21 June 2021

Around 70,000 vehicles passed through free-to-use campsites around Lake Dunstan during the 2020-21 camping season – up 10,000 on the previous season.

That’s according to vehicle counts released today by Toitū Te Whenua Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) for its 4 popular lakefront campsites – Lowburn, Bendigo, Jacksons Inlet and Champagne Gully.

Between the peak camping season that runs from mid-October to late April, a total of 69,000 vehicles went through the popular campsites, with almost half of those visits to the Lowburn campsite.

LINZ Land and Property Manager Lauren Smith says it was positive to see visitor numbers increase at the sites after COVID-19 impacted travel and tourism the previous season.

“It’s been great to see Kiwis are getting out, exploring their own backyards and supporting local.”

Ms Smith says while most visitors were tidy and considerate, there were some issues with campers exceeding the maximum night stay and lighting fires.

“We were disappointed a few Kiwis felt they were exempt from these rules, but the majority used the sites responsibly.”

Throughout the busy season, LINZ had people on the ground raising awareness about responsible camping and monitoring the sites. This was possible through funding support from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment secured by the Central Otago District Council. This funding also covers the cost of maintaining the sites.

While the LINZ campsites remain open year-round, additional toilets to cope with the influx of visitors over summer have now been removed.

Ms Smith says while more people visited Lake Dunstan campsites during the 2020-21 peak camping season, vehicle counts for LINZ Pines Camp on the shores of Lake Pukaki, were slightly down. Around 17,000 passed through the site compared to 18,000 the previous season.

Media enquiries

Email: media@linz.govt.nz or phone: 027 566 5251