The boundary for freedom campers on Mt Aspiring Rd, Wanaka,
has been moved further from Wanaka. Photo by Mark Price.
The push to educate camper-van users about the rules of
freedom camping in New Zealand has been applauded by Wanaka Top
10 Holiday Park lessee Patrick Perkins.
Earlier this month, Mr Perkins complained overseas tourists
in camper vans were legally parking on the roadside outside
the gates of his park in Aspiring Rd.
That problem has been addressed by a new Queenstown Lakes
District Council bylaw which has moved the boundaries of some
freedom camping zones further from town centres.
The one in Aspiring Rd is now well west of Mr Perkins' park
and a sign also prohibits freedom camping at nearby Waterfall
''Things are slowly changing for the better,'' Mr Perkins
He was also positive about the efforts of the tourism
industry group New Zealand Responsible Camping Forum set up
to ensure freedom campers behaved more responsibly.
The forum is promoting measures to ensure camper-van users
know local rules.
In a press release this week, chairman Geoff Ensor said
rental-vehicle companies were ''actively recommending'' their
clients stay in holiday parks or designated camping areas.
The message was being reinforced by i-Site staff and camping
The forum was ''especially targeting'' tourists in ''cheap,
privately owned vehicles'' who did not get information from
And for the third consecutive summer, ''responsible camping''
brochures are being handed out on Cook Strait ferries.
Mr Ensor said the forum had noted a marked decrease in
complaints about camper vans.
Mr Perkins said the number of complaints might have dropped
in some areas but ''definitely not for Wanaka''.
''We have probably seen a slight increase, I would think.''
He believed the main problem was with overseas tourists
rather than New Zealanders.
When the council set out its freedom camping strategy in
December 2010, it estimated on most summer nights 50-100
camper vans were parked in rural areas around Queenstown and
Wanaka, with twice that number in the towns.