23 October 2020
Lake Dunstan campsites are expected to be busy this summer as more Kiwis holiday locally due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last season (between October 2019 and April 2020), about 60,000 vehicles passed through Land Information New Zealand’s (LINZ) four popular free-to-use lakefront sites – Lowburn, Bendigo, Jacksons Inlet and Champagne Gully. This was down about 16,000 on the previous season due to poor weather conditions, the sites temporarily closing due to COVID-19 and tourist numbers dropping.
LINZ Deputy Chief Executive Crown Property Jerome Sheppard says visitor numbers are expected to be high this season, “but a different crowd than usual”.
“Traditionally most visitors at our campsites are overseas tourists, but this summer we expect more Kiwis using our sites, due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.
“Over the last few weeks, we’ve been working with the local council to prepare our campsites for people to enjoy this summer. This has included installing free wi-fi at Bendigo and Lowburn, and increased facility servicing. We want to encourage New Zealanders to explore their own backyard this summer, support local, and be tidy Kiwis.”
Mr Sheppard says LINZ will continue to take the same approach to education and monitoring as last year to ensure an enjoyable experience for campers and the community.
“We are pleased Central Otago District Council (CODC) has secured funding support from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) to allow us to work in partnership and continue encouraging responsible camping in the region.”
This season the CODC received almost $200,000 to install vehicle counters, additional temporary toilet facilities and servicing to cope with increased demand, and education and monitoring.
He says ensuring campers are not staying longer than they are allowed at each site will continue to be a focus this season.
“Despite our efforts, this continues to be a challenge. Between November 2019 and April 2020, we turned away almost 700 vehicles from our Lowburn, Bendigo and Champagne Gully campsites for exceeding the maximum night stay.”
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