Freedom Camping in Cromwell

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Cromwell is a small town (population 4,146) within the Central Otago district and is pretty much the furthest point you could be from the sea in New Zealand (approximately 120km either side). It has highly productive land which produces arguably some of New Zealands finest orchards and vineyards. Being just 60kms from Queenstown, it’s quite often bypassed however there’s a raft of designated free campsites, worth staying at if you have the time.

If you check the CamperMate app, you will find one of those being Lowburn Harbour which is a designated freedom campsite provided by the Central Otago District Council. Here, both self contained and non-self contained vehicles can stay for a maximum of three nights.
*You also might like to check out Jacksons Inlet along the Clutha River which, at certain times of the year has wild fruit growing there.

One cool element of the Lowburn Harbour campsite is that it’s quite a social campsite, if you want it to be. Not as social as say the Reids Farm campsite near Taupo, but a place where you can leisurely stroll over to a neighbour and strike up a conversation. Perhaps it’s because there’s quite a bit of space here and not quite as congested. At the same time, it’s possible just to find your own area parking here and not interact. Either way, this is one very beautiful campsite right on the edge of Lake Dunstan.

Once you pull in, you’ll see the large gravel parking area. That building on the right is the toilet block which is relatively clean and tidy. If it wasn’t for that toilet block, non-self contained campervans wouldn’t be allowed to stay here. Try and get one of the spots by the picnic tables.

There’s also a BBQ as you can see below, this bus has the right idea!

The salmon are here in October and November, but outside of that time they’re not really an option. Trout I’m told are available to be caught all year round. Spinning from the side of the lake in the evening is worth a shot (remember to get yourlicence). Overall, the Lowburn site is a great site. There is no rubbish bins here, so please take your rubbish out with you. 4 stars for the Lowburn Harbour campsite!

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