4 Oct 2011

World Cup visitors turn to freedom camping

9:40 am on 4 October 2011

Booked-out campsites are turning people away during the Rugby World Cup, as thousands of travellers tour between cities to see the matches.

Some visitors say they have no option but to freedom camp off highways, in supermarket carparks or on beaches.

Several makeshift campsites have been set up around the country, on fields, in public parks and at marinas.

But many tourists say they are resorting to freedom camping instead, either out of convenience, or because those sites are too full.

Although freedom camping is not illegal in New Zealand, by-laws can restrict it in certain areas and campers can be fined if they fail to comply with notices.

Cheryl Mundy, a visitor from South Africa, says she had to use a beach next to an Auckland camp ground which was full.

UK tourist Neil Birleson says tourists often ignore 'no freedom camping' signs, and park anyway.

He says it's harder to get places to stay in the North Island, so there are more freedom campers.

Maurice Anderson of New Caledonia says he saw a group of campervans parked at the Pak'nSave in Hamilton.