Campsite review: Kinloch DOC campsite, Otago

If you’re touring the South Island, chances are you’ll be spending time in and around Queenstown. Personally, I think this area is one of the most beautiful of the South Island, if not all of New Zealand, and it has a lot to offer to those into camping. For a remote camping experience, head to Kinloch on the shores of Lake Wakatipu.

Note that there are two places named Kinloch in New Zealand, and both are somewhat secluded and right by two popular lakes. The Kinloch of the North Island is on the shore of Lake Taupo, a 20-min drive from Taupo. The Kinloch of the South is by Lake Wakatipu, near Glenorchy, a 90-min drive away from Queenstown.

Lake Wakatipu at Kinloch

Lake Wakatipu at Kinloch, view from the DOC campsite

DOC’s brochure says the campground has 20 tent sites, which I find slightly exaggerated. The campground is beautiful, for sure, right on the lake’s shore, but it’s rather on the small side. I know this may sound rather unattractive, but you have to imagine it like an idyllic, short, dead end gravel road along the side of the lake, with strips of grass plus bushes and trees either side of it. I think it’s a campground that is predominantly suited for camper vans, because you can park on the gravel and don’t have to rely on grass space for pitching your tent.

Having said that, it’s a fantastic place to stay. It is especially frequented by trampers doing the Greenstone or Routeburn tracks. You can also go kayaking, swim in the lake, or go fishing. It’s a very quiet place, but don’t be surprised to hear a few motor boats once in a while: there are jet boat tours on the Dart River nearby.

Dart River Valley, near Kinloch

Dart River Valley, near Kinloch


  • Type: Standard
  • Fee: $7.10 per person per night
  • Location: Kinloch Foreshore Recreation Reserve, 20 km from Glenorchy.
  • Facilities: long-drop toilets; picnic tables; water from stream; BBQ. Shower facilities and restaurant at Kinloch Lodge.
  • Notes: rather small campsite next to Kinloch Lodge. Self-registration at booth or pay fees at Kinloch Lodge. Take plenty of insect repellant.

For more information on Department of Conservation campsites in New Zealand, read my introduction to DOC campsites.

Other DOC campsites in New Zealand:

Lake Hawea, Kidds Bush campsite
Tongariro National Park, Mangahuia campsite
Moke Lake campsite
Mavora Lakes campsite


Christina Hegele

About the author: Christina Hegele runs Sandal Road, a blog on her favourite destinations. It just so happened that 95% turned out to be about New Zealand. Follow Christina and her blog on Twitter, like her blog on Facebook, and subscribe to her Youtube channel. Alternatively, subscribe to her email newsletter at the top right of this blog.

More Posts - Twitter - Facebook

  18 comments for “Campsite review: Kinloch DOC campsite, Otago

  1. 18 May, 2011 at 19:57

    I agree completely, but don’t go here in the cold months, only over summer!! Christina, I love your logo!

    • Christina
      18 May, 2011 at 23:45

      Thanks John! Yep, it’s a rebrand…

      And as for the winter, I admit in April (autumn) the weather was getting quite nippy already, so I’d completely agree not to camp there in the winter months!

  2. 18 May, 2011 at 21:02

    I haven’t been camping in ages – or been to New Zealand. I think it’s time I do both!

    • Christina
      18 May, 2011 at 23:47

      Hey Ben, just combine both, they go together very well 🙂

  3. 18 May, 2011 at 23:35

    It does look like a beautiful spot. And the price is nice too!

    • Christina
      18 May, 2011 at 23:52

      Absolutely. DOC campsites are all over the country, and they’re in the most beautiful spots! The Department of Conservation also takes good care of them. Facilities are very basic, but good, and it’s a real back to nature thing for a very low price.

  4. 19 May, 2011 at 02:18

    Wow, that looks beautiful! Camping looks like the perfect option in this area!

    • Christina
      19 May, 2011 at 11:35

      Pretty much anywhere along Lake Wakatipu is stunning. DOC have put up campsites at the most beautiful spots, it’s awesome!

  5. Jeremy & Shirlene (Idelish)
    19 May, 2011 at 04:08

    Didn’t even know this place existed! Thanks for introducing yet another destination for us to add to our travel list!

    • Christina
      19 May, 2011 at 11:36

      Hi Jeremy and Shirlene, I’m glad I introduced you to Kinloch. If you like outdoorsy things, lakes and mountains, I’m sure you’d like it there!

  6. 19 May, 2011 at 04:10

    That is cheap! And what a view!!

    • Christina
      19 May, 2011 at 11:36

      I know. That’s why I like DOC campsites so much; cheap as and beautiful!

  7. 19 May, 2011 at 07:50

    I think I would just stay in the lodge 🙂

    • Christina
      19 May, 2011 at 11:37

      Haha, yes, why not? Haven’t tried it myself, but with these views, you got at least one criterion checked off. It’s a better option to escape the sand flies, too!

  8. 19 May, 2011 at 12:49

    Wow Christina, the scenery looks simply fantastic! I could stay there for a few weeks. Did you use a DSLR to capture the photos?

    • Christina
      19 May, 2011 at 13:02

      Hi David! I love the scenery, too. It’s not a secret that Otago is my favourite region in New Zealand (closely followed by Canterbury)! I didn’t use a DSLR for these shots – all point-and-shoot!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


%d bloggers like this: