Freedom campers get education
$200 instant fines issued
Freedom campers in the Queenstown Lakes and Central Otago have cleaned up their act with councils from both areas reporting an increase in responsible behaviour. Queenstown Lakes District Council community services general manager Paul Wilson said the council had issued about 300 infringement notices to those flouting the freedom camping bylaw since it came into force in December. Those caught camping without self-contained vehicles, in residential areas or in Queenstown and Wanaka town centres, were given $200 instant fines. However, most people freedom camping were acting responsibly and following the rules by having self-contained vehicles, Mr Wilson said. In the year ending June 2012, the council issued about 1300 instant fines for those breaking the rules. The Queenstown Lakes District had several hot spots which were closely monitored by the council including One Mile, the Queenstown Gardens and Park St, he said. Central Otago District Council parks and recreation manager Mathew Begg said so far this summer, complaints about freedom campers, usually relating to them camping in the wrong area, had decreased from last year. ‘‘People seem to be going to the spots that have been designated and getting the information to find out where,’’ Mr Begg said. This year , the council had made an effort to educate people on the subject which ‘‘seems to be working’’, he said. However, more complaints could be expected if the weather continued to stay hot and people stayed in the region for longer, he said. Freedom camper Kevin Addley, of Blenheim, who was camping in his motorhome along Lake Dunstan last week, said he enjoyed being able to freedom camp because of the views and sites it offered. ‘‘It’s not just about the money. It’s what you see when you freedom camp,’’ Mr Addley said. It was the first time he, and travel companions Adrienne Kircher and son Joseph, 11, had camped in Central Otago and seeing the Clyde dam had been a highlight.
Site seekers: Freedom campers Kevin Addley, Adrienne Kircher and Joseph Addley, 11, all of Blenheim, enjoy the views of Lake Dunstan while camping in their motorhome near the Lake Dunstan Rowing Club.