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6 Best Camping Grounds in Glenorchy, New Zealand (2024 Guide)

south-island-campgrounds-sylvan-doc-campsite-glenorchy

Summary of post: A guide to the best camping grounds in and around Glenorchy, New Zealand, whether you’re camping in a tent or campervan.

Glenorchy lies just a 45-minute drive from busy Queenstown, but it feels a world away.

This remote little town is cute and well worth visiting, but what makes it super special are its stunning, untouched surroundings.

And what better way to explore those surroundings than to go camping in Glenorchy?!

As a Queenstown local and keen camper, I head out to Glenorchy every weekend I can. It’s an incredible destination for anyone who loves the outdoors, especially if you enjoy hiking and camping!

There is actually only one serviced campground in Glenorchy—Mrs. Woolly’s Campground— and the rest of the camping options are Department of Conservation (DOC) campgrounds near Glenorchy. 

That being said, you’re really spoilt for choice because all of the campsites near Glenorchy are in absolutely stunning locations!

In this guide, I’ll go over the 6 best places for camping around Glenorchy, whether you’re camping in a tent or campervan.

So without further ado, read on to discover the best Glenorchy camping spots!

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Glenorchy Camping Ground Map

Best Campsites in and around Glenorchy

1. Mrs Woolly’s Campground 

The grassy camping area at Mrs Woolley's Campground in Glenorchy, with mountains covered in dry grass in the background.

📍 Location: 60 Oban Street, Glenorchy (Google Maps)

⛺️ Type of campground: Private Campground

🚐 Camping options available: 5 powered sites for campervans and motorhomes; 33 unpowered sites; 9 tent-only sites

💲 Cost: Powered sites from $45 for one person/$65 for two people; unpowered sites from $30 for one person/$45 for two people; tent-only sites from $25 for one person/$40 for two people.  

🚻 Facilities: flush toilets; hot showers ($2 coin-operated); free WiFi; laundry facilities; camp kitchen; BBQs; picnic benches; playground. 

🐶 Dogs allowed? Yes, but with restrictions. Talk to the camp hosts before bringing your pets.

Mrs Woolly’s Campground is the only Glenorchy campground that’s actually in Glenorchy. The rest of the campgrounds in the area are located either on the drive into Glenorchy, or past Glenorchy.

This is also the only non-DOC campground in the Glenorchy area. 

This means it’s the only place with powered campsites available—and there are only 5 of them! 

So, if you’re looking for a powered campsite for your Glenorchy camping trip, then this is where you’ll want to go. 

I do recommend booking ahead of time, as it fills up due to its prime location and limited capacity.

When you camp at Mrs Woolly’s, you’ll be within walking distance to Glenorchy’s main attractions, including the Glenorchy wharf and red boat shed, the Glenorchy Lagoon Walkway, and the handful of eateries and shops in town. 

There are also some excellent activities in Glenorchy for adventurous types—go jetboating on the Dart River, or ziplining with Paradise Ziplines!

My favourite part about camping here is that Mrs Woolly’s General Store is next door to the campground. This sweet little store is stocked with handmade local products, fresh produce, and a great cafe. They also sell a small selection of drinks, including beers from Glenorchy Brew Co (which doesn’t have a brewery you can visit, so this is the next best thing!).

The famous red boat shed in Glenorchy, New Zealand, with Lake Wakatipu and mountains in the background.
When you camp at Mrs Woolly’s Campground, you’ll be so close to the historic Glenorchy red boat shed plus other attractions in Glenorchy.

2. Moke Lake Campsite 

Looking out at the Moke Lake DOC campsite in Queenstown from the Moke Lake walking track. Moke Lake is in the foreground and the grassy campground is surrounded by mountains.

📍 Location: Moke Lake Road, Ben Lomond (Google Maps)

⛺️ Type of campground: DOC Campsite

🚐 Camping options available: 50 unpowered campsites for tents, campervans, caravans, and motorhomes (no powered campsites available).

💲 Cost: $15 per adult, $7.50 for children over age 5; free for children under age 5.

🚻 Facilities: Non-flush toilets; water taps (treat before drinking, and they’re turned off in winter); basic cooking shelters.

🐶 Dogs allowed? No.

The Moke Lake Campsite is my favourite DOC campsite in Glenorchy (and in Queenstown, too—it’s located between both places).

Located about 7km off the Glenorchy-Queenstown Road, this is a remote, untouched place that’s a little slice of paradise.

This peaceful camping ground is perched above lovely Moke Lake and is surrounded by mountains. There’s hardly any light pollution out this way, so you get epic stargazing opportunities on clear nights.

At the Moke Lake camping ground, there’s a wonderful easy walking trail that circles the lake. When you camp here, you can access the trail right from your campsite!

Honestly, this is one of the best camping grounds on the South Island, so don’t miss it if you’re planning to camp near Glenorchy!

The gravel road to get into Moke Lake is quite narrow in parts, so take care on the drive in and out of the campsite, especially if you’re camping in a larger campervan or motorhome. In winter, the road is only suitable for 4WD vehicles, but the rest of the year shouldn’t be problematic for 2WD vehicles.

Ty from Weekend Path walking along the Moke Lake loop, which starts and ends at one of the best camping grounds near Glenorchy.
The Moke Lake walking track is one of the best easy trails in the area!

3. Sylvan Campsite

A picnic table at a campsite at Sylvan DOC Campground near Glenorchy, with a grassy pitch and mountains in the backdrop.

📍 Location: 314 Routeburn Road, Kinloch (Google Maps)

⛺️ Type of campground:  DOC Campsite

🚐 Camping options available: 36 unpowered campsites for tents, campervans, caravans, and motorhomes (no powered campsites available).

💲 Cost: $15 per adult, $7.50 for children over age 5; free for children under age 5.

🚻 Facilities: Non-flush toilets; water tap (treat before drinking).

🐶 Dogs allowed? No.

The Sylvan Campsite is such a peaceful place to camp.

Set in a scenic location next to the Routeburn River, with mountain views and beech forest to enjoy, this is the perfect place to unwind.

Normally, you can cross a swingbridge from camp to reach the start of the Lake Sylvan walking track, one of the best walks near Glenorchy. However, at the time of publishing this, the swingbridge was damaged in a storm and you can’t access the trail. I hope it’ll reopen in the future, but for now, you can still go camping at the Sylvan Campsite even if the Lake Sylvan trail is closed.

Luckily, other hiking options await you nearby. The Sylvan Campsite is the closest campground to the start of the famous Routeburn Track, which you shouldn’t miss when you camp here! 

The entire Routeburn Track takes multiple days to complete, but you can do a day hike on the Routeburn Track to get a taste of the trail. 

Either hike to Routeburn Flats (4 hours return) or Routeburn Falls (6 hours return) and enjoy bird-filled beech forest, turquoise rivers, and stunning mountain views along the way.

A view over mountains and a river valley from the day hike to Routeburn Falls.
Camping at the Sylvan Campsite means you’ll be so close to some amazing hikes—like this day hike to Routeburn Falls!

4. Kinloch Campsite

A picnic table in front of Lake Wakatipu at the Kinloch DOC Campground near Glenorchy on the South Island, New Zealand.

📍 Location: 876 Kinloch Road, Kinloch (Google Maps)

⛺️ Type of campground: DOC Campsite

🚐 Camping options available: 15 unpowered campsites for tents, campervans, caravans, and motorhomes (no powered campsites available).

💲 Cost: $15 per adult, $7.50 for children over age 5; free for children under age 5.

🚻 Facilities: Non-flush toilets; water taps (treat before drinking); boat launch

🐶 Dogs allowed? Yes; on leash only.

Lakeside camping doesn’t get much more scenic than camping at the Kinloch Campsite.

Located right along the shores of Lake Wakatipu, this is a gorgeous place to set up camp.

It is, however, quite remote—luckily, though, you’ll be camping right across the road from the Kinloch Wilderness Retreat, which welcomes campers to their onsite restaurant (make sure to book ahead if you plan to have dinner there!).

I do need to mention that sometimes, the sandflies here can be fierce. So come prepared with insect repellent if you plan to camp here. To be honest, this does deter me from camping here more often—but if you’re up for braving the sandflies, it’s a beautiful spot for camping near Glenorchy.

If you’re a hiker, the Kinloch Campsite is a great place to base yourself. It’s located between the Greenstone and Routeburn tracks, which both offer longer overnight tramps along with options for day hikes. 

For day hike options on both of these tracks, I love the Greenstone-Lake Rere Loop and the Routeburn Falls out-and-back hike. I recommend staying in the area for 2 nights if you want to tackle both of these day hikes—and what an epic 2 nights they’ll be!

A view over Lake Rere near Glenorchy, with calm blue water and green mountains surrounding the lake.
Peaceful Lake Rere from the Greenstone-Lake Rere Loop Track—one of many walks close to the Kinloch DOC Campsite!

5. Diamond Lake Campsite

The view from the Diamond Lake camping ground near Glenorchy, with golden grasses in the foreground and a mountain in the background behind the small lake.

📍 Location: 17km from Glenorchy off the Glenorchy-Paradise Road (Google Maps)

⛺️ Type of campground: DOC Campsite

🚐 Camping options available:  10 unpowered campsites for campervans, caravans, and motorhomes (no powered campsites available, nor are there tent sites here).

💲 Cost: $10 per adult, $5 for children over age 5; free for children under age 5.

🚻 Facilities: Non-flush toilet.

🐶 Dogs allowed? No.

While the Diamond Lake Campsite isn’t my favourite camping spot in Glenorchy, it’s quite popular with campervanners. This is actually a campervan-only DOC campsite, because it’s just not quite suited to tent camping.

I think this camping spot became popular because it used to be free; however, there’s now a small fee to camp here ($10 per night per adult).

Don’t get me wrong—it’s a beautiful spot. But the camping ground is really just a parking lot, albeit in a scenic setting. 

This campsite is quite small and if it gets crowded, you don’t get a lot of space or privacy. If you’re looking for a DOC campsite in the area, I much prefer the Lake Sylvan Campsite. That being said, please don’t let me deter you from checking out Diamond Lake if you’re keen to!

Note: There’s another Diamond Lake in Wanakā, which is different from this Diamond Lake in Glenorchy. On a map, they may look somewhat close, but they’re actually a long driving distance from each other (over 2 hours). I’m just mentioning this to help avoid any confusion! 

6. Twelve Mile Delta Campsite

A view over the Twelve Mile Delta DOC Campsite between Queenstown and Glenorchy, with Lake Wakatipu and mountains in the background.

📍 Location: Mount Creighton (Google Maps)

⛺️ Type of campground: DOC Campsite

🚐 Camping options available: 100 unpowered campsites for tents, campervans, caravans, and motorhomes (no powered campsites available).

💲 Cost: $15 per adult, $7.50 for children over age 5; free for children under age 5.

🚻 Facilities: Non-flush toilets; water taps (treat before drinking); boat launch

🐶 Dogs allowed? Yes; on leash only.

Located right off the Glenorchy-Queenstown Road, the Twelve Mile Delta Campsite is a convenient place to camp if you want to go camping near Queenstown and also visit Glenorchy.

This spacious DOC campground is set right next to Lake Wakatipu, providing great opportunities for swimming, boating, and fishing.

There are also some excellent hiking trails leading right from camp—you can walk to beautiful Bob’s Cove or tackle the Mount Crichton Loop without having to get in your car to drive to the trailheads! These are a couple of the best day hikes on the South Island, and it’s so convenient to access them from your campsite.

To top things off, this location was used as a filming site in the Lord of the Rings movies—it featured as Ithilien Camp. You can easily walk to the film location from the campground if you’re keen to check it out (there aren’t any props left, but you can see where the action took place).

While the facilities here are basic, the location and setting are hard to beat. 

bobs-cove-queenstown-swimming-spot
When camping at the Twelve Mile Delta Campsite, make sure to pay a visit to nearby Bob’s Cove for a hike and swim.

Freedom Camping in Glenorchy

There aren’t really any great options for freedom camping in Glenorchy, sorry to say.

You might see mention online of freedom camping at 25-Mile Stream, but freedom camping here is no longer allowed.

If you’re absolutely set on freedom camping, then your best bet will be the carpark for the Greenstone-Caples Track

However, the Greenstone-Caples track carpark is in quite a remote location and getting there requires driving on a rough gravel road with some stream crossings. 

It’s a gorgeous spot, though—if you camp there, don’t miss the Greenstone-Lake Rere loop day hike. Freedom camping at this spot is only allowed for self-contained campervans

I recommend paying to stay at one of the DOC campsites around Glenorchy instead of freedom camping. The cheapest one is the Diamond Lake site ($10 per person).

Things to Know Before Camping in Glenorchy

The front of Mrs Woolly's General Store in Glenorchy, with white and orange writing on the storefront and picnic tables in front of the store.
Mrs Woolly’s General Store is the only place selling groceries in Glenorchy—so stock up in Queenstown beforehand! You should stop here too, though ☺️
  • Make sure you stock up on fuel and groceries in Queenstown before heading out to camp in Glenorchy. There aren’t any major supermarkets in Glenorchy, but if you do forget something basic, head to Mrs. Woolly’s General Store.
  • Don’t forget to pack sunblock and insect repellant. Sandflies can be present at many of these campsites!
  • If you’re planning to camp at a DOC Campsite around Glenorchy, I recommend bringing plenty of drinking water with you, or you’ll need to treat or boil the water at camp before drinking it. 
  • If you need any camping gear before heading out the Glenorchy, Queenstown has lots of options. Kmart and the Warehouse both sell cheap camping gear. For higher-end outdoor shops, I recommend Bivouac, Outside Sports, and Small Planet Sports.
  • You aren’t allowed to have campfires at any of the campgrounds in Glenorchy.
  • Please make sure to pack out any rubbish you bring into these Glenorchy campsites. There are no dump stations in Glenorchy, either, so arrive prepared for that!

🚐 Thinking of Hiring a Campervan for Your Glenorchy Camping Trip?

A green and purple Jucy campervan parked in front of Lake Wakatipu in Queenstown between several trees without leaves.

I recommend checking out JUCY for campervan rentals—they’ve got some great options and have a depot in Queenstown (along with Auckland and Christchurch, too)!

Another great resource is Motorhome Republic, which lets you compare prices for all of the top campervan companies in New Zealand.

Thanks for Reading my Glenorchy Camping Guide!

I hope it’s helped you plan a fun camping trip to Glenorchy.

If you’re looking for where to go camping next, I suggest heading down to Fiordland! You’ll find lots of options for campsites in Te Anau and along the road to Milford Sound.

Or, if you’re ready for the beach after being in the mountains, go camping in the Catlins!

And yet another great option is heading north from Queenstown to go hiking and camping in Mount Cook National Park.

2 Comments

  1. Many thanks for the very helpful information.
    I am heading down there for a few days next week and looking to camp somewhere.
    All things considered … looks like Mrs Woolly’s is probably the better option.
    What I am after is … a SIMPLE place to camp or stay … a shower … WiFi (to do some work) … and where I can cook up a simple feed once a day and I’ll snack the rest of the time.
    Might just camp at Mrs Woolley’s and then head into the Glenorchy Hotel to buy some snacks and use the WiFi.
    Warm greetings … Nick

    1. Hi Nick! Thanks for your comment—really happy to hear you found the info helpful.

      You’re right that Mrs Woolley’s will be the best option if you’re after a shower and kitchen. Their WiFi can be unreliable, so that’s a good plan to head to the Glenorchy Hotel/info centre to get some work done.

      The only other option I can think of is to book a bunk in a dormitory room at the Kinloch Wilderness Retreat. It would be more expensive than camping, but they have Starlink internet and also have a kitchen onsite to use.

      Hope you enjoy your time in the Glenorchy area!

      Cheers,
      Jac

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