Adventure travellers have long looked to Queenstown in New Zealand as the ideal place for unwinding and relaxing in an untouched natural environment. While many people will pitch tents along a hiking trail, Queenstown is lucky enough to have a plethora of holiday campsites and parks for tourists and explorers to take advantage of. If you are travelling with a tent, campervan, motorhome or caravan, then you’ll enjoy the camping facilities available in Queenstown. Most of them will offer laundry facilities, Internet and shared kitchens. Some of the campsites and parks will even have lounge facilities and playgrounds for children.

If you opt for a less-modern camping experience, the Queenstown website has a multitude of suggestions for where to camp and a few suggestions to make sure your camping experience is a happy and responsible one. Below you’ll find a few key tips on freedom camping in Queenstown and answers to common questions to make sure your time spent camping goes smoothly.

Who can freedom camp?

If you are travelling in a fully-contained campervan or motorhome (namely a vehicle with a toilet, wastewater tank and rubbish facilities onboard) then you are allowed to camp overnight for free on public land throughout the Queenstown region. Just keep an eye out for a signpost stating otherwise, and if they are in the area, be sure to read the sign carefully and adjust your camping spot accordingly.

In return for the free camping sites, the Queenstown government requests that you:

  • Camp away from the region’s town centres and residential areas.
  • Dispose of your wastewater at any of the regional motorhome dump stations
  • Only dispose of your rubbish in the bins provided within town centres or at the Council transfer stations
  • Do not light any fires
  • Leave the area just as you found it—sans litter or damage.
  • Stay a maximum of two nights

Who cannot freedom camp?

If your motorhome or campervan is not self-contained then you cannot freedom camp anywhere in the Queenstown and Southern Lakes District. Instead, take a look at holiday parks, camping grounds or parks with campsites available.

Even if your vehicle is self-contained you are not allowed to park it within town centres or residential areas as it is likely to result in a parking infringement notice and a hefty monetary fine. Your best bet is to find public land outside town to settle on for the night.

Remember, freedom camping without a self-contained campervan or motorhome will result in an instant $200 fine.

Where can I camp?

If you don’t want to freedom camp and prefer a campsite to set up your gear, look into any of the wide variety of campsites, holiday parks and moreavailable in Queenstown to see if they fit into your holiday plans. They are often low-cost and have accommodations you would never get freedom camping.

What about waste disposal?

As mentioned above, if you are freedom camping, you are fully responsible for getting rid of your waste. Thankfully there at least five different dump stations that can help you out. Here is a list of those spots with a link to their locations for more information about waste disposal during your camping holiday:

  • Wanaka Showgrounds, corner of Brownston and Mcdougall Street
  • Arrowtown - Corner of Wiltshire Street and Ramshaw Lane
  • Lakeview Holiday Park, 6 Cemetery Road, Queenstown
  • BP Service Station, Frankton Road, State Highway 6
  • Dump Stations throughout New Zealand outside Queenstown Lakes District

Is there an app to help me remember all this info?

Yes. CamperMate is a great app to help you get locations of public toilets, rubbish bins, campsites, free wifi, supermarkets and much more. Available for iOS and Android, CamperMate is the ideal free travel app because it’s the only app that shows you nearby locations of everything you’ll need when travelling in a campervan from petrol stations to dump stations.

As a town that is dedicated to conserving the environment, following Queenstown’s simple rules and guidelines for responsible camping could lead to you waking up, looking out of your tent and seeing the majestic mountains of Queenstown from inside your sleeping bag. Not much can beat that feeling. Rest easy knowing your camping holiday is protected from the elements and the unexpected with an adventure travel policy from Cover-More Travel Insurance.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Lawrence Murray.