Freedom Camping

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​The Taupo District is a beautiful part of the Central North Island and a great place to explore by campervan or motorhome. Taupo District Council hopes you take time to enjoy the spectacular scenery including lakes and mountains, get to know the friendly locals and experience all it has to offer.

While we're a camping-friendly district, we support responsible camping and encourage the use of commercial camping grounds, Department of Conservation camping areas and our own designated areas. Our Freedom Camping Bylaw 2017 was designed to protect our natural environment and ensure sustainability. We allow self-contained and non-self-contained camping in different areas around the district.​

Non-self-contained camp​​​ing

The map below shows you where you can camp on council land if you are not in a self-contained vehicle. There are four areas to choose from​: at Hipapatua Recreational Reserve/Reid's Farm, Whakamaru Domain, Mangakino Recreation Reserve and Whakamaru Recreation Reserve. Each of these locations has a specific area for camping.

The section of Whakamaru Domain usually reserved for freedom camping (shown below in green) is unavailable for the 2018/19 summer season and we are asking campers to use the adjacent area (shown below in blue). Signage is in place onsite to direct campers to the new location, and the toilet block on the Domain is accessible as usual.

Open a large version of the map in a new tab or view our non-self-contained camping map PDF​.


Self-contained cam​ping

Certified self-contained vehicles are allowed to park overnight on any council-owned or council-managed land other than on our reserves and Ferry Road, where camping is not permitted.

If you are unsure of whether you can park your self-contained vehicle in an area of the Taupo District, keep an eye out for signs that show where it is not permitted.  You will also need to display your current self-containment warrant to show you meet the New Zealand standard.

For information about Department of Conservation camping areas, visit its website,

Find out more and read the bylaw​.  

Time limits and ho​urs

All campers, including those in certified self-contained vehicles, can stay for a maximum of three nights and/or four days before they need to move on.


Please be aware, we actively enforce the rules around freedom camping in our district. If you breach the rules you could receive a $200 fine.

Be a tidy cam​​per

Make the most of our facilities during your stay. You can help by:

  • Ensuring your sewage and grey water holding tanks are discharged at designated wastewater dump stations.
  • Using public toilets or the toilets available at the four designated non-self-contained camping areas.
  • Using our transfer stations for rubbish disposal. 
At those freedom camping sites where no bins are provided please be aware you must take all your rubbish with you as a 'pack it in, pack it out​' arrangement is in place to help protect the environment. 

Other locations

Remember, not all public places in the district are managed by the Council and our freedom camping rules don't apply to these areas, such as conservation land and state highways. The Department of Conservation has a freedom camping policy - you can find out about their rules at​

Page reviewed: 21 Dec 2018 12:38pm