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Puninga Herekore

Freedom camping

We welcome responsible campers to the Gisborne Tairāwhiti district and encourage camping at the restricted areas defined in our bylaw. We also encourage the use of commercial and DoC campgrounds.

Please be familiar with our Freedom Camping Bylaw 2021 and the 'Kiwi' saying "leave only footprints".

2021 Freedom Camping Bylaw

Where you can freedom camp

At designated restricted freedom camping areas. If all parks are occupied you will need to find an alternative site or use commercial accommodation.
Areas marked with blue pins on the map below.

Covid-19 notice

At red traffic light setting - a vaccine pass is required for all campers 12-years of age and over.

Midway Beach surf club car park
  • Certified self-contained vehicles only.
  • Parks within painted blue lines.
  • 3 nights maximum stay only.
Kaiti Beach
  • Certified self-contained vehicles only.
  • Parks within painted blue lines.
  • 3 nights maximum stay only.
Bright Street car park
  • Certified self-contained vehicles only.
  • Parks within painted blue lines.
  • 3 nights maximum stay only.
Makorori car park
  • Certified self-contained vehicles only.
  • Parks within painted blue lines.
  • 3 nights maximum stay only.
Tokomaru Bay - 2 locations
  • Freedom camping only permitted between 1 May to Labour weekend only.
  • Certified self-contained vehicles only.
  • Designated areas are signposted.
  • 3 nights maximum stay only.
Motu rest area
  • Certified self-contained vehicles only.
  • Look for the sign for designated area.
  • 3 nights maximum stay only.

These rules apply to restricted freedom camping sites

  • Please respect the sites and leave them tidy. They are public spaces so please consider other users.
  • Dispose of all waste in facilities provided, or take it with you.
  • No fires, washing lines or semi-permanent structures.
  • Tents only in restricted seasonal camping areas with a permit.
  • Comply with enforcement officers.
  • Park in a legal manner in formed parking areas. Do not restrict access to public areas, footpaths or access ways.
  • Self-contained vehicles must clearly display NZS5465:2001 certification.
  • No person may freedom camp for more than 3 nights within 1 kilometre of an area where you have previously freedom camped within the last 4 weeks.

Areas where you can not camp - prohibited areas

The areas where freedom camping is prohibited, see Schedule 1 of the Bylaw.

Also no freedom camping at restricted seasonal camping areas from 1 May to Labour Weekend, see green pins on map.
Seasonal camping areas

Prohibited areas - locations marked with red pins on the map:
  • Gisborne urban area and surrounds
  • Sponge Bay, Wainui and Okitu
  • Makorori Beach
  • Turihaua Point - north
  • Waihau Beach
  • Tolaga Bay  - north, south and the wharf car park
  • Kaiaua Beach - part of
  • Te Araroa

Restricted and prohibited freedom camping areas in our district

Dump stations

  • Hallrite Plumbing and Gasfitting Yard, 71 Awapuni Road
  • Gisborne Mobil Service Station, 49 Wainui Road
  • Te Araroa transfer station, Te Arawapia Rd, Te Araroa

  • Tolaga Bay Holiday Park, 167 Wharf Road, Tolaga Bay
  • Anaura Bay Motor Camp, Anaura Bay, Anaura Bay
  • Tatapouri By The Sea, 516 Whangara, SH35, Tatapouri
  • Waikanae Beach Holiday Park, Grey Street, Gisborne
  • Showgrounds Park Motor Camp, 20 Main Road, Makaraka
  • Mayfair Store & Cabins, Waitangi Street, Tokomaru Bay

Care for our environment

How you can help maintain our district's natural environment during your stay:

During your stay:

  • the maximum stay is 3 nights - check requirements on each site
  • use the public toilets available in the area
  • take advantage of local laundry facilities for washing clothes
  • hot showers are available at the toilets in Bright Street
  • dispose of all waste in facilities provided, or take it with you.
  • ensure your wastewater holding tanks are discharged at designated dump stations.
  • please respect our sites, they're public spaces so consider other users.
  • no fires, use gas BBQs and cookers only
  • see our alcohol ban areas

  • you’re not camping in a vehicle or self-contained vehicle where required
  • you've stayed more than 3 nights in any public place
  • camping would create a health hazard
  • the public place is required for another purpose
  • camping would obstruct pedestrian or vehicle traffic
  • camping is creating a noise nuisance
  • the ground conditions are unsuitable for camping or camping will damage the area
  • camping is not allowed at that site

What happens if I break the rules?

All sites are regularly monitored. Under the Freedom Camping Act 2011, we can issue an instant $200 fine to anyone breaking the Gisborne District Council Freedom Camping bylaw. You may also be liable for prosecution.

Some of the reasons our enforcement officers issue infringement notices include:

  • Freedom camping in the wrong place.
  • Freedom camping more than the maximum nights limit
  • Damaging an area – its flora or fauna, or any structure.
  • Camping in a vehicle that doesn’t meet the requirements of NZS5465:2001certification as a self-contained vehicle.
  • Camping in a tent on a site other than a restricted seasonal camping site with a permit.
  • Depositing waste other than in an appropriate waste receptacle.

Pay a freedom camping infringement

Pay online