Gravel road through dense rainforest is very scenic and suitable for big vans if you drive slowly. It is a parking lot with toilet facilities and some sinks. Fire pit and short walk to the beach. Great for a sunset. The driftwood makes the beach very special. Nice walks starts from DOC camping. We have seen 3 hector dolphins in the morning.
After picking up our 6 berth campervan from Queenstown our first stop was Gillespie's Beach, naturally I wanted to go there because I'm also a Gillespie, arrived about 10.30pm that night, grabbed a bite to eat and got the kids into bed, was about midnight that my partner and I decided to go stretch our legs down to the stony beach, the moon was up and the stony beach was glistening in the moonlight, the air was fresh due to the snowy mountains of mount cook standing directly behind us, it was an absolutely an amazing site to know that one side we had the ocean and the other were the mountains.the sunrise also made a spectacular view, found the doc camping ground really clean and tidy, even the flushing toilets were in good order, would of been great to have a walk around and learn the history of the site, but we sadly had to leave this part of paradise to continue our journey north. We will be back to stay a few more nights and to explore the rich history of Gillespie's beach. Golden rule always have a can of insect repellent handy... the sandflies come in there 100s. But definitely a spot to come back to.
Nice quiet camp, close enough to beach so you can hear as you fall asleep but far enough so your sheltered from the sea breeze. Beautiful sunset, sandflies are present so take your repellent. Clean flushing toilets with basic wash basin. Take your own drinking water. Great walks down the beach. Secure your stuff, Kia’s were there in the morning and relocated out footwear and wrecked another campers shoes. Shoutout to Bridget and Brett from Australia for the good yarns.
The place is lovely. starting point of great walks along the beach to the lagoon. Way to seal colony still closed. Facilities okay for doc camp site. Payed 8$ per person. Wonderful views over the mountains...
Great little place... Beware the crazy sand flies though! Also the bridge to the seal colony was closed so the main walk was not possible.
Drive on dirt road was fine. Few sandflies. Beach access right off the parking lot. Clean facilities.
Recommend getting there before 5pm for some choice of a spot. Seems popular and the lot isn't really that big.
Way cheaper then most other DOC Campsites and facilities are great
Great campsite, very tidy. Sleeping with the sounds of the ocean was nice, and we were visited by several kea in the evening.
Great location 25 min drive from Fox Clacier.
A lot of Spaces for Campers. We drove there with our 7m van and the street was no problem, only dusty.
The stony beach with high waves is absolutely amazing.
You dont have a view of the beach from the parking lot or the campsites, therefore you have to cross the dunes.
Lots of wood at the beach, do easy to light a fire.
The only big minus: Sandflies everyehere. We git in our van quite early. Othereise it would have been perfect.
Loved this camping spot. There were a few sandflies around, but not too many (and I hate them with a passion, so that I wasn't annoyed says something). Nice walks from the campsite to the lagoon and over the beach. Due to a storm last February the bridge to the seal colony is destroyed and closed still.
Sunset from the pebble beach is amazing. Two toilets and two sinks available. $8 pp a night.
Drive carefully on the gravel road!! It's up and down and bendy roads.
Right next to a nice beach where we saw the most beautiful sunset. Many walks start there. Clean flush toilets, water supply and a sink for doing the dishes. Roofed picnic area, no service, long gravel road, 20min away from town
Lovely car park with a toilet. As with all DOC sites, gets busy but people respectful. Close to beach and mountain views. Not exactly freedom camping but what is in this country?
Nice spot not far away from mirror lakes and fox glacier. You sleep on a little parking space. We had rain for days and the gravel road was full of water. There's a nice little roof with tables for cooking. And water supply which may be treated. 2 toilets available. Walks on Gillespie's beach are just starting from that spot and the beach is only 2 minutes away.
Luis Vigil Vidal
Great location! Totally worth the long unpaved road. Great beach and amazing view to Aoraki! Honesty box, clean drop toilet, not drinking water supply. Couple of nice treks around the area. Maybe in high season will get full early, around 20-30 spaces.
Phil and Mel Rowson
12km gravel drive but worth it even though we were here on a wet and windy night. Can't see beach but you can hear it! Beach full on driftwood and pebbles, lots of walks can be done from here but can be quite difficult walking on pebbles when the tide is in. Good flushing toilets.
Beautiful spot on a beach with views looking back at Mt Cook.
A carpark with a short walk to the beach. Filled up quickly. Drinking water available, good facilities.
A great place to camp on the West Coast. Pays to get there early as only a small car park. The drive there is on a gravel road through bush, which is fine if you are not in a rush. Well worth a visit.
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Not free, $8 pp, long drive in but worth it. Bring insect repellent, toilet quite smelly. Rocky but beautiful black sand beach. Beautiful sunset and bonus, double rainbow. Spaces fill fast.
Great location with beautiful west coast sunset. Very close to the beach.
One side of this small car park is for self contained vehicles only but the car still seem to park here. Gets very busy! Long winding road out but worth it. No reception, dirty toilets and small water supply.
Great location. Right next to the beach. Sandflies suck though. All I was looking for in a campsite. Even has a sheltered area and picnic tables to eat! Also not right on the beach, it's behind bushes so winds not too bad. Enjoyed it!
One of my fav campsite in the South Island. Facilities are very well maintained. Great location for a walk on the beach at night and also to access the glaciers the next day.
Unfortunately we did not enjoy our experience here. We arrived at the site (after a long gravel road trek), and managed to bag the very last spot. Two other campervans trailed us into the campsite and were very quick to take the first spots on arrival. We couldn't open the doors of the campervan due to the high sandfly concentration and the only public toilet was sealed off. We left first thing in the morning (as did many others) without walking on the beach. I have given 3 stars solely on the basis that this was a free spot and good proximity to Lake Matheson for a morning visit.
The drive is actually not all that bad. However if you have a campervan, note that this is just a parking lot, with a porta-potty for a restroom. Yes, it's within steps of the beach, but you don't get a view of it. Just the other vehicles on the parking lot. If you're tent-camping, you are, in theory, closer to the beach, but a ton of bushes close off your view. So again all you see is the parking lot. What's the point of freedom camping if it's just to be on a parking lot?!
Beautiful beach campground!
Nice and secluded. Car spaces fill up quickly. Sand flies continue to exist but sure what can you do. Lovely views and a nice walk to the mining equipment.
Free campsite. Stunning view of Mt Cook/Fox and the beach in the same place. Many people here but very good ambience. You must go here!
Free campground, right on the beach, toilet, tap, great location for sunset.
Ok and everything fine - could be more spacious.
Small gravel car park at the end of a long unsealed road. Cannot see the beach from the site. Very few spots, very close together. Toilets were full of insects.
Great view and sunset from the beach to the Glaciers but easy car parking ( packed when we were there in February).
Great campground on the beach. Free. 20 minutes by car from the town.
Spot not too bad. Very long and narrow gravel road to go there. Full of sandflies (repellent resistant!!). Close to the beach. Always crowded, arrive early.
Awesome view. Beach in the front - glacier in the back. Also some walks start there. Toilets are basic and there is water. The space is a bit limited. We went there end of November and it was full.
Great small freedom camp next to the beach. The parking was just in a carpark and it was pretty busy when we were there but the views of the mountains and Fox Glacier are stunning if you get a clear day. The beach is lovely, lots of driftwood and beautiful stones and wild waves. Two longdrop toilets and a sink that uses rainwater. Lovely spot.
Stayed here instead of closer to town. Farmer has blocked with rocks the entry to Clearwater stream as NON self contained vehicles have defecating in his paddocks and he is sick of it.
This was told to us by our pilot over the Glaciers.
Very narrow road to Beach for Motorhome, but we left very early so as not to meet another vehicle coming in. Great relaxing time by the sea. Excellent place, but always worried about getting out.
Free campground with toilets. But the road is really bad, especially if you come at night and can't see the holes in the road. Was also really busy and so many sandflies around.
Access savings worth hundreds of $$ on Top Ranked NZ Accommodation and Activities for just $1 per day.
Dianne van der Wal
Beautiful black beach nearby. Many noisy backpackers around and very crowded. Narrow road towards the site was a challenge with a camper van.
15km drive along a gravel road which can be tough going on the van, but so worth it. Amazing sunset beach and the campsites are sheltered from the wind by large bushes, so no noise at night.
Lovely camping spot right next to the beach and for free. Basic but clean facilities. Can get really busy and you have to deal with the sandflies.
It is a long drive through the bush but it is a nice campsite for free. There is a toilet, picnic table and beach access.
For free, nice sunset in the evening, 20km drive through bush, toilet and a table.
Lovely freedom camping spot next to, what seem's like, a famous beach. The place was packed with campers so I imagine you need to get there early in summertime. A 1-minute walk to the beach which is great for sunset.
Really smelly toilets, not a lot of space. But okay for overnight.
It is free and you have a small toilette thats all we needed! But you need to go on a small gravel road to get to the campground
Very busy, maybe 25 or 30 campervans for just 8 places! But great walks and nice view of mountains (but seal colony walk and goldmine walk are closed).
Very beautiful location and have all facilities you need (not including showers). But on the other hand think was a little too long on the unsealed road to the camp and too many sandflies.
Aside from the large amount of sandflies which was expected, everything was in order, eg water, toilets okay. Seal colony track was closed due to flood damage.
One of the best places I stayed, you can enjoy the sunrise, front the ocean and behind you have a fantastic panoramic view of the Alps.
Very peaceful and beautiful spot on the beach.
Free campground with beautiful view of Mount Cook, good walks around and a beach. Toilets and water.
12km drive on an unsealed road, (excellent condition during the trip), rewards with a small, free site on the beach. Protected by dunes. Terrific walks, stunning views of mountains and glaciers, sunsets, washrooms, terrific except sandflies are a nuisance to manage if you are bothered by them.
Another gravel parking lot - nicely sheltered by trees and shrubs and flax, short walk to beautiful beach. Despite huge warning sign, the road (unsealed for 12km), was excellent.
Free. Gorgeous view in both directions; ocean one way and Mount Cook the other on a clear day. Parking lot with nearby walks. Neat stone beach to walk on. Very busy in April. Lots of sand flies. Clean and basic long drop toilets. Fairly long and windy drive from hi-way but not too bad. Good spot for free for vehicles.
Free campground, just next to beach. Can view the peaks of Mt Cook and Mt Tasman when it was not cloudy. Two long drop toilet, water supply, shelter, picnic tables. Long gravel road to get into the campground from fox village. Several tracks around the campground. Get crowded in the evening. Beware of sandflies!
At the beach wonderful sunset, good facilities, popular-so hurry to get a good spot.
Bjorn Van Mulders
Great camping ground next to the beach.
Good for free, good for shelter
Upsides are the views. Wild West Coast Beach looking back to the mountains.
Downsides are many though, so be prepared if you want that view.
The toilets are awful at the time of writing. The left hand long drop is basically full.
Sandfly and mosquito city, make sure you take A LOT of repellant. They will eat you alive out here.
Its really busy, suggest you plan a lunch time arrival as some are clearing out, if you want a space.
It's a tiny camp, prepare to be crowded.
Very busy free camping spot. It's about a 15-20 minute drive from the main road along a winding forest road (which is actually really cool, even if it's a bit exhausting to maneuver).
Be sure to walk out onto the beach (two minute walk, tops) to watch the sunset, but make sure to flip around and catch a glimpse of the setting sun's reflection off of Mt Cook and Fox Glacier. Absolutely gorgeous.
Only complaint is that the toilet had an incredibly strong odor, but that's kind of to be expected.
Great view of the mountains, gravel drive, close to sea.
A long gravel road leads to this site, but it is easy to drive if careful with a four bed campervan. Beautiful location with views to sea and mountains but also crowded.
Beautiful beach, cute small tracks around, heaps of keas.
Handy location near Fox Glacier but very crowded, offers 8 sites but we counted 25 campers midweek.
Outside Fox Glacier, gets overcrowded during evening-night. Very small carpark/camp area. Dirty tracks due to toilet paper where people have not used the toilet provided. SANDFLIES.
Stientje van den Heuvel
More grass instead of marking spots (dusty) would be nice.
No water but there was a neat mining tunnel.
Nice walking track and mining tunnel.
Fantastic location right by the beach with really interesting walks and great views of the snow capped mountains. However when we stayed it was very crowded with way more users than the designation says it should have. This was fine as the atmosphere was great but the toilet was under severe pressure (long cues and gettin quite full) as were the empty rainwater harvesting tanks
Incredibly stunning location - a beautiful beach with breathtaking views of Mount Cook and surrounding mountains, strewn with driftwood looking like sculptures, good value (free), but very busy - a bigger space would be more practical.
Lots of sandflies, small place, stony beach, cold and windy.
Great, remote campsite right on the beach offering superb views of the Southern Alps and sunsets to die for.
Really nice view with Tasman Sea and the mountains. Not bad access for campervans.
But smelly toilets and full...
Unfortunatley some people leave their rubbish, so birds eat plastic...
Rena and Kirsten
Really nice place next to the beach, with beautiful sunsets at the beach. Great walking track, nice toilet and water. For free.
Great free spot. Many campers in a small space, but it was not uncomfortable. Simple toilets and filtered rainwater. Beautiful beach. The narrow winding road to the campsite easy to drive with a small campervan.
DOC campsite, free, direct at the beach. DO the tracks! There you can see amazing sunsets. Behind you there are the mountains. Perfect views on Mt Cook.
Great spot to watch the glacier and a beautiful sunset!!!
Free DOC campsite with great views, you are on the beach and can see Mount Cook and Tasman.
For free and directly nearby the West Coast. Awesome sunsets and view of mountains.
Watched fabulous sunset over sea - with Mt Cook and Mt Tasman in other direction with snow and glacier.
Well, it is a nice spot but soooo crowded. Basic DOC site. Ideal for Lake Matheson walk and Fox Glacier. The small miners cemetery is interesting.
Good DOC campsite by the beach. Nice drive through the bush to get there and amazing sunsets over the sea. Only toilets, no showers etc = only ok for one night!!
Heaps of sandflies and heaps of people...and a long dirt road to navigate to get there. Not all that...the DOC sites on the lake north of Franz Josef are better.
Really nice location with great views if clear weather.
Nicest scenery with clear view of Mt Cook. Lots of sandflies but it is a bit small and crowded.
NJext to Fox Glacier. Too many sandflies, full toilet, sheltered! Nice place, scenic view.
Smelly toilets, limited parking but close to historical gold mining area, plenty of walks available.
Views of Glaciers/Beach/Gold mining.
On beach with stunning views of the mountains.
Nice location but let down by swarms of sandflies and mosquitoes.
Campsite is free and the views in all directions are stunning.
The ocean is at your backdoor and you can stroll around the beach! Without shower, but the toilet is nice and clean.
Beautiful location, basic but very good with possibility to walk to the seal colony. And FREE!