Overseas visitors Peter Kennedy, his wife Nittaya and their
children Alex (2), Alan (6) and Alyssa (5) stopped at
Butchers Dam, near Alexandra, to go fishing on their
holiday. Mr Kennedy, formerly of Dunedin, believes camping
grounds might be 'pricing themselves off the market'. Photo
by Lynda van Kempen.
People freedom-camping in Central Otago this summer can
expect the enforcement agency to take a harder line, monitoring
camp sites and moving people on.
At a recent Clutha Management Committee meeting, Central
Otago deputy mayor Neil Gillespie said campers at certain
spots, such as south of the Lowburn dog trial grounds, were
''flouting the freedom-camping rules''.
''There still seem to be people who are definitely staying
longer than what's permitted. If you're in a caravan, you
don't put your awning up if you're only there a night or
two,'' he said.
Those breaking the rules were staying outside the designated
areas as well as longer than permitted.
APL Property Ltd has the lake-shore management contract on
behalf of Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) and polices the
freedom-camping laws around Lake Dunstan.
Mr Gillespie said the contractor needed to ''crack down'' on
those breaking the rules and property manager Jeff Reidy said
the contractor would visit the sites more often.
Central Otago has 13 camping grounds and freedom camping is
permitted at six different sites - most near Lake Dunstan.
They are Bendigo (three nights' maximum) Champagne Gully
between Alexandra and Cromwell (one night), Jackson's Inlet
near Cromwell (one night), Lowburn Harbour (three nights),
Pinder's Pond at Roxburgh (three nights) and Fraser Domain at
Earnscleugh (no time limit).
As well, there are four Department of Conservation camp sites
- Dansey's Pass, Homestead (within Oteake Conservation Park),
the St Bathans Domain and in the Lindis Pass in the Nine Mile
historic reserve. Freedom camping is probably gaining
popularity because the traditional camping holiday is getting
too expensive, one overseas visitor says.
Former Dunedin resident Peter Kennedy (52) has lived in
Australia for 31 years, and is now on holiday in the South
Island with his wife Nittaya and their three children, aged
6, 5 and 2.
He hired a camper van and the family has been staying
overnight at camping grounds but he believes the ''steep
charges'' at all the camping grounds discouraged campers.
''As well as being charged for a powered site, we're also
charged per person, which works out at about $50 a night in
some places. That's on top of the rental of the van which is
$145 a day, so it costs us $200 a day. For that we could
almost get two rooms in a motel.
''Some of the camping grounds also make you pay extra for hot
water. Quite honestly, I think maybe the camping grounds are
pricing themselves off the market.''
Freedom camping was not an option for the Kennedy family, he
''We've got young kids so we can't really rough it, but I can
see why people do and why it's on the increase.''
Camping used to be a lower-budget holiday, but the prices
now, combined with the high price of fuel in this country,
made using camper vans and staying at holiday parks a less
attractive option, Mr Kennedy said.
''In Aussie we'd pay about $25 for a powered site and you're
not charged for every person; I think that's more
''This is a beautiful country but it's expensive for us to
He owns a limousine business in Brisbane and it is his first
time back in New Zealand in 15 years. His wife and children
are first-time visitors to this country.