Plenty of views on freedom camping

03:19, Jan 30 2014
Amelie Cuny
Amelie Cuny and Alexander Dessert from France relax at Ngakuta Bay on the Queen Charlotte Drive.

One hundred and sixty people have written to the Marlborough District Council with their thoughts on freedom camping in the region.

Council reserves and amenities manager Rosie Bartlett said the submissions would help to determine whether the Marlborough freedom camping bylaw needed changing.

She said she could not comment on the content of the submissions before they were reviewed by council, but such a large public response showed there was clearly an interest in altering the bylaw.

The current bylaw allowed campers to camp everywhere except for prohibited sites in the region, however they had to be in vehicles, and could not stay in tents.

Some sites were allocated to self-contained campers only and the council could issue fines to campers breaking any regulations.

Since being introduced in 2012, the bylaw had attracted mixed opinions from the public, including many who thought campers left a mess behind them, and took business away from the region.


Freedom campers Alexander Dessert and Amelie Cuny, of France, said they chose freedom camping because it allowed them to be flexible about where they stopped on their nine month trip of New Zealand.

"It's a cheaper way to do it, and also because you can stop wherever you want. When you travel by bus, which is also maybe a cheap way to travel, you can't say: ‘Hey bus driver, stop', to take some pictures," Mr Dessert said.

"We understand that people can get angry when they see people just sleeping anywhere, without a toilet . . . we always stop where there is a toilet because we are not self-contained," he said.

They always took away any rubbish they created, they said, and paid for showers at public pools or had cold showers at beaches.

Mr Dessert said they sometimes went to campgrounds and paid to use their facilities.

The Assets and Services Committee will consider the submissions on February 11.

The Marlborough Express