Do you guys know how bike camping New Zealand is in general? I am hoping to go down there at some point, and have my heart set on bike touring while I'm down there. My funds are limited though, so I was thinking of camping it while I'm down there if possible. I'm looking for information on the legality of camping on crown land in NZ. I have had one friend tell me it is against the law to do so, but I can't find any information one way or the other.
Camping in NZ is great, most small/medium size towns have Motor Camps which have camping sites for relativly few $, most Motor Camps also have communal kitchens/dining rooms, so the need for a stove is minimal. Bush camping is allowed on DOC (Dept of Conservation) land usually very primitive campsites, drop toilet and water tap. http://www.doc.govt.nz/index.html
Camping at campgrounds in New Zealand is awesome. The communal kitchens are awesome, no need for a stove. They also have tables to eat at, so you can get to know other campers at the site. In addition. many campgrounds have computers with internet access for a nominal fee. You can check email and the weather. I don't know about camping on DOC land. And the cycling in NZ is some of the best in the world!! Very rural, great scenery, considerate motorists.
Camping is a very popular activity in New Zealand. DOC and private campgrounds are everywhere. There are also a heap of regional parks administered by various regional councils. Check http://www.arc.govt.nz/ for some in the Auckland region as an example.
Unfortunately, New Zealand has fewer and fewer private camping grounds all the time, as they are brought up and turned into luxury housing (especially the beachfront ones). But the ones that remain usually have full kitchen facilities and are generally of a high standard. Watch out for campgrounds in urban centers though - some are what you would call a trailer park.
Stealth camping is also tolerated as long as you are tidy and minimize impact. At worst, you will get frowned upon by a ranger, but the ranger will also be happy that you are warm and well fed rather than hypothermic and the subject of a search and rescue mission.
Don't forget to ask a local or farmer. You will likely get a spot of lawn to camp on, but may also get a full dinner, breakfast and a hot shower if the story of your tour so far is entertaining enough...