South Island Freedom Camping Map Data

map logo The resources on this page are primarily aimed at the freedom camper on the road looking for a suitable spot to stop, but are also useful for planning. They work offline for those places that do not have adequate data coverage. All the information is publically available but compiled together here into regions to make the job more manageable, particularly for less-powerful devices. To find official camp sites use a tool like CamperMate.

The map data here is supplied as KML (KMZ) files for mapping software such as Google Earth, GIS, or OruxMaps. There are also some offline MBTiles base maps for use in software such as OruxMaps (Android), Locus Map (Android) or Guru Maps Pro (iOS). Examples use OruxMaps but other software is used similarly. A free version of OruxMaps is available from their website.

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Council Freedom Camping Bylaws

These KML files of council prohibited and allowed freedom camping areas have been obtained from district councils, or digitised from district council bylaw documents and should be used in conjunction with them.
Marlborough Marlborough allowed
West Coast West Coast prohibited
  West Coast allowed

Council boundaries and regulations

A district council boundary map can be found here that includes information on the policies for that district and the URL of the policy. This is also useful to see when you move into a different council district in your vehicle.
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Land Parcels

In most districts (but not all!) you may freedom camp on any council-administered public land unless expressly prohibited by law. The Freedom Camping Act prohibits freedom camping in all DOC reserves unless expressly permitted. However, the act does not prohibit freedom camping on other types of public land, such as forest parks, council parks, cemetaries, and some paper road parcels, and national parks (among others) - unless expressly prohibited by a further act of law. Paper roads (unformed legal roads) are a very useful resource - See walkingaccess.govt.nz for more information on New Zealand public land types.
The following KML files are to assist you to identify suitable parks, reserves or other land parcels, but they BY NO MEANS specify where you may or may not freedom camp. You cannot, for example, freedom camp anywhere you might block access, require crossing private land, cause harm or danger, or create a nuisance, etc.
Roads (incl. paper roads) Parks and Reserves
West Coast
West Coast
Note: When looking at land parcels "fee simple" usually means private land. "Stewardship land" is allocated to DOC.
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Department of Conservation

You can export KML files from the following DOC resources:
Restricted DOC freedom camping areas
DOC public conservation areas
DOC camp sites

OR, download a snapshot ready-to-use that has been tidied up:
Restricted DOC Freedom Camping areas 2022-01-21.kml
DOC public conservation areas by region (2022-01-29)
West Coast

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These offline base maps are provided in MBTiles format for use in OruxMaps but they should also work in other software.

Open Streetmap (Vector)
New Zealand Open Streetmap, NZ (414 MB)  
LINZ Aerial Imagery (MBTiles)
Nelson/Tasman/Marlborough Zoom level 16 (432 MB) Zoom level 17 (1.8 GB)
West Coast Zoom level 16 (504 MB) Zoom level 17 (2 GB)
Canterbury Zoom level 16 (839 MB) Zoom level 17 (3.2 GB)
Otago Zoom level 16 (642 MB) Zoom level 17 (2.5 GB)
Southland Zoom level 16 (665 MB) Zoom level 17 (2.9 GB)
LINZ Topographical Maps (Topo50), 1:50,000 (MBTiles)
Nelson/Tasman/Marlborough Zoom level 15 (165 MB)  
West Coast Zoom level 15 (177 MB)  
Canterbury Zoom level 15 (356 MB)  
Otago Zoom level 15 (265 MB)  
Southland Zoom level 15 (233 MB)  
Attribution: LINZ CC BY 4.0 © Imagery Basemap contributors

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Using files in OruxMaps

KML or KMZ files should be copied into the overlay directory inside your oruxmaps directory (by default the oruxmaps directory is in your home directory). Then, in OruxMaps click the Map icon, and select "Overlay options -> Load KML Overlay".

Basemaps should be unzipped into the oruxmaps "mapfile" directory on your device. To switch to a basemap click the Map icon then choose "Switch Map". Select the "Offline" tab. You may need to press the reload button to display the new map in the list.

The offline MBTiles maps are limited to zoom level 17 to save on space (zoom level 17 includes zoom level 16 but use 16 if you need to save space). Higher resolution maps are available online (up to zoom level 22) for when data coverage is available. The high-resolution LINZ aerial imagery for online use can be added as follows:

1) Go to https://basemaps.linz.govt.nz
2) Click the menu button to generate a WMTS API key (expires after 90 days), which should look something like:
3) In OruxMaps go to "Switch Maps" then click the (+) icon to add a new map source.
4) Click the + button for "WMTS MAP (ONLINE)"
5) Tick the "https" checkbox and copy the WMTS API key you generated into the URL text box.
6) Click OK, then select the "aerial" map when prompted.
7) Tick the "Cacheable" and "Downloadable" options.
8) Give the new map source a name and save it.

Please send any questions, corrections, or requests to rj@offloop.net