Freedom Camping Bylaw
Te Ture ā-rohe mō te Puni Mataraharaha ki rō waka (Freedom Camping Bylaw)
You can download a copy of the bylaw here.
And you can download a copy of our Complete Guide to Camping on the Coromandel here(PDF, 1MB).
The Freedom Camping Act 2011 was amended by Parliament in June 2023. The Council was required to make changes to its Freedom Camping Bylaw to be consistent with the amended Act. Those changes are minor and were made by resolution of the governing body of the Council on 08 August 2023 (see documents at this link: https://tcdc.civicclerk.com.au/) and will be publicly notified in the Hauraki Herald newspaper. The text of the bylaw below includes the changes made, as does the copy of the bylaw that can be downloaded from the link above. For further information about the amended Freedom Camping Act 2011, please visit the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s website at this link: https://www.mbie.govt.nz/immigration-and-tourism/tourism/tourism-projects/supporting-sustainable-freedom-camping-in-aotearoa-new-zealand/freedom-camping-changes/
If you want to freedom camp in our district:
Please be a responsible camper and clean up after yourself.
Freedom camp only in a certified self-contained vehicle.
Use proper toilet facilities such as public toilets and campervan dump stations.
Look for our signs showing where freedom camping can take place.
Leave freedom camping sites by the required time.
This bylaw is the Freedom Camping Bylaw/Te Ture ā-rohe mō te Puni Mataraharaha ki rō waka.
2 Explanatory notes
Sections headed ‘Explanatory notes’ in this bylaw are for information purposes only, and –
(a) they do not form part of this bylaw; and
(b) cannot be considered in the interpretation or application of a provision of this bylaw; and
(c) may be inserted, amended or removed without any formality.
This Bylaw comes into force on 5 December 2022.
This Bylaw is due for review by 7 October 2027.
This Bylaw applies to all local authority areas in the district of the Thames-Coromandel District Council.
Part 1: Preliminary provisions
The purpose of this Bylaw is to restrict or prohibit freedom camping in areas where it is necessary for one or more of the following purposes:
(a) to protect the area
(b) to protect the health and safety of people who may visit the area
(c) to protect access to the area.
Words or expressions used in this Bylaw that are defined in the Freedom Camping Act 2011 have the same meaning as in that Act. The most relevant definitions (as at 07 June 2023) are as follows:
freedom camp means to camp (other than at a camping ground) within 200m of an area accessible by motor vehicle or within 200m of the mean low-water springs line of any sea or harbour, or on or within 200m of a formed road or a Great Walks Track, using either or both of the following:
(a) a tent or other temporary structure:
(b) a motor vehicle.
local authority area —
(a) means an area of land—
(i) that is within the district or region of a local authority; and
(ii) that is—
(A) controlled or managed by or on behalf of the local authority under any enactment; or
(B) an area of NZTA land declared to be a local authority area in accordance with a bylaw made under section 10A; and
(b) includes any part of an area of land referred to in paragraph (a); but
(c) does not include an area of land referred to in paragraph (a) or (b) that is permanently covered by water.
motor vehicle means each of the following:
(a) a motor vehicle within the meaning of section 2(1) of the Land Transport Act 1998:
(b) a unit used for camping that is not itself a vehicle but is capable of being—
(i) transported by means of being loaded onto a vehicle; and
(ii) used for camping whether or not it is loaded onto a vehicle
self-contained, in relation to a motor vehicle, means that the vehicle has a valid certificate of self-containment issued in accordance with section 87U(3) (d) of the Plumbers, Gasfitters, and Drainlayers Act 2006 (but see subpart 1 of Part 1 of Schedule 1AA for the meaning of self-contained during the transitional period)
The Self-contained Motor Vehicles Legislation Act 2023 came into force on 7 June 2023 and made changes to the requirements for certifying vehicles as being self-contained. If a vehicle was certified in accordance with the New Zealand Standard for Self-Containment of Motor Caravans and Caravans NZS5465:2001 before 7 June 2023, or is certified under the modified Standard before 7 June 2024 the Act allows time for the vehicle to be transitioned to the new system. The requirements and the relevant transition periods are set out in Part 1 of Schedule 1AA to the Freedom Camping Act 2011. Further information can be found at: https://www.mbie.govt.nz/immigration-and-tourism/tourism/tourism-projects/supporting-sustainable-freedom-camping-in-aotearoa-new-zealand/freedom-camping-changes/#how-changes-will-impact-you
(1) In this bylaw, unless the context otherwise requires, –
Act means the Freedom Camping Act 2011.
approval means an approval granted under this bylaw and includes all conditions to which the approval is subject.
NZ Standard 5465:2001 can be viewed or printed once for free at this link:https://www.standards.govt.nz/shop/nzs-54652001
Council means the governing body of the Thames-Coromandel District Council, or any person, committee or subcommittee delegated to act on its behalf.
(2) The Legislation Act 2019 applies to this bylaw.
This means that words or phrases used in this Bylaw that are defined in the Legislation Act 2019 have the meanings given in that Act. For example, section 13 of that Act defines person as "includes a corporation sole, a body corporate, and an unincorporated body".
Part 2: Freedom camping restrictions and prohibitions
7 Areas where freedom camping is prohibited
Freedom camping is prohibited in the areas defined in Schedule 1. A person must not freedom camp in the areas defined in Schedule 1.
8 Areas where freedom camping is restricted and the restrictions that apply
(1) A person must not freedom camp in contravention of this clause.
(2) Freedom camping is restricted in all local authority areas. The restrictions that apply to freedom camping in all those areas are:
(a) a self-contained motor vehicle must be used to freedom camp
(b) a vehicle must not stay in an area more than two consecutive nights
(c) freedom camping is only allowed between the hours of 5pm to 9am. Where an area has been used for overnight freedom camping, the vehicle used for freedom camping must be removed from the area by 9am each day.
(3) Freedom camping is further restricted in the areas defined in Schedule 2.
(4) The restrictions that apply to freedom camping in the areas in Schedule 2 are –
(a) if the Schedule specifies a designated place in the local authority area, a person must not freedom camp in another place in the area, for example –
(i) where the Schedule specifies a designated place in a reserve, a person must not freedom camp in any other part of the reserve
(ii) where the Schedule specifies a designated place on a road, a person must not freedom camp on any other part of the road
(b) if the Schedule specifies a day to leave the area, all vehicles and people must leave the area on that day and this restriction prevails over subclause(2)(b)
(c) if the Schedule specifies a maximum number of consecutive nights, that number prevails over subclause (2)(b)
(d) if the Schedule specifies a time or times, a person may only freedom camp in the area during that time or times and this restriction prevails over subclause (2)(c)
(e) if the Schedule specifies a maximum number of vehicles, a person must not freedom camp in the area if that number of vehicles are already present when they arrive at the area.
(5) The Council may temporarily close any area in Schedule 2, or restrict freedom camping in any of those areas, if the closure or restriction is necessary to –
(a) prevent damage to the local authority area or facilities in the area; or
(b) allow maintenance to the local authority area or facilities; or
(c) protect the safety of persons or property; or
(d) provide for better public access, including in circumstances where events are planned for that area.
(6) The Council will publicise a closure or restriction under subclause (5) in any manner it considers is appropriate to the reason for the closure or restriction. The publicity may occur before the closure or restriction, but only if that is reasonably practicable.
The Council may publicise a closure or restriction in any of the following ways: a sign erected in the area, and/or advertising on the Council’s digital channels or on the radio and/or a public notice in the newspaper.
9 Approval to freedom camp in areas otherwise prohibited or restricted
(1) A person may only freedom camp in contravention of clause 7 or 8 if that person has an approval granted by the Council, and they are complying with any conditions included in that approval.
(2) A person may apply for an approval only if –
(a) freedom camping is associated with a special event or occasion occurring in the area and only for the duration of the event or occasion
(b) there is a good reason for freedom camping in the area that cannot be reasonably met in an area where freedom camping is permitted
(c) complying with a restriction in clause 8 is not reasonable in the circumstances.
Part 3: Approvals
10 Application for approval
(1) A person who requires an approval under clause 9 (‘the applicant’) must apply to the council for an approval and the application must –
(a) be made at least 30 days before the freedom camping will occur; and
(b) be in the form required by the council; and
(c) include information about the applicant and their contact details; and
(d) give the address or a description of the area where the freedom camping will occur; and
(e) be accompanied by the applicable fee set in the council’s Schedule of fees and charges.
The Schedule of Fees and Charges can be read at this link.
(2) An application is not treated as having been made until all the provisions in this clause have been complied with.
(3) An applicant may withdraw their application at any time before a decision is made, but any fee paid with the application will not be refundable unless the Council, in its absolute discretion, decides a refund, or partial refund, is reasonable in the circumstances.
(4) The Council may grant or decline an application for an approval at its discretion, having regard to whether the application is consistent with the purposes set out in clause 5. If the Council grants an application, it may impose conditions on the approval under clause 11.
(5) Approvals are not transferable to another person.
(6) An approval does not affect or limit the obligations of any person to comply with any legislation or regulatory requirements that apply to the matters covered by the approval.
11 Conditions on approvals
(1) All approvals granted under clause 10 include a condition that enables the Council to carry out inspections to ensure the approval and its conditions are being complied with.
(2) The Council may include other conditions on any approval for the following matters –
(a) limiting the days, or times of day, for freedom camping
(b) specifying the type of structure or vehicle that can be used for freedom camping
(c) restricting the area or space the approval applies to
(d) the duration of the approval:
(e) payment of a bond, of an amount determined by the council, to be used by the Council to make good any damage caused by the person granted the approval and the Council may charge that person a further amount if the bond does not cover the full cost incurred by the Council
(f) requiring the person granted the approval to hold a current insurance policy of a specified amount (such amount to be determined at the sole discretion of the Council) covering any damage that may be caused and providing a copy of the policy to the Council
(g) requiring a copy of the approval to be displayed on any premises, vehicle or structure
(h) removal of litter or other waste
(i) any other matter the council considers is reasonable to protect the area, access to the area, or the health and safety of people who may visit the area.
12 Amendment of approval
A person granted an approval may, at any time within the duration of the approval, apply to the Council to amend the approval or its conditions. An application for amendment must be made in the same manner as an application for an approval (including payment of a fee), with anynecessary modifications.
13 Suspending or cancelling approval
(1) The Council may suspend or cancel an approval, in its absolute discretion, if –
(a) any conditions on the approval are not being met; or
(b) the Council considers the suspension or cancellation is necessary to protect the area, access to the area, or the health and safety of people who may visit the area.
(2) The suspension or cancellation takes effect from the date the person who was granted the approval receives written notice of the Council’s decision to suspend or cancel the approval. The notice must include the reasons for the Council’s decision.
(3) Suspending or cancelling an approval does not affect the Council’s powers to take other enforcement action under this Bylaw or any other legislation for the acts or omissions that were the reasons for the suspension or cancellation.
(4) The person who was granted an approval that is suspended or cancelled under this clause may object to the council about the suspension or cancellation by lodging an objection in writing within 20 working days after the date of the suspension or cancellation.
(5) The Council will make a decision on an objection within 20 working days of the date the objection is received and will provide the decision, in writing, to the applicant. The decision must include the reasons for the decision.
(6) Any fees paid for the approval are not refundable if the Council suspends or cancels the approval.
Part 4: Enforcement, offences and penalties
14 [Revoked on 08 August 2023]
(1) Every person who freedom camps, or makes preparations to freedom camp, in a local authority area in breach of any prohibition or restriction imposed in this Bylaw commits an offence under section 20(1) of the Act.
(2) Every person who freedom camps, or makes preparations to freedom camp, in a local authority area in breach of the conditions of any approval is in breach of a prohibition or restriction in this Bylaw and commits an offence under section 20(1) of the Act.
Section 20 of the Act specifies a range of matters that are offences. The offences in section20(1) are known as ‘infringement offences’. A Council enforcement officer can issue an infringement notice to a person committing an offence under section 20(1) requiring them to pay a fine as prescribed by section 20E of the Act. Section 26 of the Act explains the people who may be issued with an infringement notice. They include the person who committed the offence, the registered owner of the vehicle used to commit an offence, and/or the person lawfully in possession of the vehicle used in the commission of the offence.
Council officers have other powers under the Act to deal with offences too, e.g., under section 36 of the Act an officer can require a person to leave an area if the officer has reasonable grounds to believe the person is committing an offence.
16 Areas where freedom camping is restricted or prohibited
(1) Schedule 1 defines the areas where, under clause 7, freedom camping is prohibited.
(2) Schedule 2 defines the areas where, under clause 8, freedom camping is restricted.
(3) The Schedules described in this clause are organised by the type of restriction or prohibition. Schedule 3 shows all the restrictions or prohibitions on maps of particular geographical locations for ease of reference only. Schedule 3 is not part of this bylaw and if there is any conflict or inconsistency between it and the other Schedules, the other Schedules prevail.
(4) Schedule 3 may be amended or removed without any formality.
Maps of Prohibited and Restricted Areas