Less freedom for campers

A closer eye will be kept on freedom campers flouting the rules in Central Otago this summer.

There are designated freedom camping spots around the district for those with self-contained vehicles. Depending on the site, campers are allowed to stay a maximum of one night or three nights.

Two years ago, Lowburn was the "problem" area, when masses of people camped there, overwhelming the facilities and spreading rubbish around.

Last summer, tents were banned and the site was restricted to self-contained vehicles. Then a site at Bendigo became popular with seasonal workers. More than 50 a night camped there during the peak season and some overstayed the three-night maximum, the Central Otago District Council heard earlier this year.

Campers were mostly based on the shores of Lake Dunstan and Land Information New Zealand (Linz) is responsible for the lake margins.

Contact Energy environmental adviser Daniel Druce recently told the council security guards would do regular "sweeps" of the popular freedom camping areas this season to make sure the only camping vehicles at  designated spots were self-contained.

Those regular inspections began on Friday  and would continue until mid-February, he said.

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