Camping tickets in demand

November 14, 2020

Season tickets have sold out at three of the Waitaki District Council’s six camping grounds at the Waitaki Lakes.

Due to a domestic tourism spike and an increased fire risk, the council had taken a "slightly more conservative approach" to how many tickets were being sold overall this year, Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher said.

Season tickets have already sold out for the Falstone Creek, Sailors Cutting and Boat Harbour camping grounds and casual camping will not be allowed at those grounds between December 20 and January 10.

Casual camping outside the peak period will be by arrangement with the camp supervisor.

The council and camp supervisors faced a backlash after the announcement.

Many regular casual campers were disappointed they had missed out on a spot this year, and that they had not received any notification the camp sites were reaching capacity.

"I know the lack of other options may be frustrating for some, but such is the popularity of good old Kiwi camping in the amazing Waitaki district," Mr Kircher said.

The spike in popularity had prompted discussions about how capacity could be expanded and managed in the future, and the council was also reviewing its fire evacuation management plans after last month’s Ohau fire, he said.

Because supervisors were not based at each camp, it was important campers had a good understanding of evacuation plans.

Season tickets and casual camping were available at Loch Laird, Wildlife Reserve and Parsons Rock and there were still some "great spots available", he said.

He urged people to check with the camp supervisors before planning trips.