Camping in Wanaka; A Gateway to Adventure

Known for its turquoise lakes, snow-capped peaks and magnificent sceneries, Wanaka is situated on New Zealand's South Island only an hour away from the city of Queenstown. Sitting at the fringe of Mt. Aspiring National Park with two ski resorts nearby, Wanaka has become a popular holiday destination lately. Whether you are a backpacker, solo traveller or a family, Wanaka has something to offer to everyone, and camping in Wanaka is sure to get your hearts racing. 

Why Should You Go Camping in Wanaka?

The pristine natural beauty and friendly vibes of the region make camping in Wanaka the perfect outdoor destination. With the backdrop of the Southern Alps, Wanaka is a picture-perfect location, one of the best places people can hope to camp at. Pullover your campervan or pitch a tent and watch the sun-set behind the mountains.

About Camping in Wanaka

Wanaka offers budget-friendly housing facilities for couples, groups and families. Holiday parks offer pitches for tents, powered sites to cabins and motels and many other facilities of higher quality like kitchen, laundry rooms, toilets, dump station, wi-fi etc.

The DOC provides camping space with basic facilities like water supply and toilets. Freedom camping is not allowed in Wanaka under the Queenstown Lakes District Council Bylaw. If anyone is caught in a vehicle camping overnight a fine of $ 200 is charged. 

The Best Spots for Camping in Wanaka:

  • Glendhu Bay Lakeside Holiday Park: Enjoy the breath-taking view of the Lake Wanaka while you camp in this holiday park. Situated close to the Mt. Aspiring National Park and right on the shores of the Lake Wanaka, this holiday park allows you to set up a tent or park your caravan or stay in their lodge facility.
Powered Campsite: NZD 20                        
Standard Cabin: NZD 75                     
Lodge Room: NZD 100
Mt. Aspiring National Park
Mt. Aspiring Holiday Park

  • Mount Aspiring Holiday Park: Only 2.5 kilometres away from Wanaka township, this holiday park offers affordable accommodations for all budgets. From powered and non-powered sites to cabins and self-contained units, a stay here will make you feel comfortable as ever. Spread across 10 acres of land, it has a swimming pool with a three-lane water slide, a spa and a play area for children to help you rejuvenate.    
        Costs: NZD 40 to NZD 200 according to the accommodation and season.
The mesmerising Lake Hawea
The mesmerising Lake Hawea

  • The Camp - Lake Hawea: Offering a range of facilities and accommodations, The Camp - Lake Hawea is one of New Zealand's treasures. Relax by the lakeside and enjoy the picturesque scenery while staying at their tents, cabins or luxurious glamping. Relish their on-site food truck open on weekends along with the other fun activities at the camp.

Tent Site: 
01 October- 30 April: From NZD 20 per night, 01 May – 30 September: From NZD 15 per night.                       

Powered Site:
 01 October- 30 April: From NZD 22 per night, 01 May – 30 September: From NZD 19 per night.                       

Cabins: 01 October- 30 April: From NZD 44 per night, 01 May – 30 September: From NZD 40 per night                       

NZD 100 per night
  • DOC Boundary Creek Campsite: A Department of Conservation (DOC) campsite located on the shores of Lake Wanaka, it is an easily accessible site in the Otago region of Wanaka. Water sports like water skiing, motor boating and fishing make it a popular campsite.
        Costs: NZD 8 per night.
  • Lake Outlet Holiday Park: Set against the beautiful backdrop of Lake Wanaka and at the mouth of Clutha River, this holiday park is the quintessential camping site that one expects. It is famous for activities like mountain biking, fly-fishing, tramping and boating. 
        Costs: NZD 16 to NZD 250.

Things to Know While Camping in Wanaka

  • How to Get Around: 

  1. Walking: Wanaka is a pedestrian-friendly place where you can comfortably walk everywhere within the town.
  2. Intercity Bus: Intercity bus fares are quite reasonable with daily services. Fares to some common places are - Queenstown (from NZD 24, two hours), Lake Hawea (from NZD 29, ten minutes).
  3. Taxis: Taxi rates are metered in Wanaka. Rates begin at NZD 3 and cost NZD 1.73 for every mile covered thereafter.
  4. Car Rentals: Hirequip, Rent A Car and Adventure Car Rentals are some common car rental companies in Wanaka. A standard car will cost NZD 113.30.
  5. Hitchhiking: One of the common ways to get around Wanaka, hitchhiking is easy as many people can offer you a ride. Although staying alert and safe while hitchhiking is important.
  • Food: Although most camping sites provide food facilities, it is always better to have a backup option. Francesca's Italian Kitchen is quite famous in Wanaka for its Italian cuisine. Basic cost for food is around NZD 20 - NZD 25 per meal.

  • Although Wanaka is very safe, in case of an emergency call 111.

  • 'No Trace Camping' Rule: It is vital that you keep the surrounding clean while camping. Always dispose of your waste properly, use public toilets and leave no trace after you have left the site. In New Zealand’s culture, people take the “Tiaki Promise” and commit to act as a guardian of nature, protecting and preserving it.

  • Should I book campsites in advance? : It is always advised to plan your trip and book the campsite you wish to stay in advance to avoid last-minute hurry, especially in peak season. Even in non-peak season, pre-booking the campsite will ease you of the stress and help you save money too!

Best Time to Visit for Camping in Wanaka

Although anytime is best to visit Wanaka, it is most crowded in March, June and July. It is best to visit in November during spring when there isn’t much crowd. You can do all sports activities like a mountain bike, hiking and especially rafting comfortably during this time. You can even save money by visiting during the non-peak season. 

What to Pack for Camping in Wanaka?

Most campsites provide necessary facilities like water supply, toilets and food, it is always a good idea to pack your essentials. Below is a handy camping checklist so that you do not forget anything important:
  • 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 
  • First-Aid Box
  • Maps
  • Utility knife
  • Camera/memory cards
  • Bins/Waste disposal Bags
  • Tent repair kit
  • Other miscellaneous items
Wanaka will not fail your desire for adventure and camping in Wanaka and will give you a bag full of memories to cherish!

This post was published by Vidushi Nigam

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