Freedom camping

Nelson City Council is pleased you have chosen to spend part of your camping holiday with us here in the top of the South Island.  Nelson is a fantastic city with much to see and enjoy, especially with three magnificent National Parks on its doorstep. To make sure the region stays beautiful and accessible for all to enjoy Nelson City Council has some rules relating to overnight camping that you need to be aware of. There have been some changes to freedom camping in Nelson which you can read about here.

Where can I camp?

PLEASE NOTE: The final temporary camping area is now closed for the season.

  • Certified self contained campers (with toilet and washing facilities on board) can camp on Council land anywhere in Nelson apart from in residential areas and in public parks and reserves.
  • Non-self contained campers must camp close to public toilets, but camping is not allowed in residential areas or on public parks and reserves.
  • Freedom camping in tents is not permitted. If you are in a tent, you may only camp within licenced campgrounds.
  • There is a three hour parking limit in Millers Acres at all times.
  • Please be aware that weekend markets operate in Montgomery Square. Freedom campers will be moved from 5am on Saturday and Sunday.

The Nelson and Stoke central business districts have a 24 hour, 7 days a week ban on the consumption of alcohol. This includes areas such as the Buxton and Montgomery car parks and it is strictly enforced. To avoid the possibility of receiving a fine of $250 or Police arrest, please observe this ban.

Motor camps

The following campgrounds provide complete self-contained and non-self-contained services for campers:

Motorcamps in Nelson City



Tahuna Beach Holiday Park

Self catering and self contained accommodation, through to budget accommodation. Sites for campers, caravaners, backpackers, whether camping in motor homes, caravans, tents or budget cabins.

Maitai Valley Motor Camp

Nestled among 10 acres of native bush and trees. Peaceful surroundings with river, swimming hole and golf course close by. Clean, tidy facilities and grounds for your enjoyment and use. Camp sites, cabins and caravan hire.

Brook Valley Holiday Park

The Brook Valley Holiday Park is located only 4.5km from the city centre. A unique setting, surrounded by native bush, with many bush walks right on the door step. Cabins and campsites are available. 

Nelson City Holiday Park and Motel

Clean, tidy facilities and grounds for your enjoyment and use. Tent sites may be available on request, three standard cabins, TV room.

Find out more about Nelson's motorcamps.

Dump stations in Nelson Tasman

Free public dump stations

  • Nelson Public Dump Station, Mobil Tahunanui, 28 Tahunanui Drive
  • Fittal Street, off Beach Road, near Waste Transfer Station, Richmond
  • Entrance to camping ground, Collingwood
  • Abel Tasman National Park Toilets at Totaranui
  • Mobil Takaka
  • Golden Bay i-Site Visitor Centre
  • Hickmott Car Park, adjacent to New World Supermarket, Motueka
  • Nelson Lakes National Park Kerr Bay Camping Ground
  • Mobil Murchison

Additional dump stations where you must stay in order to use the service

  • Tahuna Beach Holiday Park, 70 Beach Road, Nelson
  • Maitai Valley Motor Camp, Maitai Valley, Nelson
  • Brook Valley Motor Camp, Brook Valley, Nelson
  • Nelson Cabins & Caravan Park, 230 Vanguard Street
  • Richmond Motel and Top 10 Holiday Park, 29 Gladstone Road, Richmond, Nelson
  • Club Waimea, 345 Lower Queens Street, Richmond
  • Pohara Beach Top 10 Holiday Park
  • Abel Tasman Marahau Beach Camp
  • Kaiteriteri Beach Motor Camp
  • Bethany Park Christian Camp
  • Motueka Top 10 Holiday Park
  • McKee Memorial Recreation Reserve Campground
  • Mapua Leisure Park Holiday Resort
  • Greenwood Park Camping Ground, Appleby
  • Quinney’s Bush Camp and Caravan Park
  • Tapawera Settle Motels and Campground
  • Murchison Motor Home Park
  • Kiwi Park Motels and Holiday Park, Murchison

Sewage/wastewater disposal points on payment of a fee are available at:

  • Greenwood Park Camping Ground, Appleby
  • Motor Caravan Association dump station, Main Road Tapawera

More information

You can find more information about camping throughout New Zealand at the website.

Also, here's more information on camping grounds and policies at Tasman District Council.