Freedom Camping at Lake Pukaki

Lake PukakiThe McKenzie Basin has to be one of the most visually spectacular areas in New Zealand, contrasting dry, barren land with three spectacular lakes (Ōhau, Pūkaki and Tekapo). This area attracts a lot of visitor for the clear nights where stargazing (staring at stars) is a popular activity.  If you're looking at staying in the area, and are in a self-contained campervan, you're in luck as there's a number of locations you can freedom camp, supplied by the Mackenzie District Council. My favourite out of all of them is the Lake Pukaki Reserve at the southern end of the lake. It takes approximately 3.5 hours to drive from Christchurch or 2.5 hours if you're coming from Queenstown.  Driving from either end you'll encounter long roads, often with lots of impatient traffic, so take care when you're driving there. If you're driving from Queenstown, you'll pass the information centre (the area with all the cars parked) and about another kilometer past that you'll see the small turn off to the left (check the CamperMate app for the exact location). Keep driving down the gravel/stone road and you'll get to the large parking area next to the lake. PukakiIt's difficult to describe how astounding this site is. Not only do you have a site right next to the lake, but you also have amazing views of Aoraki / Mount Cook (New Zealand's highest mountain) 70 kilometres away. There is no drinking water here, however you will find two long drop toilets here, complete with toilet paper. This is a popular site in the evening, so make sure to get in early and find the best position. IMG_1700You must be self contained in order to stay here, and there's a one night maximum stay.Pukaki If you can manage it, be sure to get up for the sunrise. If you get good weather, you won't easily forget this view. For the amazing scenery, ease of access from the main highway and toilet facilities, Lake Pukaki gets 5 stars. Follow CamperMate on Twitter or like us on Facebook. [mc4wp_form]