Tōpuni tangatanga

Freedom camping

We welcome responsible campers to the Gisborne district and encourage the use of commercial and DoC camp grounds.

If you're freedom camping, please be familiar with our rules and the 'Kiwi' saying "leave only footprints".

We have 3 designated year-round freedom camping sites at Motu, Kaiti Beach and Makorori Beach car park.

There are also 5 restricted sites where freedom camping is only allowed between April - September (outside NZ daylight savings period). The sites are Donerialle Park,  Tolaga Bay,  Kaiaua Beach,  Tokomaru Bay - Waiotu Road,  Tokomaru Bay opposite Potae Street.
Note: The Marina car park is closed to freedom campers for the 2020 summer season.

Have your say

Have your say on our draft Freedom Camping Bylaw 2021. The new bylaw proposes to regulate freedom camping and make changes to summer camping.

On this page

Freedom camping in Gisborne city

Freedom camping is permitted only in a self-contained vehicle, on formed public parking area, except where it's restricted or prohibited.

The maximum stay is 3 days.

Where freedom camping is prohibited

Freedom camping is prohibited at:

  • Reserves
  • Sportsgrounds
  • Nature reserves
  • Beaches, except Kaiti Beach at the designated car park,  Makorori Beach (at the designated carpark), Tolaga Bay Wharf car park, parts of Tolaga Bay and Kaiaua Beach (except the designated camping areas),
  • Marina car park
  • Any reserve that has a reserve management plan
  • Titirangi (Kaiti Hill)
  • Registered summer campgrounds are also prohibited.

For maps and more information see our freedom camping bylaw.

Campers on prohibited land will be issued an infringement notice and directed to the nearest registered camping ground or freedom camping site.

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
  • Mayfair Store & Cabins, Waitangi Street, Tokomaru Bay

  • 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

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 (see list below)
  • please respect our sites, they're public spaces so consider other users
  • no fires, use gas BBQs and cookers only
  • park in formed car parks, without obstructing accessways
  • 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