A Guide to Camping in Nelson

Nelson, situated in the Nelson-Tasman region of the South Islands in New Zealand, is famous for its arts and music scene. Free-spirited people from all over the world go camping in Nelson to keep their minds at peace. Festivals are happening now and then, art galleries filled with exquisite paintings, craft markets to buy souvenirs.

Read on to find out about what you need to know about Camping in Nelson:


Department of Conservations (DoC) Campsites

The Department of Conversation has taken over providing campsites in many fragile locations throughout New Zealand. These campsites are often located at the most beautiful locations worldwide and are often available at an affordable rate and make for ideal spots for camping in Nelson.

There are six types of campsites which are provided by DoC; let's take a look at them:
  • Serviced campsites– provides all the necessary amenities like a washroom, a kitchen, garbage collector, etc.
  • Scenic campsites – have all the necessary amenities and are usually situated in coastal areas giving a panoramic view.
  • Standard campsites – limited facilities are available, and compost is dug up for washroom needs.
  • Basic campsites – It's crucial to be self-sufficient if you want to camp at these grounds as a minimal facility is provided.
  • Backcountry campsites – are equipped with a toilet and water system that runs through the lake; some are also fitted with picnic tables and kitchens.
  • Great walk campsites – along the great walk tracks are 60 campsites, all equipped with basic amenities. 

Nelson City Freedom Camping Bylaw

To curb pollution and make camping in Nelson accessible to all, the Nelson City Council has adopted the Freedom Camping Bylaw. This Bylaw is already in effect, and there are different rules both for non-self-contained and certified contained vehicles.


So, where can you camp non-self-contained vehicles? There are four good locations to camp if you are travelling in a non-self-contained car; let's look at them.
  • Tahuna Beach Holiday Park
This is a very budget-friendly ground for camping in Nelson, and campers have to be self-sufficient. This ground is ideal for campervans, backpackers, tents, etc.
  • Maitai Valley Motor Camp
It is situated amongst 10 acres of natural bushes, trees, and a peaceful river. This a clean ground where facilities like a swimming pool and a golf course are also available.
  • Brook Valley Holiday Park
Only 4.5 km away from the city center, Brook Park has many Bushwalks which can generally be found right outside your doorstep.
  • Nelson City Holiday Park and Motel
The Nelson City Holiday Park and Motel are clean grounds equipped with the necessary amenities and tent sites can also be made available through request.

The Nelson City Freedom Camping Bylaw, which came into effect on 1 December 2017, prohibits any non-self-contained vehicles from being parked on any camping ground or private place where the Council administers the land. The rule is enforced very strongly, and if anyone is found not abiding by the law, he/she has to pay $200 as a fine.
Campsite source

Places to Wander

There are many locations to go and have a look, filled with artistic vibes, and affordable places to grab a bite. Make sure you visit these places while in Nelson.

Centre of New Zealand

Located at the top of the botanic hill, the center of New Zealand offers some incredible views of the whole Nelson region. It is definitely worth the climb, which takes somewhere around 30-60 minutes to cover.

Nelson City walking tour is the main attraction of this location; hence, register yourself for this guided tour.

Tahunanui Beach

The whole area is just for one thing, to go and have fun with playgrounds for all different ages and hence is also known as the recreation region. This area's main attraction is the SKYWIRE experience, Abel Tasman National Park Hiking, and Quad Bike- Bayview Circuit.

Queen's Garden

This exquisite location is built around beautiful roses and an ornamental lake that is maintained by volunteers. Queen's Garden also houses a few very spectacular specimens of trees. While in this location, go register for the tunnel to town experience.  

What are your favourite spots for camping in Nelson? Let us know in the comments below!

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