Camping in Queenstown - Camp Like a Pro!

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Queenstown is likely to be the town where you spend the most amount of money given the range of activities like bungy jumping, gondola rides, hot pools that are available here. Camping is a superb way of cutting down accommodation costs while getting to experience a one of a kind activity. 

About Camping in New Zealand

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The Different Types of Camping in New Zealand:

  • Freedom Camping: It is a great option for those who own a certified self-contained campervan. These vehicles can be parked in designated areas owned privately for a maximum of two nights, while in areas owned by the Department of Conservation for freedom camping have a limit of four nights.
  • Holiday Parks: These are areas that offer pitches for tents and have a range of high-quality facilities like powered sites, thermal pools, laundry rooms, etc. Unsurprisingly, their cost is also high as compared to other options.
  • Department of Conservation(DOC): These campsites are owned by the DOC and have basic and minimal facilities at a very reasonable price, sometimes even free. Tents, campervans, etc. are all allowed to camp on the DOC sites.

Rules Regarding Camping in Queenstown

Queenstown has very strict rules when it comes to freedom camping and is not allowed within the town. For those with certified self-contained vehicles, you have to drive 15 - 20 minutes out of the town to find a free spot. Also, it is required that you put a "self-contained" sticker on the vehicle. DOC campsites can be found just outside Queenstown and are available at low costs. All self-contained vehicles and tents are allowed there. The most convenient option for camping in Queenstown is the holiday parks. Although a little expensive, they provide a lot of good quality facilities. Book these limited and well-sought campgrounds in advance to avoid any problems.

Holiday Parks for Camping in Queenstown:

  1. Queenstown Lakeview Holiday Park

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Located 100 metres away from the city centre and 500 metre-walk away from the shores of Lake Wakatipu, this holiday park is no less than your own home. Having a wide range of facilities and services like kitchen, free wi-fi access, laundry, extensive parking areas, etc. Accommodation facilities include spacious tourist flats, leisure lodges, ensuite studio units and, powered and unpowered camping sites that are serviced by modern amenities. The team at this holiday park ensures that you have a comfortable, relaxing and a memorable stay.
Pricing: NZD 27 - NZD 275
Address: 4 Cemetery Road, Queenstown, 9300.

  2. Creeksyde Queenstown Holiday Park 

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This holiday park is centrally located and is just a four-minute walk from Queenstown’s centre. It takes only 10 minutes to walk and reach the Skyline Gondola and a 20-minute drive to reach The Coronet Peak Ski Field. Accommodation facilities include self-contained motel apartments, lodge rooms with shared bathroom, powered and non-powered sites. Other amenities like kitchen, laundry, free parking, unlimited wi-fi, spa and sauna bath, are also provided. 
Pricing: NZD 45 - NZD 65
Address: 54 Robins Road, Queenstown, 9300.

Sites Allowed for Freedom Camping in Queenstown:

  1. Gibbston Valley

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Travellers without a self-contained vehicle wanting non-restricted freedom camping in Queenstown have only one option - the Gibbston Valley. Located between the Gibbston Back Road and State Highway 6 intersection, it is almost a 30-minute drive away for Queenstown. Due to limited parking space in this small area, it is suggested that staying at paid campsites is better. 
Pricing: Free
Address: The area around Victoria Flats Road.

  2. Kawarau Bridge Car Park

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Famous as a bungy jumping site, Kawarau Park is one of the few freedom camping sites near Queenstown. You can camp here for free if you have a certified self-contained vehicle and enjoy swimming, fishing and kayaking on the Kawarau River. A maximum stay of four nights, between the hours of 5 pm and 9 am is allowed. 
Pricing: Free
Address: Just off State Highway-6 at the Kawarau Bungy Bridge, approximated half an hour away from Queenstown.

Department of Conservation Sites for Camping in Queenstown

  1. Twelve Mile Delta

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Go boating, swimming, fishing and camp on the river delta at the mouth of Twelve-Mile Creek near the banks of Lake Wakatipu. A regenerating forest encircles the campsite so you can also go walking and mountain biking there. Some trivia about the campsite is that it was a location for Ithilien Camp in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Other places worth visiting near this campsite are Crichton Loop Track, Bob's Cove Track and Lake Dispute Track. All self-contained vehicles and tents are allowed to bet set up here.
Pricing: Adult: NZD 15 per night           
            Child: NZD 7.50 per night
Address: 50 Stanley Street, Queenstown, 9300.

  2. Moke Lake Campsite

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This campsite is a beautiful and scenic place beside Lake Wakatipu. You can go boating, swimming, fishing and canoeing on the lake. There is a mountain biking track from Moke Lake to Lake Dispute where you can walk as well as take a bike ride. The camping area is quite open with spectacular views of the valley all around. You will spot many helicopters hovering in the valley and above you as the campsite is part of the local helicopter company's route. There are about fifty non-powered tent sites available for accommodation. 
Pricing: Adult: NZD 15 per night             
            Child: NZD 7.50 per night
Address: Moke Lake, off Glenorchy Road, Queenstown, New Zealand.

What to Pack to go Camping in Queenstown?

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Although holiday parks and DOC campsites have almost all facilities required during a stay, below is a list of things you may require to ensure that you are as comfortable as possible. Camping will feel like a home away from home.

Camping Gear/Checklist

  • Canvas or Dome tent
  • Sleeping Bag and Pillows
  • Sleeping Mats
  • Table and Camping chairs
  • Torches, batteries and chargers
  • Extra ropes, cable ties and pegs
  • Portable fan
  • Extra blankets (for winters)
  • Barbeque or LPG stove
  • Lighters and matchbox
  • Toiletries
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Suitable clothing and footwear according to the season
  • First-Aid Box
  • Maps
  • Utility knife
  • Camera/memory cards
  • Bins/Waste disposal Bags
  • Tent repair kit
  • Other miscellaneous items

This post was published by Vidushi Nigam

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