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.
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.
- 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 the stream; BBQ. Shower facilities and restaurant at Kinloch Lodge.
- Notes: rather a 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
- Twelve Mile Delta DOC campsite near Queenstown in Otago