Dunedin's freedom camping season officially starts today and it comes with a boost of almost $150,000 of central government funding.
The Dunedin City Council successfully applied to the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment for $140,000 of funding to employ three community rangers, increase security patrols and to offer temporary toilets.
The council's acting parks and recreation manager Scott MacLean said it was unclear how busy this season would be due to the lack of international tourists amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
"We're waiting to see what freedom camping looks like this year but so far, visitor numbers have been average to above average. At this stage, we're not sure how the season will shape up," he said.
Freedom campers could stay at three sites across the city - Thomas Burns carpark in central Dunedin, Warrington Domain north of the city and Ocean View south of the city.
Self-contained vehicles also had access to the Brighton Domain and most road reserves throughout the city.
MacLean said Thomas Burns was Dunedin's most popular site last season and was successful in relieving the pressure of growing freedom camping numbers at Warrington and Ocean View.
The community rangers would visit freedom campsites this season and patrol further afield to areas such as Waikouaiti.
The joint Dunedin City Council and Department of Conservation community ranger initiative would run until the end of April.
As well as monitoring and informing people about freedom camping, they would ensure vehicles stay off beaches, especially Tomahawk and Waikouaiti.