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Queenstown Lakes Responsible Camping - December 2019

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Camping is the quintessential kiwi holiday, enjoyed by locals and visitors as a way to get together with family and friends and enjoy nature over the summer months. The 2019/2020 season is already upon us and numbers are ramping up as the weather warms and the holidays arrive.

This newsletter is aimed at keeping interested parties up to speed with the plans being put into action, to provide information regarding what is being experienced on the ground over the season, and to provide some statistics as we gather them.

Our experience last year was that most campers are responsible and want to do the right thing and treat our special environment with respect. However, the poor behaviour of a small minority of campers continues to be a cause for concern.

Last summer, Queenstown-Lakes District Council responded to community concerns by restricting overnight camping at Lake Hayes and the Shotover Delta. The Government provided funding (via the Tourism Infrastructure Fund) which allowed us to set up 'Responsible Camping Hubs' where campers could use dump stations, do recycling, drop rubbish, use toilets and have a shower in the knowledge that they were doing this in the correct manner. The positive impact was huge, with communities seeing a big reduction in poor behaviours, less rubbish and human waste in places it shouldn’t be.

This summer we continue to work alongside the Department of Conservation, New Zealand Transport Agency and Land Information New Zealand. We are building on feedback we have received from our communities, and what we learnt last year. We will continue to focus on educating campers on how to enjoy a Responsible Camping holiday in our district and gathering more data about campers in our region.

In line with the Tourism New Zealand strategy, we are working to shift the language from "Freedom" camping to "Responsible" camping and to reinforce our shared commitment to the Tiaki Promise.

The Tiaki Promise is a tourism campaign which provides visitors information on how to behave properly while travelling here this summer. Tiaki means 'to care and protect' in Te Reo Māori and the bilingual campaign gives tips on travelling responsibly while roaming the country. Tips range from not littering and driving safely, to being prepared in the outdoors, protecting nature and respecting culture.

We have integrated the Tiaki Promise into all of our educational signage, our Ambassador inductions and our communications where possible. We encourage you all to help spread the work and promote the Tiaki Promise.

You can find more information and a wide range of resources (including multi-lingual videos, educational videos) here -

What’s happening this summer?

With the help of central government funding, Queenstown-Lakes District Council has a range of initiatives to encourage Responsible Camping in our district and surrounding region.

Resources continue to focus on education of campers, monitoring behaviour and enforcement where required. The number of Enforcement Officers out across the district from November 2019 through to April 2020 has been doubled.

Last year we saw over 14,500 vans through our service hubs, all doing the right thing!

This year we again have two Responsible Camping day hubs operating:

Queenstown Service Hub - Frankton (Hawthorne Drive behind Pak’n’Save)

Open from 10 November 2019 through to 24 April 2020

Hours: 8:00am-8:00pm

Space for 25 (registered self-contained) campervans to park for up to 2 hours

Responsible Camping Ambassadors onsite while open.

Onsite facilities include: toilets, shower block, dump station, dish wash station, free WIFI (for up to 1 hour after completing a survey) and rubbish/recycling disposal stations.

Upper Clutha Service Hub - 101 Ballantyne Road, Wānaka

Open from 10 November 2019 through to 24 April 2020

Hours: 8:00am-8:00pm

Space for 25 (registered self-contained) campervans to park for up to 2 hours

Responsible Camping Ambassadors onsite while open

Onsite facilities will include: toilets, shower block, dump station, dish wash station, free WIFI (for up to 1 hour after completing survey) and rubbish/recycling disposal stations.

The service hubs are monitored daily by the Responsible Camping Ambassadors and a security company after hours. This year we have four dedicated vehicles for our Ambassadors to get around the regions and spread the education messages at a range of camping sites.

We have also received additional, separate, Government funding allocated to installation of Exceloo toilets in a number of locations. The roll out of these new facilities is underway and (contractor and weather allowing) will be fully completed by mid to late-December. Toilets are bring installed in Glenorchy, SH6 Kingston, Kingston Domain, Albert Town, and Luggate.

Additional toilets will also be installed at the Lake Hayes reserve in January 2020.

Responsible Camping Ambassadors

Queenstown-Lakes District Council has engaged 16 Responsible Camping Ambassadors who will be working from November through to April 2020. The Ambassadors are roaming the district acting as the friendly face of camping for our district. There will be eight based in the Wakatipu area and eight in the Upper Clutha.

The Ambassadors' focus will be to educate campers, monitoring the hubs and trouble spots and assisting the enforcement officers as required. This includes providing information to campervans that are not self-contained and need to be directed to serviced campgrounds.

While talking to campers about "do’s and don’ts" the Ambassadors are tasked with promoting local businesses that provide commercial camping grounds or holiday parks, distributing leaflets and other sources of information to campers and commercial businesses and conducting surveys.

You can check out our new leaflets here:

The By-law, Signage and Information

The Freedom Camping Act 2011 (FCA) allows freedom camping anywhere in a local authority area that a local authority has control over, except at those sites where it is specifically prohibited or restricted by that local authority. The Act means that the Council is unable (under law) to prohibit freedom camping across its district and can only control freedom camping on council owned /controlled land.

Queenstown Lakes District Council considered and adopted the Proposed Freedom Camping Bylaw on Thursday 12 December following a consultative procedure and hearings. The bylaw establishes where freedom camping is permitted, restricted or prohibited within the District.

A total of 81 submissions were received during the review process with the majority of submitters supporting (33) or partly supporting (38) the proposed bylaw. The submissions that only partly supported the proposed bylaw, in general, were seeking further restrictions. Eight submitters opposed the proposed bylaw because they wanted a total banning of freedom camping in the District. Eight submissions sought restrictions on freedom camping to be lessened. Two submitters had no opinion.

Of the nineteen submitters who spoke at the hearing, only the New Zealand Motor Caravan Association (NZMCA) wanted freedom camping increased in the district, provided vehicles had fixed toilets. The remaining submitters that were heard were not in favour of freedom camping and generally supported an increase in prohibited areas because of problems such as fires, rubbish, toileting issues and access.

The key changes in the newly adopted bylaw are:

Prohibited areas to include residential areas that have expanded since 2012 including Lake Hāwea, Wānaka, Albert Town, Luggate, Cardrona, Arthurs Point, Jacks Point to Wye Creek, Lake Hayes Estate, Quail Rise, Tuckers Beach, Kingston and Gibbstown Valley.

Prohibited areas also include new residential areas under construction in Hanley’s Farm, Bridesdale Farm, Shotover Country, Coneburn, Hāwea and Frankton Flats.

Prohibited areas also include the road between Queenstown and Glenorchy, and the road between Wānaka Township and Glendhu Bay.

Increased signage and new information boards to further educate non self-contained campers are now in place throughout the region. Real time maps and updates are also available through the popular camping apps such as Campermate.

We are also distributing new education brochures throughout the region.

You will find a range of information on the Queenstown-Lakes District Council website on Responsible Camping in the Queenstown-Lakes District here:

Maps showing where the No Freedom Camping Zones can be found here: QLDC Freedom Camping Maps

Information on Department of Conservation camp sites can be found here: DOC camp sites

What do I do if I witness poor camping behaviour?

Certified self-contained campers are allowed to camp on the side of the road outside of the signposted 'no camping zones'.

Certified self-contained campers will have the below warrant card displayed on their front left windscreen:

We're working hard to encourage Responsible Camping. Please report any illegal camping or poor behaviour to the Council immediately, by phoning 03 441 0499 or 03 443 0024.

If you have any other questions regarding the management of camping this summer, please get in touch via

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