We will be spending a month on New Zealand in February and we're trying to figure out the concept of freedom camping but the information available is very conflicting. We are from Sweden and when hiking we are used to be able to put up our tent (or just sleep under the stars if the weather/insects allow, they seldom do, though...) whenever we find a pretty spot but we realize it doesn't work like that everywhere. Camper vans/caravans or huts/camp sites is not really camping to us so our ideal trip would be to drive around and stay at different B&B:s and then do a couple of 2-4 day hikes every now and then but we don't know if that is possible in New Zealand. So:
1) Are we allowed to put up a tent if we stay away from roads/private property etc? Are there special restrictions in e.g. national parks? Obviously we are very responsible campers (=leave no rubbish, if there are no toilet facilities dig a hole for human waste and use biodegradable paper, no fire etc)
2) Is it possible/safe to park our rental car at the starting point of the hike?
Could anyone explain how it works? Thanks!