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

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.

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!

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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.

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.

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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.

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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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Ed Linklater's avatar

Ed Linklater

Ranking: 7/10

Good value for money, but not really a place you can leave your tent up while you go out for the day. Some unsavoury characters coming and going throughout the day and night.

Jamie McLauchlan's avatar

Jamie McLauchlan

Ranking: 8/10

We love this place. Have used it extensively. At times, algae can affect the water quality in the river so people and pets should take care. Great family spot when clear.

Suzanne Vermeulen's avatar

Suzanne Vermeulen

Netherlands

Ranking: 8/10

No views, but a few huge flat grass areas to camp for free. One of the areas has a clean toilet block so that's where we parked. Good place for your last night if you have to drop your van off early. We also drove to the other lakeside ground 15km further down the road but drove back to this place as there seemed to be a nice atmosphere here.

craig hatherly's avatar

craig hatherly

England

Ranking: 8/10

Great place to stay, no cost. Needed a shower so went to Rakaia huts and elderly gentleman living there told me public showers a dollar. What more do you want? No cost travelling.

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