What's the current status of freedom camping in Christchurch?
21/4/2016 It’s important that we have a date in place here, because things have been changing fast in Christchurch around freedom camping. What’s published today, may not be the case when you’re reading this (the free CamperMate app will have the up to date information).
Back in December, a new freedom camping bylaw was passed to clarify the situation in Christchurch. Prior to that, there was not a lot of legislation that would allow for the management of people wanting to camp in Christchurch. The bylaw was quite liberal in comparison to what some of the bylaws other councils in New Zealand have adopted, particularly with regards to non-self contained campervans. I attended one of three consultation workshops put on by the council earlier last year, which was quite interesting.
The bylaw was adopted and multiple areas were opened up to non-self contained campervans, they were Addington Park, Wainui, Windsurf Park and Styx Mill.
As you can see from the photos below, they’re fairly nice places as far as freedom campsites go, either on the waters edge or in a nice park. The summer was a long one, and we had a lot of people visit and stay at these sites. Someone said twice as much as what was expected. That’s great to a certain point, but only until the facilities/infrastructure can’t handle it which was the case.
So the council called for an almost immediate ban on these campsites (including French Farm) and this ban is in place until the end of May which is when the council will make a call on what happens next. So what’s the status? If you’re in a non self contained vehicle, you’ll have to find some alternative accommodation (Waihora Domain or even Little River campground if you’re willing to travel), or you can travel 20kms to Chamberlains Ford into the Selwyn District Council. Or if you’re willing to pay a little more you might like to stay in one of the holiday parks in Christchurch.