Freedom Camping 2016 FAQs

Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about the nominated freedom camping areas available for the summer of 2016/17

 Why is Council doing this?

The Kaikoura Earthquake has changed where tourists (including freedom campers) will go this summer.  With SH1 currently closed and State Highway 6, 63, 65 Blenheim to Springs Junction slowed by road works, a much greater number of visitors, including freedom campers, are expected to travel through Nelson.

Police approached Council to help manage this situation. We have put these plans in place to minimise the impact on the Central City, provide safe areas for our visitors and to help reduce the impact on our beautiful environment by keeping freedom camping in set areas.

 Why were these locations chosen?

They are close enough to town that they will be attractive to the campers and will encourage them to spend money in town at our shops, restaurants and bars. They are outside of the Central City so they don’t take up spaces for retail parking. PLEASE NOTE: The Rutherford Park area closes for camping from 10 February 2017 as the summer park has now passed.

 Why Wi-Fi?

If we want freedom campers to use these areas we need to provide an incentive. These people are mainly young people from overseas that rely on free Wi-Fi to communicate with family and friends at home.

Is the Wi-Fi expensive to implement?

Plans were already in place to provide Wi-Fi for events at the Trafalgar Centre and at the marina. Therefore the set up costs for this will not be lost. The signal direction has been modified on these units to target the Freedom Camping areas, and will be adjusted back when these areas are no longer occupied.

What else is being provided to Freedom Campers?

There will be provision of portaloos and water where they are needed and cleaning, rubbish disposal. There will also be a daily security check to make sure these areas are safe, and our environment is being respected.

 Why don’t we just focus on moving them on?

Freedom camping is legal in most places, as outlined in the Freedom Camping Act (2011). We want to continue to strengthen Nelson’s reputation as a tourist destination, and so catering for all tourists helps to sell our story to the world. These tourists spend money in our shops, restaurants and bars as well as enjoy tourism activities.

 Why don’t you send them to the camping grounds?

Freedom Campers will be encouraged to go to our campsites, but we are realistic that many will want a free option or just want to be within walking distance from shops and bars. By nature of their means of transportation they are not necessarily the type to seek out campgrounds.

What about things like public indecency? Littering? Public defecation/urination?

We hope that by providing facilities that we can limit issues with this.  Our security people will visit daily, but if there are issues noticed by the public they should ring the Police or call us 24/7. By encouraging campers to use these areas, we will hopefully help keep them safe, and protect our environment, while making it easier to monitor.