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A New Zealand road trip is one of the trips everyone should take at least once. You don’t need any fancy planning to make it happen either. Instead, you just need a few of the best camping New Zealand apps, and you can make the rest up as you go!
The beauty of technology these days is you can easily skip the expensive GPS and navigate your whole way via your mobile phone. Travel gadgets are evolving to the point where we often just need one to fill the function of several compared to the past.
We have put together our list of essential New Zealand camping apps to download before you leave home!
THE ESSENTIAL CAMPING APPS FOR NEW ZEALAND TRAVEL
Each of the NZ travel apps we share is free to download. They are all available in the Apple store and should also be available on android operating systems also.
We recommend downloading the apps before you leave home so that you don’t have any issues with finding wifi to connect to once you arrive.
After all, you want to be on your way to exploring New Zealand quickly!
While most of the apps can be used without a Wifi or 3G connection, with offline features, some will only work when you are connected.
The ones that do work offline may also have features that work only while connected too.
For this reason, you may wish to consider a roaming wifi hotspot service such as SKYROAM, which will keep you connected wherever you are.
1. Campermate App
If you want just one app for camping New Zealand, Campermate is our top recommendation! This app for finding campsites and facilities was the most comprehensive!
Campermate pretty much has everything you need for staying off the grid or getting back on it when you need to refuel, recharge or stock up. It covers all the essential services and information you will need when taking a campervan or tent holiday around New Zealand.
The Campermate App NZ includes the following:
- Dump stations
- Things to do
- Food & drink
- Campervan day parking
- EV charging stations
- Road warnings
- Public toilets
- Petrol stations
- Information centres
- Emergency services, police and hospitals
- Rubbish and recycling bins
- Public showers
- Water refill stations
- Gas bottle refills
You can filter by a specific thing you are looking for, or you can view everything in the area.
The app can be used offline too, so while some features and latest deals may not show up, you can still search when you don’t have wifi or 3G, so long as you have previously loaded the map while connected.
There is also a feature to allow you to download offline maps too, which is perfect if you are completely off the grid and won’t be connecting to any telecommunication services for a day or two. Very handy on the West Coast when there is very minimal coverage!
When looking for campsites, you can filter by self-contained and non self-contained.
The listings are then colour coded – green for free campsites, blue for low cost and green for higher cost campgrounds.
This is a fantastic free camping app for New Zealand and Australia camping trips.
2. Campable App
Campable is a campground search app for private-owned camping sites.
This means they only show paid campsites and each of the listings only appears as they have paid a fee to be featured on the app.
The Campable campsites are mostly private properties, whether they be within someone’s yard or on a block of land they own in a scenic location.
You can search the app for self-contained, non self-contained or tent sites and they will let you know the type of vehicles they can allow.
We used Campable only once during our trip, for a private property right on Lake Tekapo. It had nothing and was a little tricky to get to, however, the location was pretty amazing!
If you sign up to Campable, they will send you vouchers to spend on your first 2 bookings too. It may only be $5NZ however it is a nice saving if you do use the app.
In many cases you can find and book plus pay via the Campable app, making it convenient. However, in saying this, we used this app the least during our trip.
3. Rankers NZ App
Rankers NZ app was our second favourite camping app. While most of what they featured also showed up on Campermate, there were a few campgrounds we found via Rankers that did not appear in the other apps. For this reason, having both free apps is a great idea!
Rankers NZ app allows you to search for the following:
- Holiday parks
- Self-contained campgrounds
- Non self-contained campgrounds
- DOCs campsites
- Conservation camping
- Free camping
- Tent camping
- Dump stations
- Pets allowed
- Top-ranked activities
- Top-ranked walks
- Visitor centres
- Petrol stations
- LPG refills
- Free wifi
- Penguins, seals etc
- Top-ranked playgrounds
The listings on Rankers are mostly community submitted and rated so it will give you an idea of the quality of a campsite or attraction based on the rating percentage. This simply means users submit their own photos, tips and reviews to the platform.
For example, a place rated 58% is probably not a great option, but check the actual reviews too and see what other campers had to say.
We used the ratings features a lot to decide between campgrounds and also avoided a few that were no longer there from recent comments other campers had left.
Rankers NZ app is great if you are wanting to stay at the Department of Conservation campgrounds.
These are usually relatively cheap campgrounds that are approved by the New Zealand government. Many are quite basic but some do have basic facilities such as toilets and bins.
What is the best New Zealand Camping App?
We recommend downloading all 3 of the apps mentioned above as they all offer useful resources.
They each allow community reviews for every campsite, dump station and other service listed.
This helps you to choose a suitable option for your trip.This can help you avoid anything really awful but also gives you a heads up if somewhere has recently closed or flooded.
It would be awful to drive an hour of the way to find no campground only to turn around again in an attempt to find another!
However, if you are looking for a single free camping App for NZ and want to keep it simple, our top recommendation would be Campermate as it covers the most and had more options listed for each type of search term.
RELATED READING – BEST NZ SOUTH ISLAND CAMPSITES
Other Useful Apps for Camping in New Zealand
4. Google Maps
Most of us already have an inbuilt GPS or map app on our mobile phones. For us, we already had Apple maps, which was fine, but Google maps was better.
There were places we were attempting to locate, such as off the beaten track recommendations from a guidebook that did not show up on our campervan GPS or apple maps. They did show up on Google Maps though.
In fact, apple maps caused us to take an extra hour or more when visiting the Snow Farm NZ because it completely miscalculated the location and led us elsewhere. Urgh!
Google maps were always spot on!
You can download maps for use offline later if you are likely to have poor coverage.
5. Track My Tour
This one is a fun travel app to help you keep track of your travel, where you stay and what you do during your trip. Track My Tour allows you to add accommodation, points of interest and other things you do and maps out your itinerary on a map.
This was useful for us when wanting to put together posts like our complete South Island itinerary so that we didn’t forget any of the amazing things we did or meals we ate.
6. XE Currency
Travelling internationally means keeping track of your travel budget and making sure you don’t overspend! New Zealand is expensive.
There is no doubt about it! The cost of living is high, so having a currency conversion app can help you stay on top of your finances.
This app allows you to compare local currency values with several different international currencies, which is perfect if you are doing a multi-destination holiday! It also tells you the current approximate exchange rate too, so you can monitor changes.
Definitely a great tool to have on your phone!
7. Weather NZ App
You probably already have a weather app on your phone, which is great. Add the main cities in New Zealand you are planning to travel through so you can keep track of the weather.
While this is less important in the warmer months, it can still be really helpful for planning ahead. In winter, it’s a must so you can be aware of snowfall and extreme weather conditions.
If you know there is snow or heavy rain, you can keep an eye on the New Zealand roads website for road closures or warnings. Safety first!
Optional Free Apps For Entertainment
When you are packing light for a campervan or camping trip, there’s only so much entertainment you can bring for you or the kids. This is where a few of our favourite entertainment apps were great.
We were lucky enough to have Bluetooth in our Wilderness Campervan, so we could listen to our favourite music on Spotify, or listen along to an audiobook via Audible.
I am also a big fan of podcasts, so popping in my earphones during some downtime was a welcome activity.
RELATED READING – CAMPERVAN COOKING TIPS
If you are camping with kids and have wifi during your travel, Netflix on a phone or tablet can be a good one too. And there’s a great hack in case you don’t have wifi!
You can download movies, tv shows and documentaries off Netflix and watch them later when you aren’t connected!! They expire after a month. So before you leave home, download a heap of programs and movies for you and the kids to watch during bad weather days or evening wind downs.
Here are our favourite entertainment apps:
- Podcast App
So those are our top recommendations for apps for New Zealand travel to help you plan your adventure on the road and make your life easier. The best part is they are all completely free to download and use!
For a complete breakdown on the cost of travel in New Zealand, check out our South Island campervan trip expenses.
Staying connected on the road
We were lucky enough to be travelling in a luxury campervan during our New Zealand road trip and we had unlimited wifi.
This was great because it meant we could research and plan our days as we went, changing it up as much as we liked and keeping things flexible.
This also meant happy kids who could watch a favourite show before bed sometimes and of course, it allowed us to stay connected to family and friends and to our travel community.
There are many different options that will allow you to have an internet connection for your time in New Zealand. You could use a local pre-paid sim card, which works fine if you have a suitable phone that is not locked to your network back home.
Or you could use a mobile roaming internet device as we mentioned above, such as SKYROAM. The best thing about Skyroam is once you have your device, you can use it again on future trips and just pay for the data you need. A great investment if you enjoy frequent travel!
The Best Free Camping App For NZ
In Summary, by far Campermate was our favourite app.
It had the most details, most up-to-date and helped us not only find free camping sites and paid camping sites, it also helped us know where to find a dump site, petrol, gas and even simple things like attractions nearby.
This is a fantastic free camping app for New Zealand and you can’t go wrong!
We would recommend getting Rankers NZ and Google Maps as well and making use of the offline maps downloads options if you are likely to go out of reception zones.
Heading to NZ soon? Check out our ultimate guide to what to pack for New Zealand for adults & kids.
Time to start your epic New Zealand camping adventure with these camping New Zealand apps to help you along!! You won’t want to leave…
More resources to plan your motorhome road trip: