)

Katike   Overnight  Free  S45.40017  E170.83946

Close to SH1 in a grove of trees right next to the beach, a short distance north of the village.  Going south, turn just after the bridge crossing the train tracks.  No services.  (4/17)

Lake Ellesmere  Overnight  Free  S43.79848  E172.36893

Lakeside Domain along one arm of the lake.  Short distance on gravel.  Water and toilets.  (4/17)

Lawrence   Overnight  Free  S45.87860  E169.68620

Gabriel’s Gully Rd comes out of the middle of this small town on SH90 and carries you out about 3.5 km to the Historic Preserve.  Take the small gravel road down to a small pond; lots of room, and lovely.  There are dump and fresh water in town.  Turn right where Gabriel’s Gully Rd joins SH90 and go a short distance; they are opposite the police station.  (4/17)

Nelson area  Overnight  Free  S41.18481  E173.48686

About 30 km east of Nelson on SH6 between Nelson and Rai Valley we spent the night at the Graham Stream Picnic area.  Possibly the nicest spot yet.  Large grassy area midst trees; quiet except some road traffic.  No facilities.  (5/17)

Picton  Overnight Street Parking       

We wandered until we found a street that was off the main thoroughfare but not in a residential neighborhood, and parked for the night.  There is a parking lot across from the ferry terminal, and we had been directed there, but it said no overnight camping.  Confused and very tired, we simply found a spot in town and stopped.  We were not disturbed during the night.  There is a designated Freedom Camping area about 8-10 km south of town, but it was already full; there is nothing closer.  (5/17)

Pleasant Point    Overnight  $12.00/person.  S44.26205  E171.14417

Pleasant Point Domain Tennis and Rugby Club.  Full services beside the field; pretty spot.  No dump.  Pay and get key ($20 deposit) at Pleasant Point Dairy in the village.  $9/person w/out power.  Very large and can handle lots of people.  (4/17)

Punakaiki Pancake Rocks   Overnight   Free  S42.10669  E171.33969

About 1km north of the Rocks visitor center there is a parking area called Pororari River Track Carpark; the village nearby is Punk.  Just a parking lot, with no services.  Somewhat buggy, even this far from the water, but it’s about to rain.  Quit a nice spot.  This is a DOC Freedom camping spot for self-contained vehicles only.   (4/17)

Queenstown area   Overnight Free  S44.99245  E168.43150

North of town, on SH 91 along Lake Wakatipu, we spent the night at the DOC free camp at 25 mile bridge.  No services.  Right on the water; delightful; some sand flies.  Room for several rigs.  (4/17

Richmond.  Dump and water  S41.32917  E173.19028

This is an excellent free public facility not far from Nelson with plenty of room to maneuver; right next to the bay.  There was one RV there which looked like it was staying the night; no adverse signage.  A great spot.  (5/17)

Takaka    Overnight  Free  S40.83151  E172.79253

Waitapu River Bridge overnight spot didn’t have much to offer, it’s just a gravel dump area near the river.  But it was quiet and there is a toilet.  It’s about 2-3 miles above the town of Takaka, on SH60 along the road to Collingwood.  Lots of room.  (5/17)

Te Anau area   Overnight $13pp/night  S44.89452  E168.07613

Cascade Creek DOC Campground along the road between Te Anau and Milford Sound.  Toilets; campfires permitted.  Large open field with plenty of room.  About 1/3 way to the Sound.  (4/17)

Te Anau area   Overnight  $13pp/night  S45.40942  E167.70702

Henry Creek DOC Campground.  First camping opportunity after leaving Te Anau headed for Mildred Sound.  Smallish but adequate; toilets only.  There are numerous DOC sites between Te Anau and Milford Sound.  (4/17)

Twizel area   Overnight  Free  S44.18330  E170.15369

North of Twizel, turning east on SH8, at the foot of Lake Pukaki, a little east of the Visitors Center, there is a large free camping area used by many  folks as it has a terrific view of the Southern Alps at Aoraki/ Mt Cook.  Delightful.  (4/17)

Winchester area   Overnight Free  S44.18237  E171.2749

Winchester Bridge Reserve.  Trash barrels and pit toilets.  Quiet despite being near the road.  (4/17)


North Island

Auckland Museum  Street Parking  S36.85975  E174.77524  

There is some motorhome-specified parking near the museum, but it was full.  We found street parking nearby; it varied between 2-3 hours free parking.  We moved to a second spot in order to have more time at the museum.  There is no adverse O/N parking signage, but very sloping.  (5/17)

Auckland area  Overnight   Free  S36.85963  E174.71599

While visiting the museum, we got permission to stay the night in the parking area at the MOTAT Aviation Collection.  Quiet during the night.  No services.  (5/17)

Auckland Area     LPG fill     at BP station on Cavendish    S36.99076  E174.86787

Cape Pelliser   Camping   Donation  S41.58939  E175.23303

short of Cape Palliser is the Ngawi-Pelliser Domain.  We were parked on the edge of the water, with a great view.  The fish and chips shack was close at hand but they were closed, probably because it was Monday.  Trash only; n other services.  We gave a $2.00 donation. (5/17)

Cape Reinga area  Overnight  Free  S34.94521  E173.18677

Lake Waiparara overnight spot along SH1 about 6-8 miles before reaching Cape Reinga.  Camping area is next to the lake; about 18km south of Pukenui.  Lovely spot; no services; one of the best yet.  (5/17)

Drury  Dump Station  S37.10238  E174.95287

If you are heading for the Auckland airport area from the south, this is an excellent place to dump your waste tank before turning in a rental vehicle.  Take the Drury exit off SH1 and go east to Norris Road, where you go right then almost immediately left onto Tui Street.  Go directly ahead to the yellowish building (Drury Hall).  No fresh water.  (5/17)

Gisborne Camping  Free  S38.66610  E178.02902

There is designated parking along the river marina.  A gorgeous, lovely, perfect spot.  Short walk into center of town.  Toilet block on site.  Room for about a dozen rigs.  (6/17)

Gulf Harbor  Overnight  Free  S36.62479  E174.78589

Take exit 398 off SH1 to avoid toll road ahead, then follow signage within Gulf Harbor to Whangaparoa and on to end of road.  There is a designated motorhome parking area, 2 night maximum.  Toilets and dump, but no water.  Excellent spot.  (5/17)

Hamilton area   Overnight  Free  S37.40621  E175.14792

Te Kauwhata Rugby Club field and large parking area with plenty of room.  Toilets and trash receptacles.  A little unkempt but serviceable and friendly.  Some 25 miles north of Hamilton on SH1; not far off the highway and into the village.  (5/17)

Kaikohe  Overnight  Free  S35.41067  E173.80382

Lindvart Park parking area, along edge of field in town of Kaikohe on SH12 about 10km west of where SH12 goes west off SH1 in Northland.  No services.  Dump station is at S35.41184  E173.80110; right on the road but hard to see due to lack of signage, it is a little further west on the same road, and across the street, just west of the Pioneer Village sign; has fresh water.  (5/17)

Masterton  Camping  Free  S40.95097  E175.67830

Lake Henley is on the east edge of town and there are two large parking areas; no adverse signage.  The town is along SH2.  Very nice area; quite popular with locals during the day.  Walks around the lake, etc.  Toilets over near the primary school.  Stayed 2 nights.  (5/17)

Matakohe   Overnight  Free S36.12952  E174.18480  

Asked and received permission to stay the night at the Kauri Museum; quite sloping, but manageable.  The Kauri Museum is excellent; along SH12.  (5/17)

Napier  Camping Free  S39.47813  E176.89592

Perfume Point parking area has 4 designated spots in its lot; this is towards the north end of town.  We chose to park in another spot in the lot.  At 10pm the police came by and said we needed to move, as there were no designated spots available.  He guided us over to a spot further south on the Marine Parade.  This lot had plenty of space, and a dump/water station on site.  It was at S39.50940  E176.91817.  It was a good spot; no problems.  6/17)

New Plymouth - Mt Taranaki area  Overnight  Free  S39.26980  E174.09645  Elevation 928 meters

The North Egmont Visitor Center allows overnight parking in the lot for the center.  There are toilets at the building, but not sure they are available overnight.  Terrific place to wake up on a clear morning, though cold due to elevation.  (5/17)

Otaki area  Overnight  Free  S40.72112  E175.24733

Waikawa DOC Campground.  Take Manakau Road North going east off SH1; this is a few miles north of Otaki.  Travel 2 miles in to reach a lovely forest park.  Toilets and cooking shelter near a pretty river.  Quiet.  (5/17)

Pukehina Beach  Camping  Free  S37.76035  E176.48405

Gorgeous spot.  Follow the road to the end, which is Dotterel Point.  Couldn’t be finer.  We stayed 2 nights.  Toilets on site.  About 6 spaces designated for motorhomes.  Fish and chips available at The Store, which is 4.8 km back along the road.  We left a chair in our spot to hold it, and nobody bothered us.  A great finish to our time here.  (6/17)

Te Kaha area   Camping  Free  S37.72765 E177.69470

The Maraetai Bay/Te Kaha Recreation Reserve a bit north of the town of Te Kaha is a nice little community park.  3 night maximum.  Toilets.  Pretty close to the road but very near the water.  Quiet night.  (6/17)  

Te Kiuti area  Overnight  Free  S38.35715  E175.19330

The Mangoakewa Reserve is south of town on SH30 maybe 8-10 miles, then left into a lovely gorge with stream and lake.  Gorgeous and quiet; a special space.  Tons of room; sites with grills, toilets, play area.  Little sun in winter, but still quite splendid.  (5/17)

Turangi  Overnight  Free S38.98686  E175.81651

Picnic area on north edge of town.  Large open space and plenty of trees; can get away from the road (SH1).  (5/17)

Waikane  Overnight  Free  S40.87488  E175.05078

Smallish city park along Park Avenue.  Nice area of town.  We couldn’t find the official site that is listed near here, but no one bothered us.  Lovely park with children’s play area.  (5/17)

Whangarei  Overnight  Free  S35.72633  E174.32890

Parking area alongside the Town Basin; quite lovely.  Only 8 designated spaces; if they are full, you can o/n in another space and then move to be properly parked as a space becomes available during the day (if staying).  No services, but can walk to everything in town.  Dump and water a mile or so away, with clear directions at entrance to the lot.  (5/17)

Whanganui  Overnight  Free  S39.93143  E175.04796

Parking lot for the RSA Center; donations accepted.  Apparently no time limit.  This is a unique and terrific spot in an excellent location mid-town.  There are two power plugs available in one corner of the lot.  Check in with the RSA office.  No other services.  Cafe on site; plenty of cafes nearby.  (5/17)  

Wellington area  Overnight  Free  S41.09769  E174.86861

This is a brilliant location.  North of Wellington in the town of Mana, is the Ngatitoa/Parameta Domain camping area, right along the water in a lovely community park area.  The train station is very close for getting into Wellington (maybe 30 miles away), and a supermarket just beyond it.  It is free and signed 3 nights only, but we were told no one would shove us off if we stayed longer.  No water or dump on site, but the nearby BP station has a dump, and there is potable water available behind the building across from the toilet block that you pass as you enter the camping area.  Just perfect.  We stayed 3 nights.  (5/17)


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