The Lake District, is a very popular place to visit on the South Island, also one of the most restricted places to find a camping spot to stay.
Queenstown is the ‘Adventure Capital’ of New Zealand: the original Bungy-jump, Skydive, Wild Water Rafting and Jet Boating. It is also one of the few places with a sort of ‘night-life’ with clubs and bars.
In addition to the famous resort town of Queenstown, the town also includes Wanaka in the northeast, Glenorchy in the northwest and Kingston in the south.
Not a party goer or thrill seeker? Parts of the ‘Lord of the Rings’ are filmed amid the mountains, lakes, rivers, and forests and Queenstown is the gateway to the Milford Sound, Fiordland.
No Freedom, Wild camping in the lake district
The combination of thrill seeking and night-life attracts a huge number of young travellers. You can imagine that in summer there is an invasion of backpackers and campervans, all seeking the perfect spot to stay the night.
Unfortunately, the Lake District is not that keen on freedom or wild camping…
Under Queenstown Lakes District Council By-law, you are not allowed to just ‘park-up’ in an occupied vehicle overnight at any public place in any town. This may sound gruff, but having seen situations ourselves, we can understand the feelings of the locals.
Being ‘laid-back New Zealand’ you will be asked to relocate to a designated camping area (and yes, they do charge to stay) before you get fined, $200 on the spot, how long can stay on a camping ground for that!
Campsites in the lake district
Freedom or Wild camping is out of the question in the Lake District. There are many places you can camp, ranging from fully serviced holiday parks to DOC (Department of Conservation) campsites.
- Top 10 Holiday Park | 70 Arthurs Point, Queenstown
- Driftaway Queenstown | 11 Lake Avenue, Frankton
- Lakeview Holiday Park | 4 Cemetery Road, Central Queenstown
- Queenstown Holiday Park Creeksyde | 54 Robins Road, Central Queenstown
- Twelve Mile Delta Conservation Campsite | Queenstown-Glenorchy Road, Mt Creighton
- Moke Lake Conservation Campsite | Moke Lake Road
- Camp Glenorchy/Mrs Woolly’s Campground | 60 Oban Street, Glenorchy, Queenstown
- Lake Sylvan Conservation Campsite
- Kinloch Conservation Campsite | 876 Kinlock Road, Glenorchy
- Glendhu Bay Motor Camp | 1127 Mt Aspiring Road, Glendhu Bay, Wānaka
- Lake Outlet Holiday Park | 197 Outlet Road, Wānaka
- Wanaka Kiwi Holiday Park & Motels | 263 Studholme Road North, Wānaka
- Mt Aspiring Holiday Park | 217 Wanaka-Mt Aspiring Road, Wānaka
- Wanaka Lakeview Holiday Park | 212 Brownston Street, Wānaka
- Albert Town Campground | Albert Town, Wānaka
- Lake Hāwea Holiday Park | State Highway 6, Lake Hāwea, Wānaka
- Lake Hāwea Hotel Campervan Park | 1 Capell Ave, Lake Wānaka
- Kidds Bush Reserve Conservation Campsite | Meads Road, Hunter Valley
- Makarora Country Cafe
- Cameron Flat Conservation Campsite | Haast Pass-Makarora Road, Makarora
- Pleasant Flat Conservation Campsite | 4889 Haast Pass-Makarora Road, Makarora
- Boundary Creek Reserve Conservation Campsite | Makarora-Lake Hawea Road, Makarora
- Wonderland Lodge | 5944 Haast Pass-Makarora Road, Makarora
Frequently asked questions
Can you wild camp in Lake District?
NO, that is the short answer. Under Queenstown Lakes District Council By-law, you are not allowed to just ‘park-up’ in an occupied vehicle overnight at any public place in any town.
Where can I pitch a tent in the Lake District?
NOWHERE! Under Queenstown Lakes District Council By-law, you are not allowed to just ‘park-up’ in an occupied vehicle overnight at any public place in any town.
Which campsites in the Lake District have electric hook-ups?
All commercial campgrounds have electric hook-ups. DOC does not have powered sites.