145 Rankers Reviews
25 Freedom Camping
No facilities. Great views! Self Contained Vehicles only are allowed along the whole of Lake Pukaki.
South Island ▷ Mount Cook - MacKenzie ▷ Twizel
Showing 13 reviews of 145.
HEAPS of spots for SC campers along the banks of the lake. There are some spots closer to drop toilets if you prefer. Can be quite windy but there are some spots with a bit more shelter from the pines, if need be.
There are several spots to turn off the gravel road and would suggest using google maps satellite mode to find the best entry point.
This is by far the most beautiful lake and freedom camping area in the south island. Haymen Road is quite a long road so The Pines camping ground is spread out along this road. There are multiple areas of beauty to freedom camp in your campervan, no Tents though so be aware.Lots of eating benches/tables to have your snacks on etc. I think there was a cycling track that passed along Hayman Rd so just be courteous and polite. As the name suggests there are loads of pine trees here to give you a bit of shelter on hot sunny days. Easy to find on the map. Not too busy when we went in March 2020. The view of the lake is great. Take your rubbish with you please as no rubbish bins.No toilets or facilities just pure nature. The beach area of the lake had a lot of pebbles and large rocks scattered about along with some driftwood but made the place seem more beautiful. Its really breathtaking here with great far views towards Mount Cook and beyond. I could have stayed there on a fulltime basis!!!!
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BEST CAMP EVER! We complained the day before that no freedom camp is like in the tourist magazines but then we found this magical site, some parts along the road has views over mt cook. Not many vehicles and you feel all by yourself. No facilities so you will use your porta potty but since no one around - who cares?
Dont forget to watch the stars at night! Magical!
Facing Lake Pukaki, this was a great stay for the night. No facilities available. You may also walk along the Lake, which is lovely! The site is easy to get to from the main road. This is part of the dark sky reserve so on a clear night, you will be able to stargaze at night.
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As others have suggested, it’s worth travelling along the road as far as the power station to see what’s available but we didn’t find it very busy at all. On a large area just down from the power station there were just 4 vans. It’s a shame that some people don’t respect the rules of these sites and insist in leaving mounds of toilet paper amongst the trees. But, if you stay out of the trees, it’s a lovely place where you can swim in the lake and appreciate the beautiful location.
Absolutely gorgeous location and totally free. You turn off the intersection and go down the road about 5km until you get to a power station. There are about 3 main pull-offs, but it seems you’re able to stay anywhere along that 5km stretch. As a result, no worries about it being full. We were there in early February and barely saw another camper van near our camp. No facilities except an outdoor toilet at the very beginning of the road. But the views are astounding.
It was AMAZING. Only two more vans so it was incredibly paceful. Beautiful views of Mt Cook, blue color of the lake. At night there was completely dark so the sky was beautiful, full of stars.
It’s only for full contained vans, as there are not abilities.
Prime location to view Mt Cook from Lake Pukaki we almost cried seeing it for the first time! Toilets are bearable, camping spots available at the lake and then around the corner on top of the hill. Got there around 8pm and found a spot by the lake which was perfect
Nice spot to overnight between Christchurch and Dunedin. It is probably the best campsite during our trip around NZ. If you have a self-contained one, you will enjoy to stay in touch with real and pure nature!
Can only repeat what others have said: It was by far the best camping experience we have had! We drove past the power station and turned towards the lake at a toilets sign to find a lovely spot by the lake that we had all to ourselves. When we woke up at 3 am we could see trillions of stars, some shooting stars and the Milky Way. In the morning, we had clear view on Mt Cook which was also breathtakingly beautiful. I wish I could live there - you have to go and see it yourself. As others said, there are no facilities, except of course the compost toilet that we turned at. It was the cleanest and least smelly ones I have used. There was no toilet paper but that doesn’t hurt the 10/10 I award the pines!
On a side note: We had a small van and I am not sure if a bigger motor home would have been able to drive down to our spot ..
Got here at 12:30 and found very few campers. By 9pm the place was packed!! If you like your space, go somewhere else. That being said, the facilities are very clean and tidy. And it's right on the lake shore.
Best FREE camping site EVER! Large area for multiple motor homes/campervans. We have stayed here the past two nights as it’s close to MT Cook and Lake Tekapo.
Freedom camping at its best! Favourite site so far in NZ, and will be tough to beat. Pick from several gravel paths down through the pines towards the lake. We were lucky enough to get our own private spot near the power plant with incredible views of the bright blue Lake Pukaki and snow capped Mt. Cook in the distance. Long drop toilet 5mins up the road by the intersection in the viewpoint car park.