Coes Ford Camping Ground

Coes Ford Camping Ground

Lake Ellesmere


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K&J's avatar


Ranking: 9/10

Nice grassy areas for camping, good toilets

Reviewed 10 months ago

Kaukau's avatar


Ranking: 10/10

Busy but peaceful because everyone is here to chillax and enjoy themselves. Gorgeous weekend of weather and water was divine! Lots of space!

Reviewed 11 months ago

Chieco Family's avatar

Chieco Family

Ranking: 3/10

The facilities, toilets and recycle rubbish bins are excellent. The area is grassy and you can park a camper easily. The reason for low score was the site was average- I think we were spoilt by mountains and lakes. A algi filled river was not calling us to jump in. The locals were hooning and had loud music till after 9pm. When they stopped it was actually a very peaceful night sleep. Only stayed here as is 30min to Christchurch. Skip if you can or use as a stop if your wanting to save $ before you fly out.

Reviewed 12 months ago

jasper's avatar


Ranking: 5/10

Camping was unexpectedly closed, be sure to call first. Also the bridge to lakeside was impossible to cross due to high water levels.

Reviewed about 1 year ago

Aleisha's avatar


Ranking: 5/10

Place is massive so plenty room for everyone. Unfortunately the freedom campers were being rather free of clothes should I say not pleasant for a family to see two separate incidents in 12 hours. Hoons coming in at 1am to do donuts scared the kids too. Not like it used to be at all.

Reviewed over 1 year ago

Jackie Sue's avatar

Jackie Sue

Ranking: 7/10

We stayed one night and it was peaceful, quiet and spacious. The toilets were clean and modern. The recycling and rubbish facilities were good. Unfortunately there is a warning sign that the river has ecoli and the water is not potable. The sign says Chamberlain Ford is not contaminated. We stayed 2 Jan 2019.

Reviewed over 1 year ago

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Daniel P's avatar

Daniel P

Ranking: 10/10

Hey Guys, we saw the review below and almost bypassed this place. But we thought we’d check it out. My gosh, it’s such a beautiful site and wow it’s huge. There are 3 sites you can choose to camp. We tried out all 3!! Great toilet facilities, rubbish and recycling too. Got speaking to the park ranger and he was lovely. Lots of people around to have a chat with and exchange experiences. We will defo be staying here again! Best of all, you can stop for 28 nights!! Please bypass the negative comment below as this place is beautiful!!

Reviewed almost 2 years ago

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.

Reviewed over 3 years ago

Matthieu Berdugo's avatar

Matthieu Berdugo


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.

Reviewed over 3 years ago

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.

Reviewed over 3 years ago and experienced in December 2016

Hamish's avatar


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.

Reviewed over 3 years ago and experienced in January 2017

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.

Reviewed almost 4 years ago

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Sue Horstra's avatar

Sue Horstra

Ranking: 9/10

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

Reviewed almost 4 years ago

Eric Pollard's avatar

Eric Pollard


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!

Reviewed about 4 years ago

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.

Reviewed over 4 years ago

mirimirik's avatar


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.

Reviewed over 4 years ago

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.

Reviewed over 4 years ago

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.

Reviewed over 4 years ago

Georg H.'s avatar

Georg H.


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.

Reviewed over 4 years ago

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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.

Reviewed over 4 years ago

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.

Reviewed over 4 years ago

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.

Reviewed over 4 years ago

Suzanne Vermeulen's avatar

Suzanne Vermeulen


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.

Reviewed almost 5 years ago

craig hatherly's avatar

craig hatherly


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.

Reviewed almost 5 years ago and experienced in September 2015

Kevin Chen's avatar

Kevin Chen

Ranking: 8/10

Coes Ford is not an easy location to find without a GPS. Well kept camp site by the river which is icy cold and crystal clear. Usually with some 20 camper vans and station wagons during our 2 night stay here. The toilets are clean and attended to by noon each day. For a free site, you cannot complain. We would say this is a great site and wish there are more such sites. Highly recommended. By the way, there is a new toilet block with stainless steel sinks for washing, a disabled toilet and men's and women's. There is water and another tap near the entry.

Reviewed almost 5 years ago

Bob Fontaine's avatar

Bob Fontaine

Ranking: 8/10


Reviewed about 5 years ago

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Charlotte Cooper's avatar

Charlotte Cooper

Ranking: 8/10

Easy to find, nice little spot near the lake. We visited in September so toilet block wasn't open but portaloos instead which were getting pretty full. No water supply but it's free so can't complain.

Reviewed about 5 years ago

Evangeline Chua's avatar

Evangeline Chua

Ranking: 10/10

This place is really amazing. It is really very well maintained. Lots of space. Super clean toilets. And it is free!! It is the cleanest and most well maintained free campsite I've stayed in. Do remember to put some donations before leaving, to assist in the maintenance of the campsite.

Reviewed over 5 years ago

James Webster's avatar

James Webster

Ranking: 10/10

Stayed here for four nights and is a great site. Area is huge, flat and has well looked after toilets. Bins also. Approx 30 minutes from Christchurch centre.

Reviewed over 5 years ago

Wyklicky's avatar


Ranking: 7/10

Well signed for the first stop from Christchurch. Large area with grass.

Reviewed over 5 years ago

Andrew B's avatar

Andrew B

New Zealand

Ranking: 10/10

Wide open, flat, well maintained spaces positioned along the meandering river make this a gem. Find yourself a nook and bed down. Clean basic toilets, quiet and sunny make for an enjoyable stay. Close to Lincoln and not far from Christchurch. Really well sign posted.

Reviewed almost 6 years ago

Claudia's avatar



Ranking: 10/10

Really nice campground for free. It is close to christchurch (30min to the centre). Maybe the new toilette block will be finished soon.

Reviewed almost 6 years ago

Tom Guthknecht's avatar

Tom Guthknecht


Ranking: 7/10

Great place, very spacious, many opportunities to find a place. A new toilet block will be ready soon and replace the toilet boxes.

Reviewed over 6 years ago