Lake Taupo from Omori Lodge
Image: Jimmy Johnson | DOC

Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication. 


From 1 December three DOC free camping areas in the Taupō District will change from restricted to ‘no camping’ sites. The sites are the Omori Stream car park near Kuratau, the Oruatua picnic site near Tauranga-Taupō and the Landing Reserve in the Taupō boat harbour.

Date:  29 November 2017

Since the Freedom Camping Act came into effect in 2011, tourism growth and particularly the rise in non-self-contained freedom campers has meant some sites initially open to campers have now had to be reconsidered due to the increase in pressure. The aim is to find the balance for managing both the environmental and recreational values of a site.

The sites being changed do not have the facilities to support both the high number of day visitors and the influx of campers. Omori, for example, is a popular walking track and fishing spot, and the limited space for vehicles means access is often impeded.

DOC has worked with council and the harbour master through the decision-making process to provide a consistent management approach to camping in the Taupō District.

Central Plateau Freedom Camping Notices 2017:

  • Omori Stream car park will change from a restricted to a prohibited site
  • Oruatua picnic site near Tauranga-Taupō will change from a restricted to a prohibited site
  • The Landing Reserve/Taupō boat harbour including the yacht club car park will change from a restricted to a prohibited site

New signage will be in place at each site outlining the restrictions.

The Freedom Camping Act provides enforcement with effective, immediate tools to address inappropriate freedom camping, waste or damage to the site, with $200 infringement fines. In the Taupō District the Department will increase monitoring this summer in anticipation of higher visitor numbers.

DOC has a commitment to increasing participation in outdoor recreation and this includes camping. The Department only wishes to control freedom camping where it is causing real problems or where the issues cannot be managed in another way.


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