Camping in The Catlins
Curio Bay Campsite in The Catlins - Credit Chris McLennan

Camping in Southland

Camping in New Zealand is a popular pastime and Southland has an abundance of campgrounds available. As a land of the outdoors, it's not surprising that a night in the outdoors is a preferred accommodation option.

Is there anything better than sitting around a campfire on a starry night, listening to the sounds of waves crashing on the beach or the soft trickling sounds of forest rivers.

Where can you camp in Southland?

Like in the rest of New Zealand, you will find all kinds of camping types in Southland, from Holiday Parks to Freedom Camping, here are what you can expect in Southland.

Holiday Parks and Campgrounds

Most Holiday Parks and Campgrounds in Southland offer epic views for a budget-friendly price. You will find powered and non-powered sites for tents, caravans, campervans and motorhomes. They sometimes also offer cabins, self-contained motel units and backpackers' lodges. Easy access to a shared kitchen and bathroom facilities is always part of the deal. 

Department of Conservation campsites

The Department of Conservation (DOC) manages over 20 public camping areas on conservation land throughout Southland. You will find these sites in some of our most beautiful places, like Pūrākaunui Bay, for example. These campsites usually don’t have an on-site manager and are operated in a typical kiwi way: on a trust basis. Facilities are typically minimal and basic, but fees are very reasonable and sometimes even free. Tents, campervans, motorhomes and caravans are all welcome on DOC campsites.

Freedom camping

There are certain areas in Southland where you can pull over, park your campervan or motorhome or set up your tent and camp for the night free of charge.

When freedom camping in Southland and the rest of New Zealand, you must always do the following: