Lake Pukaki Camp Ground Review

One great benefit of having self-contained campervan is you have the flexibility to stay in free campsites without the need to worry to find a public toilet or place to cook. On the second night of our road trip in New Zealand South Island, we still have enough clean water in the car tank. Hence we still don’t need to go to the paid campsite and we decided to stay in this splendid campsite.


The camp is at the side Lake Pukaki. It is about 250 Km from Christchurch towards Queenstown. For that direction, you just need drive south and to turn right before Lake Pukaki information center where there is a famous shop selling salmon. You still need to drive a bit after exiting main Tekapo – Twizel road.

The entrance road is unpaved and a bit slippery when it is wet. Our huge campervan was sliding when passing a puddle between sloping muddy surfaces. Both us freak out because we got a sensation that the car would tip over. Thankfully it was just in our mind.

The Campsite

After passing the curved and elevated entrance road, we finally can see the open campsite area. It was quite spacious but there are a lot of uneven surfaces. We needed to drive carefully because driving a tall car in uneven is nerve-wracking. Moreover, after the “tip-over” sensation that we had on the entrance road. Since we came quite early before sunset, there were still some good spots that have not been taken.

Some Uneven Surfaces in The Site

We decided to park near the edge of the lake. There were some barriers between the edge most of the lake and where the car can park. Maybe to avoid people park too much near the edge which will bring a risk the car fell down into the lake if a landslide happens. We took some time aligning the car to make it level with the horizontal surface. It is uncomfortable to sleep in a car that is not properly aligned with the surface.

After we settled, we need to do a prayer. We did it outside the car because it was not wet and the campsite was not too crowded at that moment. The scenery is magnificent. The blue lake with a beautiful snowy mountain in the background.

Outdoor Praying at Lake Pukaki

Because we came in non-peak season, the camp is pretty quiet. There was a campervan that came after us and parked exactly behind our van. I wanted to ask him to move further but I repress myself because he was trying to be nice with some small talk and even offering some fresh fishes. At the end, since he just alone, he didn’t make any noise at night and he left early the next day, even before we woke up.

Welcoming the Morning

In the morning, we decided to have a breakfast outside. It was windy and cold but we couldn’t resist the amazing view, even if we need to wear multiple layers of coat.

One Million Dollar Breakfast View

I also spent a short time flying our drone to take some good shots and videos. The sky was not clear because of clouds and fogs. But we were still able to get some decent shots.

Lake Pukaki Campsite from Above

Campsite Detail

  • Cost: Free
  • Overnight stay rule: Self-contained vehicles only
  • Toilet: Long Drop Toilet (we didn’t check or use it)

Travelogee Impression

We stayed in the camp ground on 10 May 2017.

What We Like

This is a splendid free campsite in Lake Pukaki with an amazing scenery. If we had more time, we would stay there longer, at least one extra night to explore the area more.

What We Don’t Like

The unpaved road to enter to the campsite is a bit challenging to drive when it is wet. There are many uneven surfaces in the campsite.


To see what other fun activities you can do in New Zealand South Island, please see this post.



Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.