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Lake Ellesmere is New Zealand's fifth largest lake and has a huge biodiversity of birdlife. The lake is actually a lagoon covering 20,000 hectares and is a mix of fresh and salt water.

The lake is surprisingly unknown and under used as a recreational resource. It is an awesome place for fishing, bird watching, walking, mountain biking and all types of water sports. There are boat ramps and lake access all around the lake as well as a couple of camping/ picnic areas.

This is a designated freedom camping area supported by the Selwyn District Council. Coes Ford can be found just off the Lake Road.

Contact Details

Christchurch Address:
The Lake Road

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26 reviews with the most recent first, showing page 1 of 2.

Pheng Taing's avatar

Pheng Taing

New Zealand

Ranking: 10/10

The facility provided here is amazing. There's toilet at 3 different parts of the camp. They were very modern, flushing and even provided toilet papers.

We had a whole section to ourselves because it was closed to vehicles in winter but we were cycling. The speed limit of 20 makes the area quiet from cars and safe to walk around.

Matthieu Berdugo's avatar

Matthieu Berdugo

France

Ranking: 8/10

We stayed at the end of March for one night. We had a pleasant stay, very quiet and lots of place. Toilets were clean with toilet paper.

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estelle D's avatar

estelle D

New Caledonia

Ranking: 6/10

free campsite pour motorhome autonome
à 30km au sud de Christchurch
beau site, au calme
un très grand site sur la droite, et un plus petit en face, il y a le choix de l’emplacement
par contre, des quad / personnes et chiens vont et vient la soirée – comme des rendez-vous furtifs. Nous avons eu un doute sur la sécurité, mais ça a été.

Hamish's avatar

Hamish

New Zealand

Ranking: 1/10

Thirty years ago this was the gem of Canterbury. Now, the ford is heavily polluted and health warnings have been in place for many years. Do not swim or get in the water! Apart from that you'll share campsite with cows, local boy racers or people waiting for you to leave your camper or tent site unattended. Until the Selwyn district council and dairy industry tidy up their act my recommendation is to stay away. Head for Banks peninsula instead.

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Megan Jurgensmeyer's avatar

Megan Jurgensmeyer

United States

Ranking: 9/10

This was the first campsite we stayed at after arriving into Christchurch and we had a wonderful night, we could hardly believe it was free!! The bathroom was clean and it had a great dish washing station.

Sue Horstra's avatar

Sue Horstra

Ranking: 9/10

Great, quiet spot with plenty of room. Nice and quiet with toilets available.

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Eric Pollard's avatar

Eric Pollard

Canada

Ranking: 8/10

Great freedom camping spot close to Christchurch. Just a big field of grass for campers. No privacy. Great brand new washrooms. Sinks to do dishes. Good for our last two nights in NZ!

Emma Stiles's avatar

Emma Stiles

United Kingdom

Ranking: 9/10

We arrived after being in Christchurch for the previous day. This is off the beaten track, but easy to find using the app. A very flat area, with good toilets which are cleaned once a day in the morning. Right next to a beautiful river running through a wetland reserve that is worth driving through, and next day we went to see Lake Ellesmere. It gets busy with vans and sleep in cars.

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mirimirik's avatar

mirimirik

New Zealand

Ranking: 4/10

Big camping area with big clean flushing toilet. Not drinkable water. Stayed on a Saturday night, had 4 cars skidding around in between parked camper vans around 10 at night. Not sure if locals, but pretty disrespectful.

Brian Stelbotsky's avatar

Brian Stelbotsky

Ranking: 9/10

Free! Easy to find, flat, spacious. Bathrooms are spotless. The cows are really loud here at night. Bring earplugs if you're in a tent.

Shaun Burns's avatar

Shaun Burns

Ranking: 4/10

Was basically a small town gathering of unruly people with nothing better to do than make loud disrespectful noises late into the night. The lot was a nice big grassy area next to the creek and the restrooms were nice.

Georg H.'s avatar

Georg H.

Austria

Ranking: 9/10

Very large camping site, even when it's crowded, you'll find a place for your vehicle and/or tent. Clean facilities (get cleaned every day), flushing toilets, men and women separated, water supply (not for drinking) and free! Donations desired for maintenance and daily cleaning of facilities. 9/10 because the site has no views, no atmosphere and was very crowded during the week. In the end nothing to really complain about.

Tony Maroulis's avatar

Tony Maroulis

Ranking: 10/10

This camp site which is free (donations taken but not required), puts standard DOC campsites ($6-10 per night) to shame. Clean bathrooms with running water and flushing toilets, plenty of taps apart from that, big drums that serve as bins. It does not look like it could ever be full.

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