Camping in Christchurch - A Complete Guide

Christchurch is a major hub for backpackers and has a lot of cheap and free things to do and camping in Christchurch is a popular activity amongst tourists. It is one of the rare towns where you could actually save money. So keep the streak going and opt for camping as accommodation during your stay. Visitors to Christchurch have a plethora of camping spots in the Canterbury region and beyond, to head to on weekends for fresh air, bush walks and open skies.
Read on to gather all information about where to pitch your tent and how to ensure a comfortable camping experience in Christchurch. 

A Little About Camping in Christchurch

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Different Types of Camping in Christchurch:

  • Freedom Camping: It is a great option for those who own a certified self-contained campervan. These vehicles can be parked in designated areas owned privately for a maximum of two nights, while in areas owned by the Department of Conservation for freedom camping have a limit of four nights.
  • Holiday Parks: These are areas that offer pitches for tents and have a range of high-quality facilities like powered sites, thermal pools, laundry rooms, etc. Unsurprisingly, their cost is also high as compared to other options.
  • Department of Conservation(DOC): These campsites are owned by the DOC and have basic and minimal facilities at a very reasonable price, sometimes even free. Tents, campervans, etc. are all allowed to camp on the DOC sites.

Rules Regarding Camping in Christchurch

  • You can go freedom camping only if you have a certified self-contained vehicle. You cannot stay in a tent(or any temporary structure) or a vehicle that is not certified self-contained. 
  • Do not freedom camp in areas that are prohibited for it. If you are caught camping outside the designated areas, you will be liable for a fine of NZD 200. 
  • You can camp in a certified self-contained vehicle for a maximum of two nights in a 30-day period, and not within 500 metres of a previous stay.
  • Only one vehicle can be parked in a marked parking space, and that all camping activities must take place within that space.
  • Dispose of your rubbish responsibly. Respect the environment by not littering the place and leaving it clean for others who come afterwards.
  • People of New Zealand are extremely careful about the environment and travellers are often expected to take the "Tiaki Promise" which is a commitment to care, guard, protect and preserve nature for future generations. There is a saying in New Zealand - "leave only footprints". 

Camping Sites in Christchurch

  1. Banks Peninsula

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It is a campsite located near the Akaroa town on the Banks Peninsula. It is recognised because of its unique geological formation resulting from the area's volcanic features. Although located 81 kilometres from Christchurch, it is still a popular campsite among locals. Stay at the Onuku Farm Hostel for the authentic Cantabrian camping experience which is spread over 430 hectares of coastal farm and bushland. This campsite offers a range of accommodation facilities, from campsites to dormitory rooms and huts for guests who seek more privacy, at reasonable prices. 
Duvauchelle Holiday Park:  Explore all the joys the peninsula has to offer. Spend the day out swimming, ride a jet boat or go sailing on the Fox II where you get a chance to see penguins, fur seals and dolphins closely. Accommodation options include two powered and non-powered sites formed on two large terraces, deluxe cabins, a three-bedroom self-contained flat and two standard cabins which offer amazing views of the harbour. Nearby attractions include shopping areas, a golf course and the famous Barry's Bay Cheese Factory.
Address: Seafield Road, PO Box 53, Duvauchelle 7545, near Banks Peninsula, New Zealand.
Pricing: Powered Site: NZD 32 - NZD 42             
             Standard Cabin: NZD 70             
             Deluxe Cabin: NZD 85             
             Three-bedroom Flat: NZD 120 - NZD 145

  2. North South Holiday Park

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One of the best camping spots in Christchurch, this holiday park offers affordable accommodations, quality amenities and exciting activities to indulge in. Park motels, standard cabins, backpacker rooms, cottages, en-suite units, a large bunkhouse with a capacity of 36 guests and numerous sites for campervans, caravans and tents. It also offers a swimming pool, on-site shops and is pet-friendly too! You can take a gondola ride or a tour of the CBD by a tram or some other activity that interests you.
Address: 530 Sawyers Arms Road, Christchurch, New Zealand.
Pricing: December to March: NZD 20 - NZD 200           
            April to December - NZD 16 - NZD 120

  3. Okains Bay Camping Ground

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Located in the pleasant Okains Bay, on the Banks Peninsula in the South Island, this holiday park is situated two hours away from Christchurch. Okains Bay is one of the best on the peninsula. It offers a safe, comfortable and family-friendly camping experience in a beachfront setting with tons of activities available like fishing and swimming to keep you engaged. Whether you are looking for larger areas to camp with your friends or a private secluded area for campervans, all your needs will be catered here. 
Address: 1357 Okains Bay Rd, Okains Bay, 7583, Banks Peninsula, New Zealand.
Pricing: NZD 14

  4. New Brighton Beach Car Park

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A great coastal retreat, the beach extends up to 18 kilometres of golden sand and stretches from the origin of Waimakariri River to Southshore. The car park at the New Brighton Beach is available for freedom camping and is a pretty good option. Only a 20-minute drive away from Christchurch, you can camp amidst a beautiful beachfront setting. Witness the amazing sunrise and the New Brighton Pier, stroll about the coastline and enjoy the sweeping views of the Pegasus Bay.  

  5. Awaroa/Godley Head Campsite

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Previously a World War II coastal defence battery site, this camping site provides stunning ocean views and a range of scenic walks. It also has a mountain biking track that leads to the Taylors Mistake Bay and the Godley Head loop track that goes through the campsite where you can walk around the coast. The campsite is very close to the seaside area of Sumner so have a go at swimming and surfing in the waters before the crowd turns up. It offers 25 non-powered tent sites and campervan sites but they need to be booked before 4 pm on the day of arrival.
Address: 28 Worcester, Boulevard, Christchurch, 8013.
Pricing: Adult: NZD 15 per night               
Child: NZD 7.50 per night
Have we missed out any of your favourite spots for camping in Christchurch? Let us know in the comments below

This post was published by Vidushi Nigam

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