Summer Camping FAQs

  1. How do I find available campgrounds?
  2. What is a Service Hub?
  3. Where are the Service Hubs located?
  4. When are the Service Hubs open?
  5. How long can you stay in a Service Hub?
  6. Can you stay overnight in a Service Hub?
  7. I need to use a toilet/shower. What should I do?
  8. I have rubbish and recycling that I need to dispose of. What should I do?
  9. I have laundry to do. What should I do?
  10. I have toilet waste. What should I do?
  11. Where are the local dump stations?
  12. Where else can I responsibly dump rubbish/recycling other than the hubs?
  13. Where else can I find toilet facilities / laundry facilities / shower facilities other than the hubs?
  14. What does the ZONE signage mean?
  15. What is the difference between Freedom Camping and Responsible Camping?
  16. Where am I allowed to Freedom Camp?
  17. Where am I not allowed to Freedom Camp?
  18. My vehicle isn't self-contained. Where can I go?
  19. My vehicle has a sticker on the back saying it’s self-contained. I assume that’s all the proof I need to be compliant with the law?
  20. What can I do to camp more responsibly?
  21. What happens if I break the law?
  22. How big are the fines?
  23. What is QLDC doing to help people be responsible?
  24. What do I do if I get clamped?
  25. Someone is camping where they shouldn’t be. What do I do?
  26. Why do you have these initiatives in place?
  27. What’s the difference between camping ambassadors and enforcement officers?
  28. Why aren’t you doing anything about all the campervans parked along the Wānaka lakefront?
  29. How come people are still camping at the areas used as an overnight hub last summer? Are they allowed to do that?
  30. Are you still monitoring those sites to make sure the people staying there are camping responsibly?
  31. Why are you suggesting a donation at the Service Hubs? What will that money be used for?
  32. What is the survey information I provide being used for?
  33. Can you ban all Freedom Camping?
  34. If campers can't stay in a Service Hub overnight, won't they just park up illegally?
  35. Why can't you spend that $788,000 on something else?
  36. Why are we the only country to allow camping for free?
  37. Why don’t all campers have to stay in a campground?
  38. Why are the rules different in different areas of New Zealand?

General FAQs

1. How do I find available campgrounds?

You can find available campgrounds on the Campermate website or app, our Responsible Camping page and on the Tourism NZ website.

2. What is a Service Hub?

Service Hubs are a pit stop for certified self-contained campervans. Services available include toilets, showers, a dump station, waste removal, and Wi-Fi for one hour for responsible campers.  Campers are limited to two hours stay, and Service Hubs are open from 8.00am to 8.00pm from 10 November 2019 through to April 25 2020.

3. Where are the Service Hubs located?

We have two Service Hubs available, one in Queenstown and one in Wānaka:

  • Queenstown - Hawthorne Drive, behind the Pak ‘n’ Save Supermarket
  • Wānaka - 101 Ballantyne Rd, near the Wānaka Recreation Centre.

Check them out on Campermate.

4. When are the Service Hubs open?

8.00am – 8.00pm, seven days a week.

5. How long can you stay in a Service Hub?

Two hours maximum, no overnight stays permitted.

6. Can you stay overnight in a Service Hub?

No. Campers must stay at designated camping spots; Ambassadors at our Service Hubs can assist campers in finding these.

7. I need to use a toilet/shower. What should I do?

Campermate is a great source of locating services such as toilets and showers. If your vehicle is Certified Self-Contained, you should have your own toilet on board!

8. I have rubbish and recycling that I need to dispose of. What should I do?

Campermate is a great source of locating services such as rubbish and recycling centres. The Service Hubs in Queenstown or Wānaka have rubbish and recycling disposal services.

9. I have laundry to do. What should I do?

Campermate is a great source of locating services such as laundromats.  If you stay in a registered camping ground, most of these will have their services on a pay-as-you-go basis.

10. I have toilet waste. What should I do?

Campermate is a great source of locating services such as dump stations.  There are public dump stations in Queenstown and Wānaka, and the Service Hubs in Queenstown and Wānaka have dump station removal tanks for Certified Self-Contained campers to use.

11. Where are the local dump stations?

Campermate is a great source of locating services such as dump stations.  There are public dump stations in Queenstown and Wānaka, and the Service Hubs in Queenstown and Wānaka have dump station removal tanks for Certified Self-Contained campers to use.

12. Where else can I responsibly dump rubbish/recycling other than the hubs?

Campermate is a great source of locating services such as rubbish and recycling centres. Both Queenstown and Wānaka have transfer stations which have rubbish and recycling areas.  Dumping of rubbish causing overflowing in town centre bins is not being a responsible camper.

13. Where else can I find toilet facilities / laundry facilities / shower facilities other than the hubs?

Campermate is a great source of locating services such as toilets, laundry, shower, rubbish removal, camping sites and more!


Freedom Camping FAQs

1. What does the ZONE signage mean?

The zone signage informs campers where it is OK and NOT OK to camp in the Queenstown Lakes District – ONLY in Certified Self-Contained vehicles.  Areas where there is no camping allowed are monitored by infringement officers and fines of $200 are given out to vehicles that are not compliant.

2. What is the difference between Freedom Camping and Responsible Camping?

Responsible Camping is an umbrella term for all types of camping which educates campers to camp responsibly by:

  • Ensuring your vehicle is certified self-contained
  • Always using the provided toilets (or your own)
  • Using a designated wastewater dump station for your sewage sink water
  • Using your own facilities for bathing, washing, and toileting to keep our environment clean and pollution free
  • Disposing of your rubbish and recycling in the bins provided or at the transfer stations
  • Always parking in the areas specifically designated for your type of vehicles
  • Freedom Camping is a type of camping – which is restricted in certain areas under the QLDC Freedom Camping Bylaw, ensuring residential areas are free from Freedom Camping and our environment is protected

All of these refer back to the Tiaki Promise – an initiative referring to campers promising to be responsible in and for New Zealand.

3. Where am I allowed to Freedom Camp?

Check out Campermate and the Responsible Camping Map on the QLDC website (under Responsible Camping).

4. Where am I not allowed to Freedom Camp?

The Responsible Camping map on our website (under Responsible Camping) will show you areas in RED where Freedom Camping is prohibited.

5. My vehicle isn't self-contained. Where can I go?

Check out Campermate and go to one of the many camping grounds in the area.

6. My vehicle has a sticker on the back saying it’s self-contained. I assume that’s all the proof I need to be compliant with the law?

No, a Certified Self-Contained vehicle will display a current warrant card on the front left bottom windscreen, which will include the lawful number allowed to sleep in the vehicle.

7. What can I do to camp more responsibly?

Check out our website on Responsible Camping and help us to educate others. Or, speak to an ambassador.

8. What happens if I break the law?

Infringement Officers roam our district specifically targeting non-compliant vehicles; you’re at risk of getting a fine and also a wheel clamp in certain areas.

9. How big are the fines?

Any of the below will result in a $200 infringement being issued:      

  • Freedom camped in an area that prohibits freedom camping
  • Freedom camping in a non-self-contained vehicle
  • Freedom camped in the same area for more than two consecutive nights
  • Freedom camped in breach of consent conditions
  • Freedom camper failed to leave site clean and tidy
  • Freedom camper lit fire at camping site

 

We also have 4 designated areas we see as needing extra protection from the effects of freedom camping. In these locations, a wheel clamp is placed on vehicles which will result in an additional $200 release fee on top of the infringement for freedom camping in a prohibited area. These locations are:

  • Lake Hayes Reserve
  • Wānaka lakefront
  • Shotover Delta
  • Boundary Street carpark

10. What is QLDC doing to help people be responsible?

Educate people to do the right thing via ambassadors, leaflets, signage and more.

11. What do I do if I get clamped?

Pay your fine to release the clamp by following the directions on the ticket.

12. Someone is camping where they shouldn’t be. What do I do?

Call QLDC to report the issue on 03 441 0499 – we provide 24/7 assistance.

13. Why do you have these initiatives in place?

To responsibly protect New Zealand’s unique and beautiful environment. These initiatives also actively support movements like the Tiaki Promise.

14. What’s the difference between camping ambassadors and enforcement officers?

Responsible Camping Ambassadors are tasked with educating campers and collecting data, whereas infringement officers have the ability to enforce fines.

15. Why aren’t you doing anything about all the campervans parked along the Wānaka lakefront?

The Wānaka lakefront has signage installed, and enforcement officers monitor the area.  This is one of the key places for Ambassadors to educate too.

16. How come people are still camping at the areas used as an overnight hub last summer? Are they allowed to do that?

Yes, under various bylaws, reserve acts and NZTA rules, it’s legal for Certified Self-Contained campers to stay for up to two nights in certain locations.

17. Are you still monitoring those sites to make sure the people staying there are camping responsibly?

Responsible Camping Ambassadors will be monitoring and educating campers at these sites.  They also report back to QLDC regularly on the usage.

18. Why are you suggesting a donation at the Service Hubs? What will that money be used for?

The donations at the Service Bubs will go towards two conservation projects – one in Queenstown and one in Wānaka.  It provides campers with an opportunity to give back to our local community.

19. What is the survey information I provide being used for?

For data collection to monitor and forecast trends, for better planning in the coming years.


Background FAQs

1. Can you ban all Freedom Camping?

No, we can’t ban all Freedom Camping, and this is due to government legislation. Each Council adopts different bylaws to combat it as best they feel appropriate in their district. Through projects like this, we also needs to educate campers how to be responsible – they often want to do the right thing but generally don’t know how.

2. If campers can't stay in a Service Hub overnight, won't they just park up illegally?

Ambassadors educate campers on where they can and can’t camp. The information provided by ambassadors will reduce the likelihood of any misunderstandings on our district’s bylaw, and should reduce the number of campers who do end up parking somewhere illegally.

3. Why can't you spend that $788,000 on something else?

QLDC applied for the funding from MBIE via their Tourism Infrastructure Fund, specifically towards the Responsible Camping project. QLDC were successful and must follow strict criteria. New ideas are information are constantly reviewed and discussed to combat any new issues, while working to improve visitor and local experiences.

4. Why are we the only country to allow camping for free?

We’re not. Australia also allows freedom camping, with similar rules and regulations.

5. Why don’t all campers have to stay in a campground?

New Zealand government legislation allows Certified Self-Contained campers to ‘Freedom Camp’ however each district in New Zealand has its own set of bylaws around Freedom Camping.

6. Why are the rules different in different areas of New Zealand?

Councils around New Zealand have their own bylaws (or not) to cope with camping, according to how they feel best addresses Freedom Camping in their district.