Are you looking for somewhere a bit different and less crowded to stay on your camping trip around New Zealand? Here are a few suggestions of apps and websites to try out, in no particular order...

1. (zero fees)

How To Find The Best Campsites In New Zealand/Aotearoa
Blue Spur Farmstay - PRIVATE CAMP SITE - Hokitika
Feb 12, 2024 - 887 Views. A private campsite for one group on our farm in Hokitika. A stunningly beautiful property where you can meet our farm animals and have a campfire.

How To Find The Best Campsites In New Zealand/Aotearoa

"Houfy is the largest vacation rentals direct booking advertising platform for rental property types such as homes, condos, cabins, apartments and rooms all over the world. The Houfy community offers more than 60,000 vacation rentals with no booking or service fees. Guests and hosts save money by booking vacation homes directly on Houfy. Easily search for a Houfy property and book your next condo, cabin, or house directly with a Houfy host anywhere in the world."

  • Houfy is a new platform to New Zealand. There are only a few sites available at the moment but it is growing steadily. The great thing about Houfy is that it is a direct book site. NO FEES for guests or hosts. Book and communicate directly with the land owner. Ask questions, arrange for optional extras like campfire wood, s'mores platters etc.
  • No app yet but you can search and book via the secure website.

2. Campermate

How To Find The Best Campsites In New Zealand/Aotearoa
  • CamperMate is a mobile application used for travelling around New Zealand and Australia. The app is free and uses GPS to find nearby Points Of Interest (POI) such as public toilets, dump-stations, accommodation, rubbish bins, local travel tips and more. You can find some lovely little private sites that are off the beaten path as well as the big campgrounds.
  • You can book and pay for sites securely via the app.
  • You can use the offline map as well when you don't have data.

How To Find The Best Campsites In New Zealand/Aotearoa

  • CamperMate was launched in 2011 during the Rugby World Cup when an estimated 133,000 tourists visited New Zealand, many travelling in campervans. The app collects data from official sources, and also crowd sources new locations; once approved, these are added to the app.

How To Find The Best Campsites In New Zealand/Aotearoa

Blue Spur Farmstay Campsite


How To Find The Best Campsites In New Zealand/Aotearoa

Hipcamp is an online marketplace company that offers outdoor stays and camping experiences via a website and mobile app. Private landowners primarily list campsites, glampsites, RV spaces, cabins for users to discover and book based on listing type, location, landscape, activities offered, and amenities. In addition to offering overnight stays on private land, Hipcamp also displays real-time availability, details, user reviews, and user photos of public campgrounds in national parks.

The app isn't currently able to be downloaded in Aotearoa/NZ but you can still easily search and book via the website.

Hipcamp has some really stunning campsites listed in New Zealand and around the world. If you are searching for something really special and private, give Hipcamp a go. It is still in it's infancy here in NZ so there are only a few listings at time of writing this. Keep an eye out for new listings being added.

4. Wikicamps

This is an app only site. You get a limited free trial then you have to pay a subscription.

"New Zealand's largest database of campgrounds, caravan parks, backpacker hostels, points of interest, dump stations, visitor information centres, water taps, toilets, showers, and more."

  • What is WikiCamps?
    WikiCamps is the largest database in Australia for campgrounds, caravan parks, backpacker hostels, points of interest, dump points, visitor information centres, water taps, amenities and more. I mean sure, there are a whole range of camping books on the market, but there are a few …
  • What are the WikiCamps Symbols?
    The WikiCamps App uses over 80 symbols to give you a simple and quick visual as to what each site contains. The symbols, which you can filter in or out, help you to easily find what you’re looking for.

"No phone signal? No worries! Simply download the content to your device before you go and you'll have it in the palm of your hands, no matter where you are!

Plan your next adventure using the WikiCamps Trip Planner. Create unlimited trips, add multiple locations, notes, and custom map pins."

How To Find The Best Campsites In New Zealand/Aotearoa

5. Rankers

Another app only site. Has the usual features like offline map options, dumpstations, walks , DoC sites, places of interest etc.

How To Find The Best Campsites In New Zealand/Aotearoa

"The top legal New Zealand camping locations on your phone or tablet. Camping NZ features Offline Maps, so you can find camping locations, free of restrictions from NZ's poor and expensive internet. This app gives you Freedom!

• The Official NZ Camping Map - in association with local councils, the Responsible Camping Forum, Department of Conservation, i-SITE and Tourism NZ.

• Full offline capability with maps and detailed information.

• Backed by over 101,000 independent Rankers reviews.

• Over 1,400 campsites included and almost 6000 points of interest across Aotearoa.

• Legal camping locations - free and paid - if it shows on this app then you're welcome to stay.

• From remote freedom camping sites to full-facility holiday parks.

• Filter for Top Ranked holiday parks, DOC and free sites based on thousands of Rankers reviews.

• Full details, photos, rules and pricing for each camping location.

• Includes all public and holiday park dump stations.

• Traveller's essentials like fuel, supermarkets, playgrounds and free water.

• Shows all i-SITE, DOC visitor centres and regional tourism hubs.

• Includes activities and walking tracks with extensive details including reviews, Maori and colonial history, geology, flora and fauna and more.

• Includes even more point of interests - quality free WiFi, supermarkets etc.

• Find local goodies like markets, roadside stalls and farm gate produce.

• Save your favourites to the map.

• Improve the app with your photos and reviews.

• Proudly designed and developed in Aotearoa NZ."


How To Find The Best Campsites In New Zealand/Aotearoa

Campable is a free app and website platform. This platform focuses on sites on private land like farms, vinyards etc.

About this app

"Find unique camping sites, meet locals, and experience the real New Zealand! Campable facilitates campers and motorhome travellers to stay on private property camping sites including; vineyards, working farms, sports clubs, resorts and more. You can book in advance or whilst travelling. You can also filter camp sites based on your preferences and needs such as power, water, WIFI or animal friendly.

Payment is via the Stripe platform giving you bank level security."

"The first thing to do on Campable - explore. Campable's map view allows you to scroll around the country, so you can browse campsites by location.

All you need to do is decide where you want to visit, scroll to that area on the map, and check out all the different sites where you could stay. You can also search locations in the search bar - because not everyone knows exactly where Kaikoura is.

Instant access to:

  • Resorts
  • Vineyards
  • Working farms
  • Cultural sites
  • Private clubs
  • Beaches

Part of the reason that staying on a Campable site is so special is that you’re on private property, staying with locals where they live and work. At the same time, this means that you need to be mindful of your Hosts and their property, and remember that each site will be different. With that in mind, here are a few things to remember.

How To Find The Best Campsites In New Zealand/Aotearoa

An Important Notice To All Campers

A note on pooping in the woods...

Basically - don't do it! Most people don't need to be told this, but the small minority who do give everyone else a bad name.

If you stay on a site that is for self-contained vehicles, this means you are expected to use the toilet and shower in your motorhome - don’t use your Host’s property as a litter box. (I think we can agree that no one likes to discover someone else’s poop!)

If your Host has a toilet, shower, rubbish disposal or other facilities that they have made available, please be sure to leave everything clean and as you found it.

Check with your Host before you...

  • Light a BBQ, Charcoal grill, or a fire
  • Use a generator
  • Explore your Host’s property
  • Approach animals
  • Approach machinery
  • Climb any structure
  • Use a Drone (they can scare animals and violate privacy)
  • Swim in natural waterways
  • Have a party

If you're staying on a farm...

  • Always leave gates as you found them. If a gate is open it’s so animals can graze between paddocks, and if it’s closed this will be so animals don’t get out.
  • As cute as they are, farm animals aren’t pets. Don’t approach them, as you may scare them, separate young from their mothers, and endanger yourself.
  • Keep to your own paddock. Don’t explore your Host’s or their neighbours’ property without permission.
  • Make sure that you remove all rubbish. If your Host offers rubbish disposal, only leave your rubbish where they designate.
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