Campsite review: Twelve Mile Delta DOC campsite, Otago

If you’re looking for a cheap place to stay near Queenstown and don’t mind camping, well, there is probably no cheaper place to stay in such close proximity to the adventure capital of New Zealand than Twelve Mile Delta DOC campsite.

DOC campsite Twelve Mile Delta, Otago

DOC campsite Twelve Mile Delta, location for Ithilien camp in LOTR

As much fun as Queenstown is, it can be pricey, especially for the budget traveller. Luckily there are a few Department of Conservation campgrounds in its vicinity that cost next to nothing so you have more money to spend on those bungy jumps, Lord of the Rings and winery tours!

Twelve Mile Delta DOC campsite location

DOC campground Twelve Mile Delta, Otago

DOC campground Twelve Mile Delta in Otago, right on the shore of Lake Wakatipu

The Twelve Mile Delta campground is only 11km outside of Queenstown and sits right on the shore of the beautiful Lake Wakatipu. At Twelve Mile Delta DOC campsite, you get to camp on quite a large campground that is essentially a gravel river delta.

Set-up of the campsite

When I visited the campsite, I didn’t see many campers or tents at all. It seemed more of a picnic or overnight stop rather than a campsite for multi-night stays. This isn’t really surprising, given the fact that the grounds are mostly gravel, with bits of forest, and thus not really suited for tents. Campervans are fine, but still, you’d probably want a bit of a larger patch of grass to lie down and read a book, or play some ball.

Twelve Mile Delta DOC campsite, Otago

Eerie forest at the Twelve Mile Delta DOC campsite near Queenstown

Activities around Twelve Mile Delta

You can swim in Lake Wakatipu if you’re not afraid of the cold water, or go kayaking. Fishing is also a popular option. You’ll also see a lot of people just stop by to have a picnic and take some pictures. This spot was the set for Ithilien camp in Lord of the Rings after all!

Twelve Mile Delta campground, Otago

The gravelly grounds at Twelve Mile Delta


  • Type: Standard
  • Fee: $6 per person per night (kids pay $3)
  • Location: 11 km outside Queenstown, off Glenorchy Rd.
  • Facilities: 100 tent sites; long-drop toilets; no picnic tables or shelters; water from tap.
  • Notes: dogs on leads allowed; large size campground; no ranger on site; self-registration box at entrance.

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

Check out these other DOC campsites in New Zealand:

Lake Hawea Kidds Bush
Mavora Lakes
Mangahuia, Tongariro National Park
Kinloch, Otago 

Moke Lake

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.

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  2 comments for “Campsite review: Twelve Mile Delta DOC campsite, Otago

  1. Tracy Addison
    3 November, 2013 at 01:37

    Hi Christina
    You should see 12 Mile Delta Campground in Queenstown now! Its undergoing a transformation and is still as cheap as chips. There is now grass for campers and the first 3000 of 15000 native trees have been planted to start creating private camping spots. There are now beautiful macrocarpa picnic tables scattered around the camp.
    Call in on your next visit to Queenstown and have a yarn with the friendly all year round managers Jared and Suze.

  2. Christina
    17 November, 2013 at 19:08

    Hey Tracy, thanks for stopping by. On my last trip to NZ I didn’t go camping as it was barely spring, but next time I’m there in the summer I’d love to pop by!

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