Devotees of Burton Creek say this holiday haunt has it all -
including the cherry on the top. Lynda van Kempen take a look
a this popular "peaceful", "idyllic" spot with "perfect
Just 2.5 km from Clyde, this camping, swimming, fishing and
picnic spot is on the shores of Lake Dunstan, and it lives up
to its location on Fruitgrowers Rd.
Cherry and plum trees, seedlings from earlier orchards in the
area, are laden with ripening fruit, just a stone's throw
from the camping place.
The place is popular with visitors and locals, and it's
rapidly becoming a favourite of mobile home owners.
Self-contained mobile homes are permitted to camp at Burton
Creek for up to three consecutive nights and there are
usually several in residence.
Across the lake from State Highway 8, the site boasts
expansive views and the barren hills provide a stark contrast
to the teal-blue water. Groups of mature trees are dotted
around the area and provide much-needed shade and shelter
from the heat this time of year, plus magnificent splashes of
colour during autumn.
Ask the visitors what the attraction is, and the same words
crop up again and again - "peaceful","idyllic" and "perfect
Taupo residents Ann and Bruce Watson are regulars, and stay
for at least one night at Burton Creek during their annual
trips to the South Island.
"It's so peaceful beside the lake. You've got the trees here,
and the grass - it's the whole ambience of the place; it's
just got it all, " Mrs Watson said.
"I guess, because we're from Taupo, we enjoy staying by lakes
where we can, and there's not many places you can be right on
the lake edge."
The couple are experienced travellers, having spent almost
two years on the road after they first bought their mobile
They say there are always other mobile homes at Burton Creek
and it feels a "safe" place to camp.
Mr Watson, a retired pharmacist, usually brings his fishing
rod along, although to date, the fish have won the battle.
Fine weather is pretty much guaranteed, and that's another
bonus of the site, they say.
"We've been here in autumn, as well as in summer, and it was
just as appealing in autumn, with all the golden colours, "
Mrs Watson said.
They heard about Burton Creek through the New Zealand Motor
Caravan Association and are happy to recommend it to others.
Dunedin couple Olga and Richard Kitchingman need no
convincing about the site's attractions.
Like the Watsons, they prefer to stay away from traditional
camping grounds - "too many people all around you," Mrs
Retired for 17 years, the couple have travelled all over New
Zealand in their motor home and say Central Otago and the
Mackenzie Country are hard to beat.
"There's always settled weather here and we like the peace
and quiet, " Mrs Kitchingman said.
They have stayed overnight at Burton Creek numerous times,
usually on the way to or from Wanaka.
"We have a couple of days rest here before we go on again.
It's just lovely here; look at it," Mrs Kitchingman says.
As well as more relaxing pastimes, like reading, they also
enjoy hiking around the area.
"Probably we'd have a couple of walks a day up the hills.
There's all sorts of tracks around here. One or two are very
steep - like Mount Everest, so you need a bit of a rest after
that," she said.
The trees provide great shade, a must when the temperature
hits 30degC and above.
"When it gets too hot, we just shift the van under a tree and
then move it out again later, to make sure the solar panel
charges up the battery."
The camping site is flat and being right beside the lake
appeals, as there's usually a bit of a breeze off the water,
the couple say.
Their miniature pinscher Toby is also a fan of the place.
"He doesn't like to miss out ... As soon as he sees us
packing up the van, he gets inside, to make sure we don't
leave him behind."
Burton Creek is also popular with picnickers, swimmers,
boaties, and water sports enthusiasts.
The Holmes family, of Dunedin, are regular users of the
Burton Creek boat ramp and are adamant the area is the best
boating place on Lake Dunstan. Sally and Andrew Holmes say
it's an ideal place to bring their daughters Lydia (10) and
Another group of holidaymakers, the Campbell family, of
Auckland, were equally complimentary about the swimming
inlet, at the end of Fruitgrowers Rd, next to the Dunstan Arm
Rowing Club headquarters, just a short walk from the Burton
Creek camp site.
Motorised boats are banned from the sheltered inlet, which is
surrounded by a beach. It also has a pontoon, anchored in
deeper water, which acts as a magnet for more proficient
Just down the road, right beside the dam, on the Burton Creek
side, keen angler Bruce Smith, of Alexandra, was reeling in a
salmon or two.
"Probably, you shouldn't say this is a good fishing spot;
they're supposed to remain a closely guarded secret," he
"It is unusual for me to have this spot to myself though.
When the salmon are running, in November and December,
there's usually fishermen 10-deep here."
• 2.5km from Clyde
• On the shores of Lake Dunstan
• Camping permitted by self-contained mobile homes only
• Maximum of three consecutive nights' stay
• Has public toilets, boat ramps and swimming inlet
• Described as "peaceful and idyllic" by campers
• Good boating and fishing spot