Freedom campers welcomed into more business parking and home driveways
At Straight 8 Estate winery just outside Christchurch owners James Shand and Mary Jamieson allow self-contained motor homes to park up among their vines.
Near Twizel cheese-maker Matt Dunnicliff lets a limited number of camper vans stay beside his Ben Ohau Road Cheese Room factory made from a shipping container.
They are among a growing number of businesses and homeowners joining schemes linking freedom campers with private properties where they can stay overnight.
Such arrangements are being eyed up as a way of coping with the summer peak of camper vans and motor homes hitting our highways, and the expected influx during next year's British and Irish Lions rugby tour.
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Some properties charge, others don't.
Auckland-based company Parkable is moving into finding sites for motorhomes and camper vans for a fee.
It already helps property owners and organisations such as churches hire out more than 1000 parking spaces in vacant driveways and car parks in Auckland and Wellington CBDs.
Parkable declined to comment on whether it was expanding into an app for freedom camping sites, but Shand said he had recently signed up as a host as part of a trial.
The $40 Parkable fee for Straight 8 Estate included a voucher that could be exchanged for wine provided campers were old enough.
Shand, like Dunnicliff, is also a host on the Okay2stay website for self-contained motorhomes.
"It just takes the pressure off areas so [people] don't end up camping on the side of the road," Shand said.
"We've only had two out of 20 or 30 that didn't buy anything."
Colleen Hammonds set up Okay2stay in 2014 after using a similar organisation while travelling in the US
Her 500 members, usually overseas tourists, pay a $45 membership fee for access to a database of about 120 rural properties, most of which are owned by artisan food producers.
"You can park for one night in your motorhome and there's an expectation you will buy something from your host. It's a win win so it's not just free camping."
Hammonds said her hosts did not fall under the Camping Ground Regulations.
They state that anyone requesting a donation or charging a fee for more than one vehicle to stay overnight has to register the site with the local council as a camping ground.
My 5 Star Driveway also gets around the regulations by catering for only one motorhome or camper van at a time.
It was set up by Christchurch's Banbury family who hire out their driveway in the seaside suburb of Sumner for $35 a night.
Their website currently has five driveways ranging in price from $20 to $35 depending on the facilities provided.
Marketing manager Rai Banbury said they had 30 driveways listed last summer, and they were talking to Jucy campervan rentals about providing a network of driveways throughout the country for the 2017 Lion's tour.
Banbury said homeowners paid $90 annually for their listing and guests got a lot more than a legal secure parking space.
"It's being able to talk to their host to find out where's the best coffee shop, the best place to have dinner, and really get an insider's view of the area they are in.
"We have a lady in Heathcote where you can pay an extra $20 and she will cook you a traditional lamb roast."
Tourism Holdings has the largest motor home and camper van fleet in the country and chief executive Grant Webster also chairs Tourism Industry Aotearoa.
He said private property stays were worth exploring in peak season provided they met legislative requirements, but most travellers wanted to get out into the countryside, rather than stay in cities.