Camping in the Lake District

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

Camping Lake DistrictThe 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.

Queenstown

Arrowtown

Glenorchy

Kingston

Wānaka

Luggate

Hāwea

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.

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