Upgrade work at Central Otago freedom camping sites to begin

24 November 2017

Work by Land Information New Zealand to upgrade and enhance popular Central Otago freedom camping sites will shortly get underway.

Deputy Chief Executive Crown Property, Jerome Sheppard, says contractors will next week (27 November) begin work at the Bendigo freedom campsite alongside Lake Dunstan, which will result in a raft of improvements to the popular spot.

“Given the ever-increasing popularity of Bendigo in particular for freedom camping, LINZ is coordinating a number of improvements to the area for the enjoyment of visitors. This includes levelling and re-surfacing of the road and carpark areas, marking out designated parking spaces and campsites, and installation of fencing and other features to keep vehicles in designated areas and improve access to the boat ramp for lake users.

“New toilets are also planned, and thanks to the support of the Central Otago District Council, ‘belly bins’ will also be installed in the near future.”

The solar-powered self-compacting bins can compress rubbish and recyclables, meaning less frequent emptying – with sensors alerting the collection company when full.

Central Otago District Mayor Tim Cadogan says: “The efforts being made by LINZ at Bendigo and other sites will enhance the Council policy of managing freedom camping into specific areas rather than having small groups or individual campers scattered across the district. 

“The relationship with LINZ has been a very positive one of late and I look forward to seeing the completed works.”

Mr Sheppard says the work is expected to be completed within 2-4 weeks, which may cause some disruption for campers and boaters, including partial or possibly full closure of the area for a short period. Boaters can still access the lake from a number of other ramps, with other freedom camping sites also available at Lowburn and Jacksons Inlet.

“We appreciate that while the work is underway there will be some temporary disruption and inconvenience for campers and lake users, but this will be outweighed by having a new, fit for purpose facility that is ready in time for Christmas and one which people can enjoy into the future.”

Vehicle counters at Bendigo continue to show high visitor numbers, including freedom campers, day visitors and boaters using the area, with around 900 vehicle movements per week. Mr Sheppard says the campsites at Lowburn and Jacksons Inlet will also undergo some minor improvements.

For Lowburn, this will include improved signage and access from the State Highway, as well as painting of the toilet block. Additional fencing is also being considered. At Jacksons Inlet, improved signage, including better information for campers, will also be put in place, as part of a move to have consistent signage at all LINZ sites around the lake.

“These improvements are part of LINZ’s commitment to ensuring there are fit for purpose facilities available for people wanting to enjoy Central Otago’s landscape and lakes.” 

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