Campervans welcome in Dunedin

The Dunedin City Council is taking a ''positive'' approach to freedom camping in the area.

Self-contained campervans are welcome in the city - they can stay over in public car parks for up to two nights and even illegal campers will not feel the sharp end of the law.

Council reserves and recreation planning team leader Paulien Leijnse said freedom campers come to enjoy the scenery, the wildlife and the heritage attractions.

''It is important that we convey to them our policy for freedom camping in our city so they know where they can camp and we are working hard to ensure they can access this information easily.

''We don't go out and fine people because it is not a very positive attitude. We talk and try to convince people to move on and give them information.''

The council's attitude in Dunedin is different from that of the Queenstown Lakes District Council, which has issued thousands of instant fines for illegal camping.

Ms Leijnse said Dunedin's tourist were more likely to be nature lovers than young thrill seekers. Otago Peninsula Community Board deputy chairwoman Christine Garey said freedom campers contributed significantly to the local economy.

''We need to welcome freedom campers but manage where they stay.''

Those camping in tents or vehicles without toilet facilities are only allowed to stay in private campgrounds in the Dunedin city area.

Self contained motor-homes can park for the night in council car parks for up to two nights but there must not be more than two within a 50-metre radius.

No camping is allowed at Taiaroa Head/Pukekura (including Pilots Beach) or on the city's cemeteries.

Freedom campers and visitors in campervans make up 6% of visitors to Dunedin. Campervan visitors spend on average $195 per day.

Rural Women NZ national president Liz Evans said there had been problems in the past with effluent and grey water being dumped out of campervans into country drains.

That had improved since the Freedom Camping Act came into force last summer.

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