Has brand new toilets now! Clean but very windy!
Stunning campsite. Good level gravel site with ample spaces. Right on the lakefront with friendly ducks (we met the infamous hoppy!) Only 1 portaloo but was not peak season when we visited so no issue. $8 per person per site is not a lot for DOC to ask and am happy to support it. Good stopover from Arthur’s pass to Christchurch. Most ‘free’ campsites in Arthur’s pass are no longer free and have unbearable sandflies (we stopped at 3 sites before stopping here) so were very happy to pay a low cost site in exchange for no sandflies.
We loved this spot. Quiet, flat sites and a toilet ! Cheap and we don't begrudge paying for DOC sites at this price. Shame others freeload and expect others to pay for them.
This is a gorgeous spot! We stopped here for a break along Arthur’s Pass on the way to Hokitika and Franz Josef, and were astounded by the beauty. So when we couldn’t get through Haast because of the broken bridge we decided to sleep here on the way back through! Even with other campers it was quiet and wasn’t hard to use the toilet. Would stay again.
Tash & Laura
Good DOC spot. Lovely lake with ducks :). No running water at all so make sure you fill up. Only one long drop toilet which was clean but maybe not quite enough for number of guests as was fairy full when we stayed. Half hour from Arthur’s pass and plenty of walks to do
Lovely location with splendid views of the lake- really close to Arthur's pass about a 25 minute drive which is ideal if you want to head over in the morning.
Long drop toilet was in great condition and well stocked with toilet paper and hand sanitiser.
Fairly busy but plenty of space.
Costs $8 per person per night not free!
It's already not for free i was surprised when i realized that. Without water supply i was not happy...
Open again August 2018. Beautiful location. All new fencing, bitumen and parking sites in place. Good longdrop toilet, didn't smell and had toilet paper. Now $8 per person per night. Lots of friendly ducks. Two hoppy ducks with wonky legs. Wanted to stay longer due to beautiful location. Would recommend.
This place is still closed.
CLOSED ON 2nd March 2018.
The location looks fantastic, can’t comment on staying there because it was closed off by large fences and gravel trucks. I can’t give it a proper rating, just a neutral 6/10 for location. I just felt a notice of closure, even temporary would help others.
Brilliant view of lake surrounded by the hills. Can park right next to the water. Lots of ducks. Make sure you get there early since the good spots fill up fast. Good drop toilet. Popular place so expect neighbours. This is the best free camp site in NZ!
Save up to 70% on campsite fees! Support conservation and experience the natural beauty of NZ. 78 Department of Conservation campsites, one convenient pass.
Very nice free campsite by a lake on the way to Arthur's Pass. Lots of space, can be a bit windy but hey we're in the mountains. Clean long drop toilets. Good camping.
This is one of the most beautiful free camp sites we’ve stayed! Great spot at the lake and surrounded by mountains. Be sure to arrive early as it fills up pretty quickly. The camp site’s description says that there should be a water point but we couldn’t find it?!
April 2017 This was the first night of our 2 week road trip around the South Island.Having clambered around the rocks at Castle Hill until late afternoon, Lake Pearson was just a short 20 mins up the road. The wind picked up a bit through the night but we were relatively sheltered amongst the trees right on the lake's edge. We woke to a fresh dusting of snow on the peaks and were greeted by a spectacular view and friendly ducks ... and yes hoppy was a keen visitor with us, too. The site was beautiful; there were a handful of other vans and all was quiet. The long drop was clean and the hand sanitizer was a nice touch. It was the best free campsite of our trip and rated in our top 3 of all sites we stayed at.
What a great find for free! Stayed here about 12 times over 2 months as climbing in the area. Exceptionally busy over Easter but quieter after, though always at least 10 vehicles, even when - 5°c! However, DOC do a great job with the toilet (long drop) - always stocked with toilet paper and hand sanitiser! The ducks are super friendly too, especially 'Hoppy', the one-legged mallard.
For a free DOC campsite, this is a great option. The long drop toilet was pretty dirty and smelly, but does the job! The lakeside setting is nice, with ducks wandering around and the chance to spot some rarer species. Sandflies not so bad here as on the west coast. Willow trees provide fairly good privacy, but the site is clearly popular so get there early for a good spot.
This was our first night in an RV and what a place to begin! The ability to camp right on the lakeside was great - not withstanding the various bugs, spray essential. The weather was perfect so the views and the colours magical. The long drop toilet had no paper but it did have sanitiser. A great place to start.
This was the very first campground we tented at in New Zealand. It was freezing cold in early January, the snow nearly fell all the way down to the lake. But the scenery with the white peaks and the lake with the blue ducks was just amazing. The toilet was fine. Free DOC site, very cool.
Big campsite but very popular and crowded. Only one long-drop toilet that comes with toilet paper and hand sanitizer. It stays rather clean considering the number of people here in summer (February). Not much sandflies when we arrived around 8pm but they were there in the morning when we woke. You can camp right by the lake if you come early enough!
An awesome spot next to a lake. Drop toilet onsite, plenty of room on grass or gravel. The local ducklings were very tame, eating from our hands.
Went in the middle of September. We arrived late in the evening and had the place by ourselves. We were stuck in the mud going down to the willow tree. Luckily, in the morning the ground was frozen and we were able to get out. In the evening, with a bright moon, the lake is very calm. In the early morning, the view is stunning!
Absolutely stunning freedom campsite. Great walking trails close by. Good for before or after Arthurs pass. Right on the Lake. Saw a few people feeding the ducks. Please to not feed the wildlife!! They become dependent on human food. Clean long drop toilet.
Access savings worth hundreds of $$ on Top Ranked NZ Accommodation and Activities for just $1 per day.
Lovely, peaceful spot by the lake. We stayed in May and it was pretty chilly, with the advantage of having the place to ourselves. No sandflies either. We thought the scenery was bleak - dark, bare hills with dark, overhanging clouds - but beautiful.
Amazing view over the lake. Clean toilet that always had toilet paper and sanitiser. Bring your own water. Free!
Superb location. Fantastic setting, and free. Can get busy but there is plenty of room for everyone. Best to go self contained as toilet looked dodgy.
So beautiful. Magnificent views. Free, with only a long-drop toilet. Road around to some sites is deeply rutted, so take care arriving.
Stunning location! Plenty of pitch, but gets very busy. So if you want lake view pitch up early. Great for birdwatching. Nights are cold even during the summer due to its location.
Nice views, free campsite, not too crowded if you are okay with a longer walk towards the toilet (not in a great state but decent). Inquisitive ducks might visit you.
Jean marc Daubenfeld
The weather was cold in summer but we are in the nature.
Beautiful spot on lake Pearson. Easy access, good clean toilet and there are ducks!
Quiet, beautiful spot for our first night in NZ.
Absolutely worth staying at!!! One of our FAVOURITES!!! Not too many sandflies, views of the lake are SPECTACULAR!!! A few really good spots right on the lake!!! Definitely take a few days and stay here a wee while!! :-D
a wonderfull freedom camping place in the very near of Lake Pearson and well located to road 73
It is really beautiful and quiet and it is possible swim in the lake - it is really refreshing.
Basic campsite, clean toilet and easy to find. Good spot if going to / from Arthurs Pass.
Very nice spot, directly at the lake.
Fantastic spot. Yes, you can hear the road, but the place is spacious and close to the water. Just one dump toilet, so best for self-contained vehicles.
Beautiful location. Clean toilets. Be careful with the mice, they got into our car. If your food is in a sealed container it should be fine.
Nice place, no drinking water without cooking it first, dump toilet, Kea eating everything, they woke us up in the morning on top of our van!
Beautiful surrounding next to the lake. Only one dump toilet, no drinking water. Free.
Beautiful setting, clean toilet, not so noisy but not far from the road, bit overcrowded especially on a Saturday night.
Very strong winds, do not recommend parking under trees.
Beautiful location surrounded by mountains. Lots of shady spots under trees. Long drop toilet in good nick. Spots offer privacy and space. Too close to main road.
Spacious, a bit windy the night we were there, a long-drop loo. Amazing views of the slopes, volcanic mountains on the ascent to Arthurs pass, snow visible on peaks. Right at waters edge.
Beautiful surroundings, nice lake and hills. Perfect!!
Wonderful view! with a really cold lake. If you go for a swim in the morning you are definitely awake.
Very basic DOC campsite. To be clear - there are no facilities here except a toilet.
You do however, wake up to amazing views over Lake Pearson, which is an instant 8/10 in our book.
There was a lot of rain before (and during) our stay so the lake had risen and parts of the site were flooded. So it didn't look great.
The site is right on the road, so can get noisy, especially with the lorries hurtling past (100km speed limit road).
The long drop was horrific, VERY full, not sure if this was something to do with the water levels, but it was not good.
It was ok for the night, and I'm sure on a sunnier day with the lake back to normal, and the long drop sorted it would be better.
Basic DOC site, but great spots right on the lake edge -- if you get there early. Lovely views Lake behind and snow covered mountains in front Some bighties so bring the insect repellent (same as for here on, the West Coast and Fiordland).
Clean Tidy, a little traffic noise, but awesome freedom camping site.
Beautiful views of the Pass, bring you food, fill your tank, snows a lot in winter time.
DOC, only basic but good for one or two nights and free.
Awesome spot. The lake is beautiful with the mountains on the back.
In the morning if you're lucky, there's fog on the lake and with the light of the sun you'll take a beautiful picture.
Lots of spaces and FREE !
Beautiful location next to lake and sheltered by trees. Not surprisingly a little chilly I would recommend taking extra blankets.
Judith & John Bishop
A wonderful spot on the Lake Edge. A DOC site which turned out to be free. Toilets. Fresh trout for dinner. Just off Arthurs Pass road, easy access. Flat and level.
A free! DOC campground on a nice lake some kilometres south of Arthurs Pass Village. Only toilet there!
Perfect location and it is free!