This bylaw controls freedom camping in certain areas owned or managed by the Council, in order to protect these areas, including protecting access to the areas and the health and safety of people using them.

The Christchurch City Council makes this bylaw under the Freedom Camping Act 2011.

The Freedom Camping Bylaw 2015 was replaced with this bylaw in 2021, after a review and consultation process.

1. Short title and commencement

1. This bylaw is the Christchurch City Council Freedom Camping Bylaw 2021.

2. This bylaw comes into force on 1 December 2021.

2. Purpose

1. The purpose of this bylaw is to control freedom camping in the district in order to:

  1. protect local authority areas;
  2. protect the health and safety of people who may visit local authority areas;
  3. protect access to local authority areas.

Explanatory note: This bylaw applies only to land under the control or management of the Council and within the Christchurch district, including Banks Peninsula.

3. Interpretation

(1) In this bylaw, unless the context otherwise requires:

Term Definition
Act means Freedom Camping Act 2011
Authorised officer means a person appointed by the Council to perform duties or give permissions under this bylaw, including an enforcement officer
Camping vehicle means a certified self-contained vehicle
Certified self-contained vehicle

means:

  1. a vehicle designed and built for the purpose of camping which has the capability of meeting the ablutionary and sanitary needs of the specified number of occupants for a minimum of three days without requiring any external services or discharging any waste; and
  2. contains a toilet that is usable within the vehicle when the bed is made up, including having sufficient head and elbow room; and
  3. is evidenced by the display of a current self-containment warrant issued under New Zealand Standard Self Containment of Motor Caravans and Caravans, NZS 5465:2001 A2, and possession of a self-containment certificate
Chief Executive means the Chief Executive Officer of the Council
Council means the Christchurch City Council
District means the district of the Council

The following terms have the same definitions as in the Act:

Term Definition
Freedom camp

In this Act, freedom camp means to camp (other than at a  camping ground) within 200 m of a motor vehicle accessible area or the mean low-water springs line of any sea or harbour, or on or within 200 m of a formed road or a  Great Walks Track, using 1 or more of the following:

  1. a tent or other temporary structure:
  2. a caravan:
  3. a car, campervan, housetruck, or other motor vehicle.

2. In this Act, freedom camping does not include  the following activities:

  1. temporary and short-term parking of a motor vehicle:
  2. recreational activities commonly known as  day-trip excursions:
  3. resting or sleeping at the roadside in a caravan or motor vehicle to avoid driver fatigue.

3. In subsection (1), -camping ground means-

  1. a camping ground that is the subject of a current certificate of  registration under the Camping-Grounds Regulations 1985; and
  2. any site at which a fee is payable for camping  at the site

..

Local authority area

1. In this Act, local authority area—

a. means an area of land— 

(i) that is within the district or region of a local authority; and 

(ii) that is controlled or managed by the local authority under any enactment; and

b. includes any part of an area of land referred to in paragraph (a); but

c. does not include an area of land referred to in paragraph (a) or (b) that is  permanently covered by water. 

2. This bylaw contains explanatory notes, which are not part of the bylaw. The Council may add, amend or delete explanatory notes at any time without amending the bylaw.

Explanatory note: Explanatory notes are used for a number of reasons, including to explain the intent of a clause in less formal language, to include additional helpful information, or because the information may be subject to change and need to be updated before the bylaw itself has to be updated.

4. Local authority areas where freedom camping is permitted

1. Freedom camping is permitted in any local authority area within the district, unless it is prohibited or restricted by this bylaw or by any other enactment or bylaw.

Explanatory note: Compliance with this bylaw does not remove the need to comply with all other applicable laws. This includes: no camping in Council parks and reserves (unless the land is set aside as a camping ground); complying with parking restrictions and time limits; not littering; not lighting fires in breach of any fire restrictions; not making excessive noise; and complying with the directions of enforcement officers.  The Freedom Camping Act 2011 contains further offences in relation to freedom camping.

5. Prohibited activities

1. No person may freedom camp in any local authority area in any tent, temporary structure, or in any vehicle that is not a certified self-contained vehicle, unless:

  1. the area is set aside as a camping ground; or
  2. the person has prior permission from the Council for an organised event under clause 9 of this bylaw.

6. Prohibited areas

1. No person may freedom camp in any prohibited area.

2. Prohibited areas are described in Schedule 1 of this bylaw and are shown in red on maps in Schedule 2 of this bylaw.

7. Restricted activities

1. Any person may freedom camp in a restricted area, subject to the following conditions:

  1. the freedom camping must only take place in a certified self-contained vehicle; and
  2. the maximum stay in any location is two nights within a 30-day period; and
  3. the location must not be within 500 metres of a location where the person has previously freedom camped within a 30-day period. 

2. Subclauses 1(b) and 1(c) do not apply to the restricted area known as the City Coastal Restricted Zone. In that restricted area, any person can freedom camp in a certified self-contained vehicle for up to four nights within a 30-day period, with no more than two nights in the same place.  There must be a distance of at least 500 metres between one camping location and the next.

Explanatory note: This means a maximum stay in the City Coastal Restricted Zone of four nights within any 30-day period, and at least one change of location within those four nights.

3. Where there are marked parking spaces in a restricted area, no person may:

  1. park in a parking space where a camping vehicle is already parked (one camping vehicle per marked parking space); or
  2. take up more than one parking space with their camping vehicle, equipment or activities.

Explanatory note: If there is space for the combination of a towing vehicle and a towed camping vehicle within a marked parking space, there is no breach of subclause 7(3).

4. No person may set-up their camping vehicle or camping equipment in such a way that it impedes the normal movement of vehicles or pedestrians, or otherwise blocks a thoroughfare.

Explanatory note: Subclauses (3) and (4) are to prevent overcrowding and the overflow of camping activities into public areas. Camping activities and equipment should not encroach into the surrounding area in a way that limits public access or parking availability, or raises safety concerns. Public areas where freedom camping is allowed are not intended to accommodate traditional camping set-ups (eg awnings, washing lines, cooking equipment, and tables and chairs) – these are better suited to camping grounds.

8. Restricted areas

1. Restricted areas are described in Schedule 1 to this bylaw and are shown in orange on maps in Schedule 2 of this bylaw.

9. Prior permission from the Council for an organised event

1. The Chief Executive may temporarily waive or modify the freedom camping restrictions or prohibitions in this bylaw to enable camping for an organised event.

Explanatory note: This clause is intended to enable flexibility so that freedom camping can occur as part of an organised event, where the Chief Executive considers it appropriate.  The Chief Executive has full discretion to grant or decline an application for permission. The type of events it may apply to include, but are not limited to: scout and guide events; sporting and club events; marae-related events; community and school events.

2. The organiser of the event must apply to the Chief Executive for permission. An application for permission must:

  1. be made in writing, in the form required, and contain all necessary information to consider the request;
  2. provide sufficient detail about the event, including: the proposed camping location, intended dates of stay, number of people, method of freedom camping, and information about how human and other waste from the event will be managed; and
  3. be made at least 20 working days in advance of the event.

3. The Chief Executive may give permission or decline an application.

4. If permission is granted, the Chief Executive may impose any conditions they consider appropriate:

  1. to minimise the likely impacts from the event; and
  2. that are consistent with the purpose of this bylaw.

5. If an application is declined, the applicant will be informed of the reasons for the decision.

6. The permission may be revoked by an enforcement officer if any person breaches the conditions specified in the permission or otherwise breaches this bylaw.

10. The Council may temporarily close an area to freedom camping

1. The Chief Executive of the Council may temporarily close or restrict freedom camping in any area or part of any area where the closure or restriction is considered necessary to:

  1. prevent damage to the local authority area or facilities in the area; or
  2. allow maintenance to the local authority area or facilities; or
  3. protect the safety of persons or property; or
  4. provide for better public access, including in circumstances where events are planned for that area.

2. Notice will be given of any temporary closure or restriction, and the removal of any closure or restriction, in any manner the Chief Executive considers is appropriate to the reason for the closure or restriction.  Prior notice of any temporary closure or restriction will be given where possible.

Explanatory note:  Notice given by the Council may include any of the following: a sign erected in the area; and/or advertising on the Council’s website or on the radio; and/or a public notice in the newspaper.

11. Christchurch City Council General Bylaw

1. The provisions of the Christchurch City Council General Bylaw 2008 and any bylaw passed in amendment or substitution are implied into, and form part of this bylaw.

12. Offence and penalty

1. As specified by section 20(1) of the Act, every person commits an offence who freedom camps in a local authority area in breach of any prohibitions or restrictions in this bylaw that apply to the area.

2. Every person who commits an offence under section 20(1) of the Act is liable to an infringement fee (fine) of the amount specified in the Act.

Explanatory note: The infringement fee in the Act is $200. Other offences set out in the Act include things such as not properly disposing of waste (including from self-containment wastewater tanks), damaging or interfering with the flora and fauna in an area, preparing to freedom camp in breach of a bylaw, and obstructing or threatening an enforcement officer.  Infringement fines may also apply under the Litter Act 1979, including a higher fine for dumping offensive or hazardous waste.Section 22 of the Act sets out defences to a freedom camping offence.

13. Revocations and savings

1. The Christchurch City Council Freedom Camping Bylaw 2015 is revoked.

2. Any permission, consent, agreement or any other act of authority which originated under the Christchurch City Council Freedom Camping Bylaw 2015, or which was continued by that bylaw and which is still in force at the commencement of this bylaw continues to have full force and effect for the purpose of this bylaw.

3. This bylaw is implied into and forms any part of any permission, consent, or any other act of authority continued by this clause.

4. The revocation of the Christchurch City Council Freedom Camping Bylaw 2015 does not prevent any legal proceedings, criminal or civil, being taken to enforce that bylaw and such proceedings continue to be dealt with and completed as if that bylaw had not been revoked.


The initial resolution to make this bylaw was passed by the Christchurch City Council at a meeting on 13 August 2015 and was confirmed, following consideration of submissions received during a special consultative procedure, by a resolution at a subsequent meeting of the Council on 26 November 2015.

The bylaw was amended by the Council on 2 November 2016, and the amendments came into force on 1 December 2016.

The bylaw was amended by the Council on 8 November 2018, and the amendments came into force on 1 December 2018.

The 2015 bylaw was reviewed and replaced with the Freedom Camping Bylaw 2021 on 11 November 2021, which came into force on 1 December 2021.

 

 Prohibited areas

Prohibited area Description of prohibited area
Central City(external link)
Prohibited Area(external link)

Christchurch Central City – all Council-owned and/or -managed land between and inclusive of
Bealey Avenue, Fitzgerald Avenue, Moorhouse Avenue, Deans Avenue, Harper Avenue, and
Little Hagley Park

New Brighton Prohibited Area(external link)

New Brighton North Ramp and South Ramp Off-street car parks – all Council-owned and/or -managed land off-street car parks, immediately north and south of the New Brighton Pier.

North Beach Car Park Prohibited Area(external link)

The car park area alongside Marine Parade, between the North Beach Surf Lifesaving Club and the North New Brighton Community Centre.  Applies at weekends, from 7pm Fridays until 7pm Sundays, and between 1 October and 1 May each year.

Southshore Spit Prohibited Area(external link)

All Council-owned and/or managed land in the area between the eastern coastline of the city and south of Caspian Street (including both sides of Caspian Street) to the foreshore of Southshore Spit Reserve.

Rāpaki Prohibited Area(external link)

Rāpaki Settlement – all Council owned and managed land beside and between Governors Bay Road and the foreshore at Rāpaki Jetty.

Naval Point Prohibited Area(external link)

All Council-owned and/or managed land in the Naval Point area is prohibited to freedom camping (other than in the sign-posted area where certified self-contained vehicles can camp for up to two nights in any 30-day period)

Lyttelton Prohibited Area(external link)

Lyttelton Main Business Area – Council owned and/or -managed land between and inclusive of London Street, Oxford Street, Norwich Quay, and Dublin Street.

Birdlings Flat Prohibited Area(external link) Birdlings Flat residential zone – all Council-owned and/or -managed land. The residential zone within the Birdlings Flat settlement area, from 107 Poranui Beach Road, Hill View Rd, Forest View Road, Lake Terrace Road, Clifton St and Coates Roads to the foreshore of Burlington Bay
Ōnawe Flat Road Prohibited Area(external link) Ōnawe Flat Road – all Council-owned and/or -managed land including Ōnawe Point and all areas of Ōnawe Flat Road, up to but excluding the Duvauchelle settlement.
Takamatua Prohibited Area(external link)

Takamatua – all Council-owned and/or -managed land including the road and coastline along Takamatua Bay Road to its intersection with McRae’s Road and including McRae’s Road; and the hillside residential area including Bellbird Lane, Quail Crescent, Kingfisher Road, Fantail Lane, Kōtare Lane, and Lushingtons Bay Road, as shown on the map.

French Farm Prohibited Area(external link)

French Farm – All Council-owned and/or -managed land including the roads and foreshore.

Wainui Prohibited Area(external link)

Wainui – including Stanbury Park. All Council-owned and/or -managed land, including the roads and foreshore.

Akaroa Prohibited Area(external link)

Akaroa Prohibited Area – All Council-owned and/or managed land in Akaroa township is prohibited to freedom camping (other than in the marked parking spaces in the Akaroa Freedom Camping Area, where certified self-contained vehicles can camp for up to two nights in any 30-day period). The Akaroa prohibited area includes:

  • the whole of the Akaroa waterfront (from Children’s Bay to Red House Bay (including the whole of Beach Road));
  • Takapūneke Reserve (from and including Beach Road to Ōnuku Road);
  • the residential part of Lighthouse Road (as shown on the map);
  • Grehan Valley Road and Aylmer’s Valley Road (including the parking area for Misty Peaks Reserve);
  • Rue Balguerie and the first parts of Purple Peak Road and Stony Bay Road (as shown on the map);
  • Old Coach Road up to and including the turnaround area by Long Bay Road / State Highway 75; and
  • part of Morgan’s Road (as shown on the map).
Ōnuku Prohibited Area(external link)

Ōnuku – All Council-owned and/or -managed land including the roads and foreshore within the Ōnuku settlement area.

Purau Prohibited Area(external link) Purau – All Council-owned and/or -managed land along the foreshore of Purau Bay.
Koukourarata / Port Levy Prohibited Area(external link) Koukourarata / Port Levy settlement – All Council-owned and/or -managed land within the Koukourarata/Port Levy settlement area.
Addington Park Car Park Prohibited Area(external link) Addington Park Car Park – No written description. Please see map.
Lower Styx Rivermouth Prohibited Area(external link) Lower Styx River mouth – No written description. Please see map.
Windsport Park Prohibited Area(external link) All of the land at Windsport Park near Humphrey’s Drive, including Windsurfers Reserve, Woolston/Ferrymead (as shown on the map)

Restricted areas

Restricted area Description of restricted area
Christchurch Urban Restricted Area(external link)

Christchurch City – all Council-owned and/or -managed land in the greater City urban areas, including Lyttleton, Cass Bay, Corsair Bay, Rāpaki and Governors Bay, excluding and bounded by prohibited areas.

City Coastal Restricted Zone(external link)

City Coastal Restricted Zone - All Council-owned and/or -managed land along the eastern coastline of the city, including part of North New Brighton, all of New Brighton, all of South New Brighton, and ending to the north of Southshore. That is, the area bounded by and including  Larnach Street in the north (including Sandholm Close), west along Beach Road to Bower Avenue, down Bower Avenue, and then from the Wainoni Road Bridge on New Brighton Road along the eastern side of the Ōtakaro Avon River and the Avon-Heathcote Estuary / Te Ihutai to South New Brighton, and ending immediately adjacent to the north side of Caspian Street, then following the eastern coastline back up to Marine Parade and Beach Road corner, as shown on the map.

Akaroa Freedom Camping Area (restricted area)(external link) Akaroa Freedom Camping Area is located at the northern end of Akaroa, south of Woodills Road / State Highway 75, and in the north eastern part of Akaroa Boat Park. There are two rows of freedom camping parking spaces to the west of the Akaroa Croquet Club (one row with seven larger parks, and one row with eight medium parks). A third row of freedom camping parking spaces is located alongside the northern fork of Grehan Stream (with three medium parks). Freedom camping parking spaces are clearly marked on-site.
Naval Point Freedom Camping Area (restricted area)(external link)

Naval Point Freedom Camping Area is signposted on site, and is located to the north of the access road that continues on from Charlotte Jane Quay. 

Governor’s Bay Restricted Area(external link) Governor’s Bay residential zone – No written description. Please see map.
Diamond Harbour Restricted Area(external link)

Diamond Harbour – All Council-owned and/or -managed land within the Diamond Harbour area, excluding the prohibited area in Purau Bay.

Purau Restricted Area(external link) Purau residential area – No written description. Please see map.
Little River Restricted Area(external link)

Little River settlement – No written description. Please see map. 

Takamatua Restricted Area(external link)

Takamatua residential zone – All Council-owned and/or -managed land within the Takamatua settlement area on the flat, including a portion of Takamatua Bay Road and Old French Farm Road.

Duvauchelle Restricted Area(external link)

Duvauchelle settlement – No written description. Please see map.

Robinson’s Bay Restricted Area(external link)

Robinson’s Bay – All Council-owned and/or -managed land within the Robinson’s Bay area. Please see map.

There are three ways to access the maps. An interactive map can be found on our camping page. The maps can be accessed by clicking on the links in the table above(external link), or a complete copy of the Schedule 2 maps can be viewed by downloading the Freedom Camping Bylaw 2021 with maps and descriptions [PDF, 2.3 MB].