Trip Planner

Freedom Camping in Aoraki/Mount Cook Mackenzie

The Mackenzie District Council allows independent overnight / freedom camping* within the district. However, there are some restrictions. To freedom camp in the Mackenzie district you must have a camper with fully self-contained toilet facilities.

Where can I camp?

There are 4 freedom camping areas in Aoraki / Mount Cook Mackenzie:

  1. Lake Opuha, Fairlie
    • 3 camp sites
    • No camping permitted between 23 December and the second Monday in January.
  2. Pattersons Ponds, Tekapo Canal Road, Lake Tekapo
  3. Lake Wardell, State Highway 8, Twizel
  4. Lake Ruataniwha Reserve, Max Smith Drive, Twizel
    • No camping permitted between 23 December and the second Monday in January.

Freedom camping areas

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Camping etiquette

All independent overnight / freedom campers must behave in an acceptable manner while camping in the Mackenzie region.

This includes:

  1. Leaving your camp site(s) in a clean and tidy state.
  2. Limiting stays at any one site to a maximum of 2 nights in any calendar month.
  3. Disposing of all toilet and wastewater at a Council approved dump point (located in Fairlie, Lake Tekapo and Twizel, see our freedom camping map for locations).
  4. Disposing of all other refuse in approved bags and at approved locations.
  5. Following safe fire practices at all times, including adhering to fire bans.
  6. Keeping dogs under control at all times.

Waste disposal

The Mackenzie region is a zero-waste district. All rubbish is sorted to ensure that the majority of waste is able to be recycled. Rubbish bags are available for purchase at supermarkets in Lake Tekapo and Twizel, the Council offices in Twizel and Fairlie, and Fairlie House & Garden.

Please sort your rubbish as follows:

  1. Clear bags: clean recyclables e.g. paper, cardboard, glass, plastic (these should be separated).
  2. Green bags: organic, compostable waste e.g. food.
  3. Black bags: residual waste e.g. batteries, nappies, items made of mixed materials etc.

These bags are collected kerbside each Monday or, alternatively, the bags can be dropped off at the Resource Recovery Parks in Fairlie, Lake Tekapo and Twizel.

For more information about camping in New Zealand visit Camping Our Way.

*Freedom camping is defined as camping outside of a designated campground in a location that does not provide camping facilities.