Lake Hayes Freedom Camping Site near Queenstown

The Lake Hayes freedom camping area is at the north end of Lake Hayes, near Queenstown. it’s a fantastic spot near the epic town of Queenstown. However, the rules are strict around here, so read on for some tips!

Arriving at Lake Hayes Freedom Camping Site

Lake Hayes Freedom Camping near Queenstown

While it’s a massive reserve, the area where you are allowed to park is small. On the plus side, the site has a nice set of (usually) clean toilets. However, make no mistake, this one is for self-contained campers only!

Driving into the Lake Hayes camp site, you’ll be able to see the signs on the left, showing where you can park. Pay attention to these and you’ll be fine.

At the time of writing, you can stay here for a maximum of two nights (self-contained only). However, these rules change from season to season. So, the best bet is to download the CamperMate app to get the absolute latest information.

Lake Hayes Freedom Camping near Queenstown

Freedom Camping Fines

Each year, a number of campers get instant fines in and around Queenstown. The authorities won’t let you off, no matter what tricks you pull! To get some peace of mind, check out our Freedom Camping Fine Guarantee. It another great reason to download the CamperMate app.

So, if you’re planning on staying at Lake Hayes, make sure you are self-contained, stay between the signs and stay a maximum of two nights.


The beauty of the Lake Hayes site is that it’s close to Queenstown. This world-famous town is arguably the jewel in the crown of the South Island. 

Fishing, skiing, partying, music festivals, shopping, paragliding, jet boating, bungy jumping… You name it, you can do it in Queenstown!

Years ago, Queenstown was known mainly as a winter destination. But with the wide range of summer activities, it’s busy year-round. Walking through the town at 6 pm on any given day, there’s a certain ‘calm before the storm’ atmosphere that precludes the nightlife.

Whilst there are still options for low-budget places to stay around Queenstown, the days of camping for free are probably gone for good.

Other sites for camping near Queenstown

Queenstown is probably one of the most sensitive areas for freedom camping. It’s where a lot of the opposition started.  If you’re travelling in a non-self-contained campervan, then you’re not going to have much luck around here finding free campsites!

There are some awesome DOC campsites near Queenstown, like the one at 12 Mile Delta. This is only 11kms out of Queenstown. Find it on your CamperMate app. So, my advice is, if you’re in a non-self-contained campervan, stay here!

If you’re fortunate enough to have a self-contained campervan, then you’re in luck.

There is also the Frankton Rotary campsite, plus a bunch of DOC designated free campsites as you drive toward Glenorchy. Download the CamperMate app to see all of them!

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