Freedom Camping Control Bylaw & Arrowtown-Lake Hayes Reserve Management Plan Proposed Amendments

Submissions on this proposal are now closed.  

You can read all public submissions made by clicking here.



Queenstown Lakes District is a significant tourist destination and home to approximately 30,000 residents. There has been significant growth in our community and in the number of visitors to our district, which includes an increase in the number of freedom campers. Freedom camping numbers have increased dramatically in the past two years specifically at the Shotover Delta and Lake Hayes Reserves. This has resulted in excessive overcrowding, restricted public access and enjoyment of the reserves and public health issues resulting from human waste. Queenstown Lakes District Council (Council) has received many complaints from the public about freedom camping particularly in these two locations. 

The current bylaw permits freedom camping at Lake Hayes and on the Shotover Delta. For Lakes Hayes, the current Arrowtown-Lake Hayes Reserve Management Plan 2013 (Lake Hayes RMP), permits a limited form of freedom camping. Freedom camping at Shotover Delta, which does not have a Reserve Management Plan (RMP) is permitted for two nights under the current bylaw (however it is subject to a prohibition under the Reserves Act 1977, which is not enforced).

In February 2018, Council resolved to install lockable gates to restrict vehicle access to the Lake Hayes and Shotover Delta reserves as a ‘temporary’ measure to address the issues associated with freedom camping. This was a short term solution to address the urgent issues at these two locations, while the Council developed a long term Responsible Camping Strategy that will consider all forms of camping across the district e.g. freedom camping, paid camping.



In response to the immediate issues at Lake Hayes Reserve and the Shotover Delta until the outcomes of the Responsible Camping Strategy are known, Council is proposing that: 

  1. The current Freedom Camping Bylaw should be amended by updating the maps to include the Lake Hayes Reserve and the Shotover Delta reserve in the areas where freedom camping is prohibited; and
  2. The Lake Hayes RMP be amended by amending policy 17.1 as follows: 17.1 Freedom Camping is permitted in the Reserve only to the extent allowed in Council’s Freedom Camping Bylaw
  3. Policy 17.2 of the Lake Hayes RMP should be deleted 


What happens next?

Submissions will be heard by a subcommittee of Councillors (to be confirmed) from 20 – 24 September 2018, followed by Council considering the outcome of the consultation process and making an appropriate decision on 25 October 2018.


Relevant documents