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A Kiwi Adventure: AB Camping In New Zealand


Modified: January 3, 2024

by Eugenie Crossley



Welcome to the land of adventure: New Zealand! Known for its stunning landscapes, diverse wildlife, and thrilling outdoor activities, New Zealand is a paradise for adventure enthusiasts. From hiking scenic trails to white-water rafting in pristine rivers, there is no shortage of exhilarating experiences to be had.


One of the best ways to truly immerse yourself in the natural wonders of New Zealand is through AB camping. AB camping, short for Adventure-Based camping, combines the excitement of outdoor exploration with the comfort and convenience of camping. Whether you’re a seasoned camper or a first-timer, AB camping in New Zealand offers a unique adventure that is sure to leave you with unforgettable memories.


From North Island to South Island, New Zealand’s diverse landscapes provide a wide range of camping opportunities. Set up camp near picturesque beaches, beside tranquil lakes, or deep in the heart of lush forests. Whichever location you choose, you’ll be surrounded by breathtaking beauty and have easy access to a myriad of outdoor activities.


But AB camping in New Zealand is not just about pitching a tent and enjoying the views. It’s about immersing yourself in the local culture, learning about the Maori heritage, and experiencing the thrill of adventure activities like bungee jumping, ziplining, or exploring glowworm caves.


In this article, we will explore everything you need to know to plan your AB camping adventure in New Zealand. From choosing the perfect camping spot to essential gear recommendations, wildlife encounters, safety tips, and more. So grab your backpack, put on your adventure hat, and get ready for an unforgettable Kiwi camping experience!


Getting to Know New Zealand

New Zealand, also known as Aotearoa in Maori, is an island country located in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. Comprised of two main landmasses, the North Island and the South Island, along with numerous smaller islands, New Zealand is renowned for its natural beauty, diverse landscapes, and unique flora and fauna.


The country offers a wealth of adventure opportunities, from towering mountains and pristine lakes to rugged coastlines and dense forests. Whether you’re seeking adrenaline-pumping activities or serene nature experiences, New Zealand has it all.


One of the first things you’ll notice about New Zealand is its rich Maori culture. The Maori people have a deep connection to the land and sea, and their presence is felt throughout the country. Take the time to learn about their traditions, visit a marae (Maori meeting grounds), and experience their warm hospitality.


When it comes to exploring New Zealand, the possibilities are endless. Start your journey on the North Island, where you can visit the vibrant city of Auckland, known as the “City of Sails.” Discover the geothermal wonders of Rotorua and soak in natural hot springs, or explore the picturesque beaches and coves of the Bay of Islands.


Head south to the South Island, where you’ll be greeted by breathtaking landscapes at every turn. Marvel at the fjords of Milford Sound, hike the iconic trails of Queenstown, or get up close and personal with the wildlife in the remote wilderness of Stewart Island.


As you travel through New Zealand, you’ll also encounter an abundance of unique wildlife. Keep an eye out for the kiwi bird, New Zealand’s national symbol, as well as dolphins, seals, penguins, and even whales. The country’s conservation efforts ensure that these species are protected and thriving.


New Zealand is a country that embraces adventure and outdoor exploration. Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie looking for thrill-seeking activities like skydiving and bungee jumping, or a nature lover seeking tranquility in the midst of breathtaking landscapes, New Zealand has something for everyone.


Now that you have a glimpse of what New Zealand has to offer, it’s time to delve into the details of AB camping and start planning your perfect adventure in this awe-inspiring country.


Camping in New Zealand

Camping in New Zealand is a popular and rewarding way to experience the country’s natural beauty up close. The abundance of campsites, ranging from basic to fully-equipped, makes it easy for both budget-conscious travelers and those seeking a more comfortable camping experience to find the perfect spot.


Whether you prefer pitching a tent, parking your campervan, or staying in a glamping site, there are accommodations to suit all preferences. Camping provides a unique opportunity to connect with nature, breathe in the fresh air, and spend quality time with family and friends.


When it comes to AB camping, there are several options available. You can choose to camp in designated campgrounds, national parks, or remote backcountry areas. Each option offers its own set of benefits and considerations.


Designated campgrounds are typically equipped with basic facilities such as toilets, showers, and cooking areas. These campgrounds are a great choice for those who prefer a more structured camping experience or want access to amenities.


National parks are a haven for outdoor enthusiasts looking to immerse themselves in the beauty of New Zealand’s landscapes. Many national parks offer camping facilities, allowing you to wake up surrounded by breathtaking scenery and easily access hiking trails and other outdoor activities.


If you’re seeking a more remote and secluded camping experience, venturing into the backcountry might be the right choice for you. However, it’s important to note that backcountry camping requires more preparation and self-sufficiency, as there are usually no facilities available. Make sure to familiarize yourself with the regulations and safety guidelines of the area you plan to visit.


Another popular option for AB camping in New Zealand is renting a campervan. New Zealand is well-known for its camper-friendly infrastructure, including numerous campervan parks and dump stations. This allows you to have the freedom to explore different regions at your own pace while enjoying the convenience of a mobile home.


Glamping, a combination of glamour and camping, is also gaining popularity in New Zealand. If you prefer a more luxurious camping experience, you can find glamping sites that offer comfortable beds, ensuite bathrooms, and even stunning views.


Whether you choose a traditional tent, a campervan, or a glamping site, AB camping in New Zealand allows you to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and fully immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the country.


Now that you have an idea of the camping options available, let’s move on to planning your AB camping adventure in New Zealand.


Planning Your AB Camping Adventure

Planning is key to ensuring a successful and enjoyable AB camping adventure in New Zealand. Here are some important steps to consider when planning your trip:

  1. Choose the Duration: Decide how long you want your camping adventure to be. Whether it’s a weekend getaway or a month-long expedition, determining the duration will help you plan your itinerary and make necessary arrangements.
  2. Research the Locations: New Zealand offers a wide array of camping spots, each with its own unique features. Research different locations to find the ones that align with your preferred activities and interests. Whether you want to explore coastal areas, hike in the mountains, or immerse yourself in lush forests, New Zealand has it all.
  3. Check Permit Requirements: Some camping areas, especially backcountry spots, may require permits. Make sure to check if any permits are needed for the locations you plan to visit and obtain them in advance to avoid any last-minute complications.
  4. Prepare a Packing List: Create a comprehensive packing list based on the activities and locations you will be visiting. Essential items include a tent, sleeping bags, cooking equipment, appropriate clothing, food, water, and camping gear. Don’t forget to pack a first aid kit, insect repellent, and sunscreen.
  5. Book Accommodations in Advance: If you plan to stay at designated campgrounds or glamping sites, it’s advisable to book your accommodations in advance, especially during peak seasons. This ensures that you have a guaranteed spot and can avoid any last-minute availability issues.
  6. Check the Weather: New Zealand’s weather can be unpredictable, so it’s essential to check the forecast before your trip. Pack accordingly, including warm layers, rain gear, and sturdy footwear. Be prepared for changing weather conditions and have a backup plan in case of severe weather warnings.
  7. Plan Your Activities: Research the adventure activities and attractions available near your camping locations. Whether it’s hiking, kayaking, or wildlife spotting, plan your activities in advance to make the most of your time and ensure availability.
  8. Learn About Safety Precautions: Familiarize yourself with safety precautions for camping in New Zealand. This includes understanding fire safety regulations, wildlife safety measures, and basic first aid knowledge. Respect the environment and always leave no trace.
  9. Inform Others: Before embarking on your AB camping adventure, inform someone trustworthy about your itinerary and expected return date. This ensures that someone is aware of your plans and can alert authorities if necessary.

By following these steps and planning ahead, you’ll be well-prepared to embark on your AB camping adventure in New Zealand. Now, let’s move on to choosing the perfect camping spot for your Kiwi getaway.


Choosing the Perfect Camping Spot

When it comes to AB camping in New Zealand, choosing the right camping spot is essential for a memorable and enjoyable experience. Here are some factors to consider when selecting the perfect camping spot:

  1. Location: Determine if you want to camp near the coast, in the mountains, or in a forested area. Each location offers a different atmosphere and a unique range of activities to enjoy. Consider the scenery, proximity to hiking trails or water activities, and the type of nature experience you’re looking for.
  2. Facilities: Decide if you prefer a fully-equipped campsite with facilities such as toilets, showers, and cooking areas, or if you’re willing to rough it and camp in more remote areas with minimal amenities. Keep in mind that camping in more remote areas may offer a more authentic experience but require greater self-sufficiency.
  3. Accessibility: Consider how easy it is to access your chosen camping spot. If you’re traveling in a campervan or with young children, you may prefer a site with easy vehicle access. On the other hand, if you’re seeking solitude and a more challenging adventure, a remote and less accessible spot could be the right choice.
  4. Privacy: Evaluate how important privacy is to you. Some camping spots can be crowded, especially during peak seasons, while others offer more seclusion and tranquility. If you’re looking for a peaceful retreat, research camping areas that are known for their privacy and solitude.
  5. Scenic Beauty: New Zealand is renowned for its stunning landscapes, so take advantage of the opportunity to camp in areas with breathtaking views. Whether it’s a pristine beach, a majestic mountain range, or a serene forest, choose a spot that offers the picturesque beauty you desire.
  6. Local Attractions: Consider the attractions and activities available near your chosen camping spot. If you enjoy hiking, look for locations with nearby trails. If you’re interested in water activities, choose a spot with access to lakes, rivers, or the ocean. Take into account the activities and experiences that align with your interests.
  7. Weather Conditions: Be aware of the weather conditions of the region you plan to camp in. While New Zealand’s weather can be unpredictable, certain areas may be more prone to extreme weather or challenging conditions. Prepare accordingly and be ready to adapt your plans if necessary.
  8. Reviews and Recommendations: Research online reviews and seek recommendations from others who have camped in New Zealand. Hearing about the experiences of fellow campers can provide valuable insights and help you make an informed decision about the best camping spots.

Remember, choosing the perfect camping spot is subjective, and what works for someone else may not necessarily work for you. Take your preferences, interests, and travel companions into account when making your decision. With so many incredible locations to choose from, you’re bound to find the ideal camping spot that suits your needs and ensures an unforgettable AB camping adventure in New Zealand.


Now that you have an idea of how to choose the perfect camping spot, let’s move on to discussing the essential camping gear you’ll need for your Kiwi adventure.


Essential Camping Gear

When embarking on an AB camping adventure in New Zealand, having the right gear is crucial for a comfortable and enjoyable experience. Here is a list of essential camping gear to consider packing for your Kiwi adventure:

  1. Tent: A sturdy and waterproof tent is essential for providing shelter and protection from the elements. Choose a tent that accommodates the number of people in your group and provides enough space for sleeping and storing your gear.
  2. Sleeping Bags and Sleeping Mats: Invest in quality sleeping bags designed for the expected weather conditions. Ensure they provide adequate warmth and insulation. Sleeping mats or inflatable sleeping pads will add an extra layer of comfort and insulation from the ground.
  3. Cooking Equipment: Portable camping stoves or barbecues, along with cookware, utensils, and a cooler, are essential for preparing meals during your camping adventure. Don’t forget to pack matches or a lighter for starting your campfire if permitted.
  4. Food and Water: Plan and pack a sufficient amount of non-perishable food items for the duration of your camping trip. Opt for easy-to-cook meals and snacks that provide energy for outdoor activities. Ensure you have an adequate supply of drinking water or a reliable water filtration system.
  5. Clothing and Footwear: Pack appropriate clothing for the expected weather conditions. Layering is key to adapting to changing temperatures. Include waterproof and windproof outer layers, comfortable hiking shoes or boots, hats, gloves, and extra socks.
  6. Lighting: Headlamps or flashlights are essential for navigating around your campsite at night. Don’t forget extra batteries or a portable charger to keep your devices powered.
  7. First Aid Kit: Always carry a well-stocked first aid kit containing essentials such as band-aids, sterile dressings, antiseptic wipes, pain relievers, and any necessary prescription medications.
  8. Navigation Tools: A detailed map of the area, a compass, and a GPS device or smartphone with offline maps are essential for navigating trails and ensuring you stay on the right path.
  9. Personal Hygiene Items: Pack toiletries, toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and any necessary personal hygiene items. Consider eco-friendly options to minimize your impact on the environment.
  10. Entertainment and Comfort: Consider bringing items that will enhance your comfort and entertainment during downtime. This can include camping chairs, a portable hammock, books, games, or musical instruments.

Remember, it’s important to pack efficiently and only bring what you truly need. Space and weight are limited when camping, especially if you’re backpacking or traveling in a campervan. Prioritize the essentials and consider sharing gear and supplies with your camping companions to save space.


Finally, ensure that all camping gear is in good condition and functioning properly before you embark on your AB camping adventure in New Zealand. Taking the time to prepare and pack the right gear will help ensure a comfortable and enjoyable experience in the great outdoors.


Now that you’re equipped with the necessary gear, let’s discuss the best time to go camping in New Zealand.


The Best Time to Go Camping

Choosing the right time to go camping in New Zealand can greatly enhance your experience and allow you to make the most of the outdoor activities and natural beauty the country has to offer. Here are some factors to consider when deciding on the best time for your AB camping adventure:


Weather: The weather in New Zealand can vary greatly depending on the season and region. The summer months of December to February offer warmer temperatures and longer daylight hours, making it an ideal time for camping. However, keep in mind that popular camping spots can be crowded during this time. Spring (September to November) and autumn (March to May) provide milder temperatures and less crowded campsites, while winter (June to August) offers a unique camping experience but requires additional preparation for colder conditions.


Peak Seasons: New Zealand’s peak tourist seasons are during the summer months and school holiday periods, particularly around Christmas and New Year. Campgrounds and popular camping spots can book up quickly during these times, so make sure to secure your accommodations well in advance if you plan to camp during peak seasons.


Activities: Consider the activities you’re interested in and how they may be affected by the seasons. For example, summer is ideal for water activities like swimming, kayaking, and fishing, while autumn boasts vibrant foliage and is great for hiking. Winter opens up opportunities for skiing, snowboarding, and ice climbing in certain regions.


Wildlife: New Zealand is home to unique wildlife, including rare bird species, dolphins, seals, and penguins. Research the best time to spot these animals in their natural habitats and plan your camping trip accordingly. For example, summer is a great time for bird watching and marine wildlife encounters.


Budget Considerations: Travel costs, including campsite fees and rental rates for campervans or camping gear, can vary depending on the season. Consider your budget when planning your camping adventure and take into account any price fluctuations during peak and off-peak seasons.


Ultimately, the best time to go camping in New Zealand depends on your preferences, the activities you plan to engage in, and your tolerance for crowds or varying weather conditions. No matter when you choose to go, New Zealand’s beauty and outdoor adventures await you, providing an unforgettable camping experience.


Now that you have a better understanding of the best time to go camping, let’s move on to exploring the natural wonders that await you in New Zealand.


Exploring New Zealand’s Natural Wonders

New Zealand is a country brimming with natural wonders, from towering mountains to pristine beaches and everything in between. When AB camping in New Zealand, you have the opportunity to immerse yourself in these incredible landscapes and explore some of the country’s most renowned natural wonders. Here are a few must-visit destinations:


Tongariro National Park: Located in the central North Island, Tongariro National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site and home to three active volcanoes: Tongariro, Ngauruhoe, and Ruapehu. Hiking the Tongariro Alpine Crossing is a must-do, offering breathtaking views of volcanic craters, emerald lakes, and stunning alpine scenery.


Franz Josef Glacier: On the South Island’s West Coast, the Franz Josef Glacier is a mesmerizing sight. Join a guided tour or take a helicopter ride to explore the blue-ice formations and towering ice walls. You can also hike to the glacier’s terminal face for a closer look at this natural marvel.


Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park: This is home to the tallest mountain in New Zealand, Aoraki/Mount Cook, and offers spectacular alpine scenery. The park offers an array of hiking trails, ranging from easy walks to challenging multi-day treks. Don’t miss the opportunity to stargaze in this International Dark Sky Reserve.


Milford Sound: Located in Fiordland National Park, Milford Sound is often referred to as the “eighth wonder of the world.” Take a boat cruise to marvel at the dramatic fjords, cascading waterfalls, and the iconic Mitre Peak. The sound is also a haven for wildlife, including fur seals, dolphins, and penguins.


Abel Tasman National Park: Situated at the top of the South Island, Abel Tasman National Park is known for its golden sandy beaches, turquoise waters, and lush coastal forests. Explore the park by kayak, hike the scenic coastal trail, or simply relax on the pristine beaches and soak up the sun.


Milford Track: Considered one of the greatest walks in the world, the Milford Track is a 53-kilometer trail that takes you through some of New Zealand’s most breathtaking scenery. Immerse yourself in the beauty of ancient rainforests, crystal-clear rivers, and majestic waterfalls as you hike this iconic trail.


These are just a few examples of the natural wonders that await you in New Zealand. From the stunning landscapes of the North Island to the rugged beauty of the South Island, AB camping allows you to get up close and personal with these incredible natural attractions.


As you explore New Zealand’s natural wonders, be sure to follow responsible camping practices and respect the environment. Take advantage of the opportunities for hiking, swimming, kayaking, and wildlife spotting that these areas offer. Each adventure will leave you in awe of New Zealand’s breathtaking beauty.


Now, let’s delve into the incredible wildlife encounters you can have during your AB camping adventure in New Zealand.


Wildlife Encounters in AB Camping

One of the highlights of AB camping in New Zealand is the opportunity to encounter unique and diverse wildlife. The country is home to an array of fascinating species, both on land and in the water. Here are some of the incredible wildlife encounters you can have during your camping adventure:


Kiwi Birds: New Zealand’s iconic national bird, the kiwi, is a rare and elusive sight in the wild. These flightless birds have a unique appearance, with their long beaks and soft, fluffy feathers. Join a guided night tour or visit a kiwi sanctuary to increase your chances of spotting these adorable and endangered birds.


Seals and Sea Lions: Along the coastal regions of New Zealand, you may encounter seals and sea lions basking in the sun or frolicking in the water. Take a coastal walk or join a boat tour to observe these playful creatures up close, but remember to maintain a safe distance to respect their space.


Dolphins and Whales: New Zealand’s coastal waters are a playground for dolphins and whales. Take a boat tour or join a kayaking excursion to witness these majestic creatures in their natural habitat. Kaikoura, in particular, is known for its abundance of marine life, including resident sperm whales.


Penguins: Several species of penguins call New Zealand home, including the famous little blue penguins. Visit coastal areas such as Oamaru, Dunedin, or the Otago Peninsula to spot these adorable birds as they come ashore after a day of fishing.


Kea Parrots: The kea is a mischievous and intelligent parrot species found in the alpine regions of the South Island. Known for their curiosity and playful antics, these birds can be spotted near mountain areas such as Arthur’s Pass and Milford Sound. Keep an eye out for their vibrant green plumage and distinctive calls.


Glowworms: While not technically wildlife, the mesmerizing glowworms found in New Zealand’s caves and forests are a sight to behold. Take a guided tour to explore the magical glowworm caves of Waitomo, where thousands of tiny bioluminescent worms create a stunning spectacle.


Endemic Bird Species: New Zealand is also home to numerous endemic bird species, including the tui, bellbird, fantail, and more. These birds are known for their beautiful songs and vibrant plumage. Keep your eyes and ears open as you explore forests and national parks, as you may be treated to the melodic sounds of these native birds.


Remember to observe wildlife from a respectful distance and avoid disturbing their natural behavior. Follow any guidelines or restrictions in place to protect both the animals and their habitats. Enjoy these unique wildlife encounters as part of your AB camping adventure, and cherish the memories of these extraordinary experiences.


Now, let’s move on to discussing some safety tips to keep in mind while AB camping in New Zealand.


Safety Tips for AB Camping in New Zealand

AB camping in New Zealand offers incredible opportunities for adventure and exploration, but it’s important to prioritize safety during your camping trip. Here are some essential safety tips to keep in mind:

  1. Plan and Prepare: Research your camping location and familiarize yourself with the area’s terrain, weather, and any potential hazards. Create a detailed itinerary, inform others of your plans, and check weather forecasts before setting out.
  2. Choose Safe Camping Spots: Select well-established camping areas that have been approved for camping. These spots often have designated facilities and are regularly checked for hazards. Avoid camping near cliffs, steep slopes, or unstable terrain.
  3. Be Aware of Wildlife: While wildlife encounters can be exciting, always treat animals with respect and maintain a safe distance. Avoid disturbing their natural behavior and never feed them. Remember that some animals, such as seals and sea lions, can be protective and may act aggressively if they feel threatened.
  4. Practice Fire Safety: Follow local regulations regarding campfires and ensure you have a permit if required. Always keep a safe distance between tents and cooking areas and your campfire. Fully extinguish fires before leaving, and never leave them unattended.
  5. Stay Hydrated and Well-Nourished: Keep yourself hydrated by drinking plenty of water, especially during hot weather or when undertaking strenuous activities. Pack nutritious food and snacks to provide energy throughout your camping trip.
  6. Respect the Environment: Follow the principles of “Leave No Trace” and respect the natural environment. Dispose of waste properly, including human waste, and pack out all your trash. Minimize your impact by staying on marked trails and avoiding the trampling of vegetation.
  7. Be Weather-Wise: New Zealand’s weather can change rapidly, even in summer. Pack appropriate clothing for various weather conditions, including warm layers, rain gear, and sturdy footwear. Monitor weather forecasts and be prepared to adjust your plans if necessary.
  8. Carry a First Aid Kit: Always have a well-stocked first aid kit readily available. It should include essentials such as band-aids, sterile dressings, pain relievers, antiseptic wipes, and any necessary personal medications. Familiarize yourself with basic first aid procedures.
  9. Be Mindful of Water Safety: If swimming, kayaking, or participating in water activities, be aware of water conditions and your skill level. Only swim in designated areas and pay attention to warning signs. Wear appropriate safety gear, such as life jackets, if required.
  10. Trust your Instincts: If you encounter a situation that feels unsafe or uncomfortable, trust your instincts. Use common sense and take appropriate actions to ensure your safety and that of your camping companions.

Remember that safety should always be a priority during your AB camping adventure in New Zealand. By being prepared, informed, and cautious, you can minimize risks and have a memorable and enjoyable camping experience.


Now that you’re well-informed about safety precautions, it’s time to wrap up your AB camping planning and get ready for an unforgettable camping adventure in beautiful New Zealand.



AB camping in New Zealand offers a unique and immersive adventure in one of the world’s most breathtaking destinations. From the stunning landscapes to the diverse wildlife, New Zealand truly has it all for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers.


In this article, we’ve explored the various aspects of planning an AB camping adventure in New Zealand. We discussed the country’s natural beauty, diverse camping options, and the importance of choosing the perfect camping spot. We also highlighted the essential gear you’ll need, the best time to go camping, and the incredible wildlife encounters you can experience.


As you embark on your AB camping journey, remember to prioritize safety by planning ahead, being aware of your surroundings, and respecting the environment. Adhere to safety guidelines, stay hydrated, and be prepared for changing weather conditions.


Now, armed with all the necessary information and tips, it’s time to pack your bags, strap on your hiking boots, and venture into the great outdoors of New Zealand. Connect with nature, experience unforgettable adventures, and create lifelong memories in this remarkable country.


Remember, AB camping allows you to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and reconnect with the beauty of the natural world. So, embrace the spirit of adventure, immerse yourself in the culture, and make the most of every moment as you explore the stunning landscapes and encounter the remarkable wildlife of New Zealand.


Enjoy your AB camping adventure, and may it be filled with endless thrills, breathtaking scenery, and unforgettable experiences in the Land of the Long White Cloud.