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Camping in Kaikōura

Thousands of visitors are drawn to Kaikōura to experience the unique culture, the unspoiled coastal environment and to interact with the abundant marine life. If you are planning to camp in our district, please support local businesses or minimize the risk of pollution by choosing to stay at one of our Holiday Park campgrounds or the Puhi Puhi DOC standard campsite. If you want to stay at a freedom campsite, please find out your options on this page.

Responsible Freedom Camping

We warmly welcome responsible freedom campers in the Kaikōura District. The idea behind responsible camping is that we keep in mind the Tiaki Promise which means that all people who live and travel in New Zealand have a responsibility to treat the environment with respect. In terms of freedom camping this means not to leave rubbish or human waste behind.

The Kaikōura council is promoting three designated sites for responsible freedom camping use over the 2018-19 summer.
The sites are:

  • Pohowera site off SH1 south of South Bay. Temporary toilets have been provided. The site is limited to up to 30 campsites, CCTV is being used to monitor vehicle numbers. It is suitable for tents or self-contained campers.
  • Scarborough Street Recreation Reserve near Innovative Waste Kaikōura – This site is grass and may only be suitable for 4×4 during or after heavy rain. Temporary toilets have been provided. It is suitable for tents or self-contained campers and is fenced to limit numbers.
  • South Kekerengu – Self-contained only site


Click here to find out where to find our freedom campsites on the map. On this map can find the designated freedom campsites, holiday parks, free cold showers, recycling stations and dump stations.

Please note that Council is encouraging people not to camp at Kiwa road and area this season to avoid the health risk and to allow the area to recover from environmental degradation caused by heavy use over the last summer.
Click here to visit the council website for more info on responsible freedom camping and find out what guidelines to follow.

Useful information about Freedom Camping in the rest of New Zealand.



Zero Waste

Kaikoura is a Zero Waste Community. Use our recycling centre to recycle your empty beverage cans, drink bottles and packaging or glass bottles.

See the local i-Site

Use designated public spaces, camping areas or camping grounds. See the local i-Site Visitor Centre, local Council or other camping guides if unsure of camping sites in the area.


Respect our environment – leave the site clear of all rubbish, waste and damage. Understand that dumping of waste and litter is an offence and will result in instant fines or prosecution


Act responsibly and respect the access and enjoyment rights of other public space users. Respect our urban areas.

Don't leave your waste

Ensure you have access to a toilet or have an on-board toilet, wastewater collection and rubbish disposal facilities. Do not leave your waste in the environment.

Freedom camping

Freedom camping is generally considered to be limited to two days, unless you are otherwise informed.