On our drive down the coast through Paparoa National Park we discovered that the DOC campsite (Department of Conservation) we were headed for actually was much further away and we wouldn't make it there that night. So we thought we would look for camping signs or perhaps a free place to stay on the side of the road.
We drove past a huge pasteur that led out to the beach and the boys spotted three campervans sitting at the end of a long road, literally parked right on the beach. So we headed down the road to see if people were just surfing or if they were going to be camping on the beach for the night and if we could find a spot for our tent and car.
"Free camping" or "Guerilla Camping" is something that we're pretty big fans of but it happens to be a hot topic issue here in New Zealand on the South Island. Almost everyone on the South Island seems to be a pair or trio of tourists in a campervan with no toilet driving the islands as we are. But they camp on beaches or on pasteurs and they just shit on the land and peace out. To put it plainly. So obviously New Zealanders are getting upset. We've done an excellent job finding and using public toilets and making sure never to litter and to leave our camping spots as we've found them but I can certainly say not everyone follows those rules of conduct.
We discovered three Germans, two Parisians, and a family of Kiwis (from Auckland) all camping out on the beach for the night in their campervans. The kiwis had a huge firepit going with benches made from beach wood (as well as a palm branch bed) and they invited us to cook and chat with them while the sun set over the ocean. It was amazing. Tim drove off in search of water and actually ended up driving across several fields to find this house and ask them for water and it turned out to be the people whose land we were free camping on! They gave Tim water and sent him on his way - but asked him to drive on the driveway.
He returned to the beach just in time for the most gorgeous sunset of the trip and for a dinner of rice, beans, zucchini, onions, garlic, potato, carrots, and broccoli with teriyaki sauce and a big salad for dessert. Yeah we camp in style. We stayed up late eating and talking with everyone and when the family went to sleep, the boys broke out the cigars and we chatted with the Germans about working in New Zealand while enjoying the warmth of our huge fire.